· Bangkok-born Pashmina P. uses her Indian heritage and international experiences in Hong Kong, England the US to tell a compelling story about the lives of four women and how they interconnect.
· Here Pashmina P. talks about her own life and how she went from a high-flying PR consultant to art teacher and now an author
The books are about four women, and the complexities they face with age. There are some valuable lessons they need to learn through friendship, connection and communication. However, there is an element of betrayal in the story, which will hopefully have the reader wondering, what next? The men in the book are sounding boards to these women, and reveal a softer side of masculinity.
The first part of the book, The Cappuccino Chronicles, is an introduction of the four women, and how the fabrics of their lives are intertwined with each other through friendship, time, and a good cup of coffee. In Mocha Madness and Endless Espressos, the journey of these women continues. And just as important as the air we breathe, they realise that time is actually their biggest commodity in life.
Over the years there are heartbreaks, losses, connections, re-connections and a sense of growth. However, life and legacy is endless; there is always a part of our DNA that is floating around somewhere through our offspring and family members, so the last part of the trilogy encapsulates this notion that everything is always evolving and ever changing, with strong foundations of ancestry.
The women in The Cappuccino Chronicles Trilogy are a collection of the hundreds of people I have met through my travels and international living experiences. I have had complete strangers tell me that the first book reminds them of their own lives. Certainly I have some close members of my family and friends asking whether it’s them.
The song ‘I’m every woman’ by Chaka Khan always comes to mind when I get testimonials from my readers, because the book resonates with women across the world. We all have our good, bad and ugly days as well as our empowered, enriching and magical days. Like they say, we all have the good, the bad and the ugly!
You have a very interesting multi-cultural background in several countries. Can you elaborate?
My name was given to me by my maternal grandfather who had origins in Kashmir. Pashmina, by definition is a shawl made from the wool of Himalayan goats. The material is soft and was considered a luxury worn only by royalty.
My grandparents moved to Thailand circa 1945 where they had five children. My mother is the youngest and was born in Thailand. The two eldest boys were born in India. At the very tender age of 17 my mother got married and moved to Hong Kong where she met my dad.
At 19 my mother was pregnant with me and flew back to Thailand for six months to give birth to me in Bangkok.
At four months old I was taken back to Hong Kong where I grew up. I went to a catholic kindergarten called Baptist Kindergarten. Before that I was enrolled into a Chinese preschool, called Fun Full, from two to four years old.
My main language is English, and some Thai so I could communicate with my grandmother, when she was alive, who lived in Thailand.
Tell us about your family.
I met my Brazilian husband, who is from Rio de Janeiro, in Hong Kong when I was 16. He was a high diver at Ocean Park. We got married in 2003 and have two beautiful daughters who claim to be “Braz-Indian.”
While still in the UK I played the role of Zanche the Moor in The White Devil, by John Webster, on a fringe stage in London’s West End. Actually, my dream was to go to RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) as well as do a minor in journalism so I could pursue my other dream of becoming an anchor on CNN.
However, I was summoned back to HK because my parents were not keen on me staying abroad. I landed a receptionist job with a reputable golf company who were property owners from Shanghai. After two years of working there, I moved into a PR firm where I worked for six years. As the English copywriter of a reputable PR firm, my Shanghainese boss introduced me to the world of Hong Kong’s high society. I helped to open the Louis Vuitton flagship store at the Landmark, met Marc Jacobs – when he started the trend of wearing trainers with suits - and I even danced with Nino Cerruti of Cerruti Jeans. My life in Hong Kong was a dichotomy of two separate lives. On the one hand I was rubbing shoulders with Hong Kong’s Moghuls and on the other hand I was dating my Black Brazilian boyfriend in secret, because of the backlash of racism from the Indian community.
After an amazing and sometimes crazy life in PR, I felt drawn to teaching, and obtained my license as a qualified NET (Native English Teacher) in Hong Kong through the government. This was a far cry from the PR world, as I was forced to teach at local government schools where children were under privileged and often from broken homes. Most of the children’s parents at these schools were either in jail or working four jobs to put food on the table.
After receiving my license, I worked at an Arts school called Kids’ Gallery owned by the Hotungs in Hong Kong, I taught a class to children, which was enchanting.
I have always loved reading and writing. I read Roots by Alex Haley when I was six years old. Judy Blume, Roald Dhal and the Enid Blyton series were my go-to reading materials. My mother’s library included a collection of memoirs, true crime stories, self-help books, poetry books, cook books and of course Danielle Steele’s and Jackie Collins’ books. My father’s collection was Tai Pan and Shogun, by James Clavell and other books that resonated with strong and sardonic themes.
I wanted to write plays and screen plays as a young child, because owning a theatre was always in my sub conscious. Writing and reading become some of my favourite hobbies. In school, I loved doing research on the classics like Britannicus by Racine, Roman theatre, Greek theatre and modern theatre all the way to musicals. I was fascinated how words and musical notes on a piece of paper could come to life through movement and voice. It was as if theatre brought words to life. Broadway was fascinating to me.
I wrote my first play entitled I-N-S-O-M-N-I-A which was also my first piece of writing that was produced in London while at university, and then again for an international school in Bangkok 20 years later.