Book Title: TWO FACED THREE KNIVES
From Banking to Teaching to Development, Sairam’s career has been driven by a quest for greater meaning, scale, impact and complexity in his work. The confluence of his engagements with Indian and International banks before his pivotal transition to development sector where he engaged directly with underserved communities, large NGOs, Corporate CSRs, multilaterals and government, shaped his understanding of various aspects of sustainable development as an interplay of these actors. His current work of crime fiction is an effort in the direction to connect and engage with a wide segment of readers in an entertaining way, informing them of the various social issues and inspire them to participate in addressing these challenges.
Sairam is a Chevening Alumnus from India. He holds an MSc in International Development with King’s College London and an MBA from Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).
Neel Preet: Firstly, Big Congratulations on your book, “Two Faced Three Knives” Well, can you please share your experience about making your work come into the form of book!
Sairam Subramanian: This is a humble attempt to take the issues of sustainable development to the masses, especially the youth in an entertaining medium. Initially I was thinking of a Non-Fiction book, but thought it would probably come out as my views on the subject. Instead, I thought it could be more interesting to bring out the issues through fictional stories built around crime, that leaves the decision making on these issues with the readers. The book just raises important questions to consider.
Neel Preet: What inspired you to write this book? What was the impetus behind this work of yours?
Sairam Subramanian: As they say in the writing field, ‘the book comes to you’. In a way that’s what happened. While studying international development and also as a practitioner I found that a lot of valuable research is being done to solve these complex development sector problems. Much of this research is highly intellectual and palatable to people within the sector or those who are able to digest these complex knowledge products. Even in terms of awareness the understanding of many of these issues is at surface levels, for e.g. what is the role of NGOs, how CSRs work with communities, what are the linkages between various actors. I thought there is an opportunity to share more about the sector through the genre of fiction, in this case crime fiction. I hope this will allow readers to connect emotionally and empathise with the sustainable development issues.
Neel Preet: Your book title, ‘Two Faced Three Knives’ is very catchy! So, can you please explain the reason for going with this book title to the readers?
Sairam Subramanian: The meaning of the title and its relevance is revealed as part of the plot, which I am sure readers would be thrilled to know as they progress through the book. This title strongly connects with the life of the protagonist ‘Trisha’, who moves to the world of corporate social responsibility from a high-flying career in management consulting with a well-intentioned aim of contributing to the society. She realises that corporate CSR, she is part of has an ulterior agenda. As multiple double-faced characters come in, her life changes for ever. This is her story that is revealed through ‘Two Faced Three Knives’.
Neel Preet: While writing the book what was your mind-set? What are some of the learnings that you gained from this work of yours?
Sairam Subramanian: While I was writing the book it became evident that the sustainable development issues are quite complex, especially when you look at them from a real life perspective. Hence a good starting point for us would be to not only be aware of the issues at hand but also the gamut of actors who play a role in addressing or reinforcing the issues. The complexity of the mechanics of the society became more evident as I engaged with the complex but very human characters of the book through the writing process.
Neel Preet: Apart from crime & thriller, in which other genre would you like to contribute?
Sairam Subramanian: I think this is the genre I enjoy the most, so for the next book at least the focus is going to be the same
Neel Preet: Reading the storyline of this book, I’m greatly impressed & I want you to explain us that which segment of readers are you targeting with your book?
Sairam Subramanian: I would love it, if this book resonates with the youth. The issues of sustainable development are important for all of us, but it’s the youth who can really bring about the change. I have fortunately engaged with many of them as part of my work on youth skilling projects and they are much more conscious about the issues of environment, society and polity than I was. This is an attempt to share more challenges around us wrapped in a medium of entertainment.
Neel Preet: You were very straightforward with your writings in your book, which I really appreciate. So next, I want you to tell us about some of those writers, who had inspired you!
Sairam Subramanian: There are many from different genres who have inspired me at different points. But yes, Lord Jeffrey Archer and John Grisham have inspired me at all times. I was lucky to meet Lord Archer himself in London in 2019 at the launch of the 40th edition of Kane and Able. It was a life changing experience and a catalyst to complete the book.
Neel Preet: Is there any message that you would like to convey to your readers? Or any piece of advice, which you would like to give to the readers out there!
Sairam Subramanian: On the contrary I keenly look forward to receiving feedback from the readers. The parts of the book they did not like and the ones they did. I can be reached at email@example.com
Neel Preet: Are there any other books being worked by you? Please let us know about your future projects.
Sairam Subramanian:😊 The idea has germinated and the writing is in progress. All I can share at this point is it’s going to be around a sector that is increasingly going to be important for the country from the perspective of wealth creation and becoming a developed economy.
Neel Preet: Thank you so much for answering all my questions. All the very best to you for future and your book too!
Sairam Subramanian: Many thanks for taking this interview and the good wishes!