First Language(s): Kannada
Second Language(s): English, Hindi
Skanda Prasad grew up in Bangalore, India and moved to Atlanta, USA to study Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech. He received the Thomas Lux Poetry Award in 2018. His PhD research involves developing Radars that can image highly maneuverable objects. He wishes his cooking were as good as he thinks it is.
What was your favorite book as a child?
So many choices: R.K. Narayan, Jim Corbett, P.G. Wodehouse, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Oscar Wilde... However, I'd have to pick Ruskin Bond as my favourite, especially his short story collection, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”. I was also deeply affected by Jacobo Timerman's “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number” — probably not the most appropriate reading for a 10 year-old, but one that I remain grateful for.
Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
My favourite childhood memories are the family visits to book fairs and the excitement of adding new books to the home library. Reading introduced me to realms and experiences beyond my imagination and prodded me towards writing about the world as I saw it. The rigours of high-school science education exiled me from creative writing for some years, while heavy-handed teaching of Romantic poetry turned me away from verse. Thankfully, I rediscovered my love for poetry when, while poking around in a bookstore, I found D.H. Lawrence's poem “The Lizard” — a simple, even humorous set of lines, but one with a deeply profound kernel.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
I'm having trouble deciding between kayaking in a churning river next to what we thought were logs, but turned out to be 12 foot-long crocodiles, and hiking for hours on an unmarked trail in Virginia and almost stepping on a beautiful Timber rattlesnake. I think my fascination with reptiles is becoming a recurring motif here.
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
Occasionally while reading, but almost never while writing. I might listen to unobtrusive (down-tempo or instrumental) music as I read, but in general, I find that music distracts me from the cadence of the page. That said, on the few occasions I listened to music while writing, the results were an interesting synaesthesia of my thoughts and the tone of the background music.
It’s Like a Curry Sandwich
Issue Fall '20