A lot of millennials have a talent for writing, and I know this because I, being very active on social media have come across a lot of such people, but I also am very well acquainted with a lot which is too conscious to post what they write, and are just in need of one push.
Harnidh Kaur could be that push for you. At the age of 22, she already has an Amazon best-seller on her list and she is not planning to stop anytime soon.
Apart from writing poems, Harnidh has a food blog and is an LGBTQA Activist and mental health activist. She feels it’s important to talk about these sensitive topics that people think that they need to be supposedly bold to talk about. “I think a lot has be to be said; a lot of things that have been said need to be analysed again so yes, I think it’s very important”, said Harnidh.
“We are just people who like creating worlds of our own.”
Going by the stereotypes, I had prepared all the general questions and Harnidh shunned one of the major stereotypes. “I think this is the biggest the biggest misconception about creators and creative line in general—that you need a sort of tragic trigger for it(writing) to start off. I disagree. We are just people who just like creating worlds of our own.” In fact, it was writing that helped her get out of all the bad phases of her life. “Would I say that that’s why I wrote? No. Would I say that writing helped me through it? Definitely.”
For Harnidh, writing just came naturally. With her mother being an English professor in Delhi University and a writer and her father making her listen to old hindi songs and watch old movies instead of watching cricket, there was already an inclination towards the creative side.
Harnidh’s mom plays a big part in her success. Her first poem also was written for her mom. “At the age of 13, I was really angry with my mother and I decided to write a very angsty poem to tell her that I hate her and instead of getting mad at me for writing the poem, she sat me down and told me that the meter of the poem is wrong.” She says that her mom is her toughest critic and has helped her to a major extent.
“If I have a goal ahead of me, I will achieve it irrespective.”
Since she is a writer, a food blogger, an LGBTQA activist and mental health activist, you can’t expect her to be anything less than a fighter. All the challenges that she has faced in her life have lost so badly in front of her that she didn’t even realize that they were there. While describing herself as ‘ziddi’, she said, “I’m really really really obstinate. Even if I face any troubles, I manage to get through them without thinking much. If I have a goal ahead of me, I will achieve it irrespective. In retrospect I see I have a problem, but I don’t realize it at that time.”
Message for our aspirant writers
There are so many people who are scared to show the world what they are writing because they don’t know the kind of reaction they might get. Upon being asked what she has to say to them, Harnidh had a very simple answer: One doesn’t have to post something just because they are feeling pressured. It is not necessary for them to show the world what they are writing if they genuinely don’t want to. “Writing is a very expressive medium. It’s an exhibitionist perception of yourself so at the end of the day, it is good to have an audience because they tell you where you’re going wrong and where you’re going right. But, it’s not necessary to always put your stuff out. But, if the only reason why you’re not putting your work out is because you’re afraid of the reaction you’re getting, I think it’s a fallacy because you will only improve because of the reactions that you get.”
Talking about the success of her two books, Harnidh was very modest and grounded and said that it’s never about how much the book sells. One of her memorable moments was when someone sent a picture of themselves with her book telling her how much they love it. “You realize that people actually love what you write. It’s very wholesome, especially on the days when you feel like you can’t write anymore. It’s also validation because then you know you’re good enough to be published.”
After getting her bachelors degree from Delhi University, and getting a Masters Degree in Public Policy St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, she has taken a year off to prepare for her UPSC.
Harnidh wants to become a civil servant in the future. “You are doing so many things, you’re understanding so many things, you’re going through so many contexts in India.” She feels that this would also inspire her to write. This is also why she doesn’t want to do a 9 to 5 job. “I don’t think I’ll do a 9 to 5 job because it won’t make me happy, and you can’t write without inspiration”, said Harnidh.
Even right now, Harnidh has a lot on her plate. She is in talks with a publication in the US for another book, and another two books later this year. The closest is the publishing of her book called ‘Disquiet’. When I pointed out that she still has a lot on her plate, she said “I like staying busy. It keeps me happy.”
Just at the age of 22, Harnidh Kaur has achieved so much and I’m sure we will read a lot about her in the future for various new endeavours. We must all take inspiration from such people and hone our skills and help those skills get us through life, because what could be better than doing what you love all the time? It doesn’t have to be a dream anymore and we have Exhibit A right in front of us here.