In conversation with Sahana Ahmed

Our readers would like to know your inspiration (or story, if any) behind Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.

This story was intended to be a pastiche of E.B. White’s Dusk in Fierce Pajamas. I was experimenting with narrative structures, and the idea was to flip through a magazine looking for building blocks for a story. White referenced Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar; I used an issue of Elle Decor. 

Tell us more about your creative process in general.

I enjoy words. I am at my truest when I am writing. To write well is to think clearly, and I protect that part of me that can take a thought and pare it down to its essence. 

Do you have any creative influences? What do you like the most about their work? Does it have a discernible effect on your writing?

I do not have role models, but I am inspired by many things. Food, music, architecture. The qualities I admire in a work of art are clarity, wit, and purpose.

Are there any creative genres, forms, themes, techniques etc. you wish you could employ in your writing which you haven’t yet?

I would like to explore traditional forms of poetry. I would like to write about flowers and clouds and meadows without feeling restless.

What are you looking forward to in your creative career?

I have been careful about what I publish. I do not create constantly, writing for me is not a chore. The aim is to be mindful: I should be able to defend every piece that is out there. At the same time, my words must have the power to outlast me. I am working towards making myself redundant as a creator. My words must work independent of how interesting or relevant I am as a person. 

Sahana Ahmed is a poet and novelist based in Gurugram, India. She is the author of Combat Skirts (Juggernaut, 2018) and the editor of Amity: peace poems (Hawakal, 2022).