When I told a friend of mine from college that I was heading to India, she immediately told me I had to visit Hyderabad and meet her aunt. Her aunt is an engineer turned writer and it seemed like a great opportunity to meet someone awesome! I couldn’t have appreciated how awesome she really is though.
Rasana grew up all over India since her dad was in the military. She considers the state of Andhra Pradesh home. She took the bold step of heading to the U.S. as a single young woman in the early 90’s to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Even bolder, she left the heat of southern India for the snow of Wisconsin.
She ended up marrying an awesome guy and living in San Francisco. She worked in IT there, but also volunteered as a rape crisis counselor helping countless victims piece their lives back together.
Her husband’s parents were getting old and they decided to move back to India, two kids in tow. At first apprehensive about the move as her opportunities would be far more limited in India, and the social pressure would keep her from living the free life she knew back in the U.S, she stayed positive and focused.
Returning back to India after so many years away and diving back into the same culture with changed eyes, she realized she had a lot to say.
The underlying message in her books is self-empowerment, particularly for females. Her first book took on the inherent racism in Indian society. Light skin is preferred here and it was the skin whitening creams that sent Rasana over the edge. “What kind of message is this sending to children,” she thought?
So, she wrote a book called Tell A Thousand Lies. It’s a work of fiction but what underlies the story is visible in Indian society every day. Of course, I find it all amazing. Working in IT but pursuing the passion of rape counseling on the side. Being a full-time mom and wife and writing.
For me, Rasana kind of exemplifies compromise and making the best of every situation. She’s also the nicest and sweetest person you’ll ever meet. Rasana has one foot in India, one in the U.S. One foot in traditional India, one in modern India. One foot in motherhood, one in her career as a writer. And lots more, I’m sure. She has the attitude of a winner, and I think that’s why she’s been so successful at everything she’s touched.
When I was in Hyderabad she was finishing her second book.
I share this story to challenge the perception of who an Indian woman is. The media and Bollywood often portray them as docile and submissive. Rasana has had experiences abroad, but this was who she was regardless. I’ve met many strong-willed, amazing women here. Lalitha in Delhi was an example as well. In sharing their stories I hope you get another perspective of the Indian woman, capable of so much more than making babies and chapatis.