It’s sounds so cool to call oneself a freelance writer, especially when one did not harbour aspirations of becoming a writer ever. Well, that’s writer Raksha Bharadia for you.
She laughs, “I was an economics graduate who fell in love, got married and wanted to become a fat housewife and shop, shop, shop all the time. But I’m a very people’s person and maintained a sort of diary in which I noted down things that impressed me.”
One day she attended a writer’s workshop just for a lark and realised that she had all the material for a book.
This inspired her to write Me, her first book. Becoming a writer had its advantages, Raksha admits, “It has made me a
better person; as a wife, daughter-in-law and mother. Earlier, I felt as if I had to prove myself to be a more worthy person. Writing gave me my space and taught me to give space to others. I also learnt to relate to others.”
She feels writing has also made her a selfish person. At this point in her life, she’s concerned about being honest to herself and accept herself for what she is, instead of justifying her actions to herself.
Raksha was in town last week for the launch of her second book, Roots and wings. The book is a handbook for parents and addresses parenting conflicts and dilemmas, how to manage the thin line between giving space and exercising control, being a mentor and a friend to your child, expectations from one’s child and his or her natural endowments.
Realise their potential
The book is about giving children roots, so that they can stand firmly.. and wings, so that they may realise their potential.
Raksha has two daughters; one is 13 and the other is 10. When her older daughter was seven, some incidents in her life made her doubt her parenting strategies.
She recounts one of them: “I had enrolled my daughter in a drama workshop which was to culminate in a stage performance. My daughter would come home very excited and happy from the rehearsals. I attended one of the dress rehearsals and was appalled to see that my daughter was a part of a group of monkeys. I had invited almost my entire clan for the show.”
Raksha believed her daughter deserved much more and convinced the director to give her independent lines. So from a monkey, she landed the wolf’s part and had to say three lines.
She continues, “But I was so shocked to see my daughter playing her part and delivering her lines in a flat and insipid
manner. Soon, the monkeys came on stage and had a gala time. That’s when it struck me that parents force their ambitions on their children, without realising the consequences.”
This led to conversations with parents of teenagers, child psychologists and children. Raksha states, “I found a pattern in my research. When I used it to deal with my children, I realised they became happier.”
In retrospect she feels her childhood was so much simpler where she was left to herself most of the times and was all about being happy.
Raksha strongly believes that all of us are born geniuses with our individual intelligence. We have to be given our own space to figure out this.
She says, “Pressurising kids to perform better in exams does not work. They will just burn out.” She quickly adds, “By this I don’t mean that I don’t push my kids to excel in studies. I do get upset when they score lower than my expectations, but I’m learning.”
Next is the release of her next book, a fiction, which is almost complete. She’s also compiling Chicken Soup For the Indian Soul for the Armed Forces. But what she would really love to do is to take off to Auroville for a year of complete freedom.