Yamini Prashanth is a 12-year-young author living with her family in Chennai, Tamilnadu. At the age of 10, she wrote her first book, Mishti, the story of an ordinary girl who dared to break conventional attitudes. Her second book, Granny’s Stories is due to be published soon and the young lady is already busy adding finishing touches to two more books.
A trained Odissi dancer, Yamini has won numerous awards for her academic achievements, poetry recitation, classical music and dance performances. She is also one of the youngest Indians to be featured on TEDx Talks.
A student of eighth grade, Yamini’s everyday life is just like any other child’s daily life. She goes to school in the morning, comes back in the evening, completes her homework and then goes for her extracurricular classes. After getting back, she picks up the book that she is currently reading, watches TV while having her dinner, writes if she feels like it and then goes to sleep while reading a book.
We caught up with this whiz kid to get an insight into what goes into the making of a young author.
Mishti – The First Sweet Step
My dad has been reading stories to me ever since I was three. Therefore reading is more like a habit for me. In my 5th grade summer holidays I didn’t have much to do. I’d read all my books, my friends were out of station and my summer camps had already come to a close. So, since I had nothing better to do, I started writing a story on my laptop. A story about a girl living in the 1980s where children could go out to play. I initially never intended for Mishti to get published.
I then showed it to my parents who sent it to their friend who is an author. She said that I could try to get it published. My mother sent my book to several publishers some of whom didn’t even bother to reply and those who did reply would send curt e-mails. Finally, Unicorn Publishers said that they would like to publish Mishti and I was overjoyed.
Without my mom I wouldn’t be writing. She always encouraged me and never gave up. She slogged day and night emailing my book and getting it edited.
My 2nd book is a short story collection due to be published soon. It is about how two children, Louis and Emily go to visit their grandmother over the weekend. During the course of their stay she tells them many stories. Some of the stories are The Wrecker Pirates, Miss Ladybug’s Tea Party, The Sultan of Wazi and The Library Fairy.
This is a collection of 20 stories meant for 6-8 year old kids. There are colourful illustrations on every page and each story has a moral. The book will be released in two languages- English and Hindi.
A Method of Her Own
Much to our surprise, this little author does not adhere to a fixed writing schedule.
I just go with the flow and see how it all plays out! I don’t believe in schedule much to my mom’s disappointment! I feel that one has to wait for just the right time to catch those ideas like a butterfly catcher trying to catch butterflies. I rush to my laptop whenever I get an idea and if the laptop isn’t near, I use my mom’s cell phone!
My third book, Mulberry Meadows, is a story about four horses living in a stable with their owner and care-takers. I am working on another story now – a novel meant for 11-13 year old kids. I am half-way through the book which is about an Indian family relocating to the U.K and the challenges faced by the kids there.
You’ve got to be kidding me: Yamini Prashanth at TEDxEMWS
I have been learning carnatic vocal music (classical) for the past 4 years. I love playing basketball and am joining regular basketball coaching from next month. I love reading obviously. I like arts as well. I have won many art prizes in school. Acting has always been a favourite hobby and I love to write poems and scripts for plays.
I don’t find all this overwhelming as I am the kind of person who is at my creative and strategic best under pressure.
Mum n Dad
Unarguably, parental support has played an important role in this child’s achievements, in giving her a nurturing environment where she has been able to flourish as an individual and as a writer. To this, Yamini’s mother responds modestly:
All I want to say here is that we feel that God has been very kind to our child. There have been so many people, mostly strangers, people whom we didnt know at all who have played a major role in Yamini’s journey. We can’t thank them enough for it.
As parents, all that we did was to be there for the child whenever she needed us. I decided to stay at home as my husband was and is still in a very demanding job that entails a lot of travelling. I would often be asked by people as to how I can stay at home despite having an MBA degree. Today I can say confidently that I don’t regret it one bit. My husband despite having a very tight schedule at work always took out time for Yamini, from teaching her math when she was 4 to reading a whole lot of books to her.
He saw to it that he spent quality time with her, his gifts for her would mostly be books and she loved them. Till date he loves reading to her and she loves listening to her dad. All of us are very fond of travelling as a family and we have travelled to many countries. These travels helped her a lot in learning about different cultures and customs, and also world history. We have been more like friends than parents and will try our best to continue to be so.
When she grows up Yamini wants to be a doctor or a DNA specialist and perhaps even a teacher. Whatever path she chooses to take, we wish her all the very best and hope she will continue to live a creative, fulfilling life.
Connect with Yamini here.