Tell us about yourself, your background and what you do currently
I am an author, blogger, poet, storyteller, wanderer and dreamer. I do not wish to be defined by anything other than what I do and believe in.
My Theosophist parents raised me in a most unconventional way and they never imposed any kind of social or moral values on me. As children, we were taught to chart our own paths and that is what we did. I feel that when a girl is instilled with the freedom to choose her life path, she can be an asset to the future generations in any social roles she plays, living as a part of the system.
We are all complex beings and one cannot blame or credit any one person for one’s growth as a person. Adversity is the biggest teacher and it has made me who I am. I am proud of my evolution. I spent a major part of my life as a homemaker but now my sons are grown up and I am working as a freelance writer.
I graduated with a degree in English Literature from a very prestigious women’s college in Delhi University (Miranda House) and then completed an intensive diploma in Spanish Language from Faculty Of Arts. I am a poet by heart and my debut poetry book, ‘Collection Of Chaos’ was published by Leaky Boot Press, England, in 2014. Most of the poems in this collection are very personal and drawn from my life experiences such as my concern for women’s rights; my experience of unsatisfactory and troubled marriage; the love for my children and the difficulties we all face in everyday life.
Turning life experiences into verses and to speak about one’s open wounds is always difficult and therapeutic at the same time. There were times I left the poems halfway to collect myself and come back to them with calm and focused approach. I have learned to make vulnerability my strength.
A lot of my other fiction and poetry is published in many international and national online magazines and journals. Apart from these I have some print publications to my credit. Some of my work is part of poetry and short story anthologies.
Tell us about any current projects or initiatives you wish to promote
Currently I am working on a few writing projects like a ‘novelette’, a book of short stories and my second book of poems among other things. I regularly blog at ‘Spinning A Yarn Of Life’. It is my personal blog where I write whatever connects with me on a particular day. It could be a poem, a story, a travelogue, recipes, food stories or some socially relevant topic.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Social constraints and issues that I faced in personal life were and still are my biggest challenges. I had to fight for my freedom and dignity at many levels. Another challenge that I faced was my inner critic. I was passionate about writing and wanted to be heard and understood but I had no platform or courage to do so. My life was too chaotic and restrictive.
In 2008, blogging gave me that platform and thus began my journey as a writer. These were my rooting years as a student, who had an open heart to learn everything possible. I found good mentors and encouraging friends who guided and supported me and also the naysayers who left no chance to bring me down. I took that as a challenge to reach where I am now.
Writing has helped me release and cleanse various hurt and pain. Many of my poems and memoirs are intensely personal and at times I use nature or some other element as a mask to write about private feelings but mostly all my work is about ‘laying bare’. It is about vulnerability. It helped me change the old order.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
I am still waiting for that moment of glory but yes; there have been some events that have made me proud of myself as a woman and a writer. Breaking away from everything that kept me chained for many years and finding myself is the biggest achievement for me personally.
Finding my voice, writing, getting published and finally getting the recognition is another. My first poetry collection is the beginning of my journey as a published author and that means a lot to me.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Travelling. I miss out on travel due to many reasons and if I get a chance that is what I will do. I am a gypsy by heart and being stuck at one place is something I need to fix someday soon.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Life. It fascinates and inspires me in every way. A snippet of overheard conversation, a sentence or phrase in a book, a piece of music, an interesting or unusual fact, a conversation with someone, the changing landscape while I travel in and outside the city, my inner chaos or for that matter the outer ones. Anything can be an inspiration.
What does the future hold for you?
It is a mystery. Life is a journey and we do not know what it holds for us. We can only strive to do what we are passionate about. Living every day to the fullest is all we can do and things will fall into place. Go with the flow, as I always say.
Tikuli is a blogger & author from Delhi. Her short stories and poems have appeared in print and in online literary magazines including Le Zaporogue, MiCROW 8, The Smoking Book (Poets Wear Prada Press, US), Life And legends, Levure Littéraire 10, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, Open Road Review, Cafe Dissensus, The Criterion, Peregrine Muse, Knot Magazine, Mnemosyne Literary Journal, Women’s Web, Readomania, learning & Creativity Magazine, Read Fingers, and Troubadour21.
Her print publications include poems in Guntur National Poetry Festival Anthology, Melange – a Potpourri of thoughts and the much acclaimed Chicken Soup For The Indian Romantic Soul(Westland). Her debut poetry book ‘Collection Of Chaos’ was published in 2014 by Leaky Boot Press.