Interview with Anuja Rathi
Pune-based Anuja Rathi is a University topper in Psychology, Disc and Fierce certified, training professional, avid traveller and blogger, loves reading and clubbing. She describes herself as dynamic and versatile, aspiring author, a mother to a hyperactive and super naughty 2-year-old.
Princess is one blog that can charm you off the perch with the in-your-face and true to life persona. It was one sunny afternoon when I chanced on Anuja’s blog and since then, I’ve been an avid follower to her words for she always gives you a reason to visit her space. Honest to the core, meet the super talented and one of my favourite bloggers, Anuja Rathi, who was also my classmate at Fergusson College. Say Hola to Anuja on life, follow, read and share. It’s one interview I always wanted to do and read to know the gem that she is.
1. I’ve been following your blog, ‘Life…’since the time I first stumbled upon it in 2008. The tagline, ‘This is Life…You can love it, you can hate it….Your dull, lonely days are over…coz Princess is here! Cheerio!’ is a killer. How did you arrive at the tag line and the name?
“Life…” – That was the first thing that came to my mind almost a decade ago when I thought about writing a blog which would address anything that came to mind about absolutely everything under the sun. I am a dreamer and philosopher, a connoisseur of all things weird and gorgeous. What better title than “life” to summarize the exquisiteness of it all?! My blog aims to bring a smile to everyone’s face, either because they find the content amusing or because they can relate to the feeling behind the words. If I can do that, my objective of writing is achieved!
2. Your blog-Life-is a brand and your first post, Q Sera Sera shows you as a rebellious girl who doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind, even if it goes against the crowd. How much of Anuja Rathi is present in LIFE and how much have you changed as a person over the years?
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
― Henry David Thoreau
My biggest strength is that I am a forthright, assertive person. That (unfortunately) is also my biggest weakness. I cannot disguise my thoughts and I refuse to mask my feelings even if they (at times) hurt egos and reveal truths that people do not want to accept or acknowledge. It has its own merits as well when people walk up to me and tell me how refreshing it is to meet someone so authentic and real. Needless to say, I am what I am, in person and online. I can’t be someone I’m not. I’d like to think I’ve become more mature and responsible in the last decade, while I still retain the pluck and liveliness that makes me, me!
3. You are a born talented writer who weaves beautiful short stories about human relationships, read love, conflict, and poetry which is not cut off from the real world. How much of these stories are inspired by real-life situations? I must say that I miss reading those beautiful stories that touch the heart and soul. Are there plans to make a comeback with such short stories?
Never say never! I am glad my readers recollect and miss my musings – I shall surely try to do justice to your expectations. Most of these poetic and literary compositions are inspired by real life people and situations – and that’s exactly why readers like yourself, remember them!
4. You’ve been my classmate at Fergusson College. I must say, we hardly spoke to each other but witnessed your incredible talent during one of the case study/presentation during Psychology lecture in FY. I feel words come easily to you and your effortless elocution skills, is testimony to that. Are there plans to give public speaking/motivational lectures in the future?
College is a different world altogether! We’re all figuring ourselves out more than each other. I have always been fond of teaching/training and speaking as well as writing. I have a passion and flair for language and communication. No wonder then that I chose a career in Training and most of my time is invested in interacting with people, delivering sessions (not “lectures”!) on behavioural and communication skills, inspiring and developing people so that they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Their win has been my win for the last 10 years! It’s immensely satisfying and enriching to be able to connect with people and accompany them on their journeys, contributing meaningfully, even if for a short while.
5. You have also done modelling during your Fergusson College days and also worked at that time. Unlike many of your peers, you didn’t wait for college to get over to take work and how it shaped your life and career, dabbling in so many things?
I think I have too much talent and energy to waste doing only one thing! Modelling was something that happened by chance since many people complimented me on my height (I’m 5 feet 7 inches tall). I enjoyed doing print shoots for boutiques and international mags and did a few ramp shows in India but I soon realised that I did not want to pursue a career in this industry. While still an undergrad, I completed my Diploma in Travel and Tourism and landed a full time job at an MNC doing HR and Travel desk related tasks. I also took up assignments in training individuals on communication skills. I barely remember coming to college, but my teachers and peers knew me even if I did not know them! The exposure and jumpstart I got by doing all that I did then is reaping benefits now, while I can boast of a rich experience that most people accomplish only by middle age. It has brought me a lot of laurels and respect. I feel truly blessed for all the opportunities I got and caught.
6. You are also a doting mom to a cute little munchkin, Aarush. How has Aarush changed your life and do give our readers a peek on moments spent with your little one and how he brings a smile to your face every single day?
My little monster keeps me on my toes, and he is one of the best things to have happened to me. His innocence and intelligence have taught me a lot, and he manages to push all my buttons in all the right and wrong ways. I have come to see myself as a very patient parent and I did not know that tiny moments can become defining aspects in life. There are of course times when I wish I had more time and freedom on my hands, but life is incomplete without him now. Be it kissing him good morning or holding him close as he pretends to be a little baby! It’s a beautiful phase, even though it gets exhausting at times. Nevertheless, I’m blessed to have him in my life.
7. Congratulations for your elevation as location lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. Coming from a Psychology background, what your job profile consists of and was it something you always wanted to do professionally?
I have always been a Training professional, and my Masters in Industrial / Occupational Psychology was a natural choice given that I wanted to be a part of the corporate world. I started off as an Associate Consultant, then trainer and finally I am now managing L&D for multiple locations in India with one of the best IT firms. My job profile is very exciting – it gives me the autonomy to do my best and make learning a rewarding experience for employees across Americas, EMEA and APAC, while at the same time, empowering me to grow as a person and professional by collaborating with my global and consulting teams.
8. Describe a typical day in your life?
It’s a mad rush as I manage to get home chores sorted while attending to the little one, then get ready for work and reach just in time for meetings followed by training sessions. Barely have I caught a cup of coffee and connected with the team, then it’s time to rush back home in time for Aarush to arrive from day-care. 24 hours are just not enough! I enjoy catching up with friends and family, books and reality TV shows when I get some time off for myself. I also take up freelance writing assignments and keep updating myself with the latest trends and growth in the industry.
9. Movie buff and regular traveller. What role films and travel plays in your life?
Films and travel – both give me the break from routine that my free soul craves for. Given a choice, I’d keep traveling the world until the end of time (or money!) It adds such a rich variety of thoughts and people, exposes you to cultures and hardships that you do not realise on a daily basis in the comfort of your homes and cushy jobs. I’ve seen almost all of India, except the Taj and Andamans, and also visited Kenya and London. Next on my bucket list is Europe and Australia.
10. Coming back to blogging and writing. How often do you blog and share the purpose behind writing and the kind of satisfaction it gives you as a person? Also, has it crossed your mind to pen a book or novel, considering the fact that you are a super talented writer?
I blog as much as I can, but much less than I’d like! Life has taken on a crazy pace with parenthood as I juggle home and office work. It’s satisfying when I have managed to make a point or connect with my readers, even if it is just to say Hi. At the same time, it is also frustrating when I fail to find time and keep my readers waiting to hear from me. I very much aspire to write a book someday, hopefully before I’m 35! Fingers crossed.
11. Where does the talent for words, comes from-parents or inspiration?
I am grateful to my god-father, my paternal uncle, who instilled in me the love for reading and writing while I was still a baby. Once on this path, there is no going back. The sources of inspiration for me are endless – I find a story wherever I go, and I am a poet at heart.
12. How do you see the blogging and writing scene evolving in India as a writer as well as the fact how do you make time to write and read?
I’m struggling to find time to stand and smell the roses at the moment, given my stage in life and parenthood. But I am well aware that the writing scene in India has transformed from what it was a decade ago. There are so many talented people out there and a multitude of networks where they can post their voices and find like-minded companions. It’s truly heartening when I see new initiatives and events planned across the country to encourage and guide bloggers. My time to read and write starts after the little one is asleep at night, but it’s not too long before I find myself dozing off with exhaustion! Praying that changes soon. Until then!