Meet the man who uses the art of storytelling to help those who are suicidal and depressed
Nikhil Chandwani, who is responsible for publishing hundreds of authors and is a TedX speaker, tells us about the people he has helped, the issue of mental health and how his organisation, the Writers Rescue Centre, operates.Updated: Dec 30, 2018 10:13 IST
Nikhil Chandwani was a loner who found it difficult to make friends. The 25-year-old then found a unique way to beat his loneliness - helping people. This is what led him to start the Writers’ Rescue Center in 2017, which helps and trains those who are suicidal, depressed and differently abled to pen down their thoughts and find purpose in life.
Chandwani does not charge any money from the writers. The success stories he has been responsible for are from all age groups, they range from the age of 16-72.
Chandwani, who is responsible for publishing hundreds of authors and is a TedX speaker, tells us about the people he has helped, the issue of mental health and how the Writers Rescue Centre operates.
When did you think of the idea of starting the Writers’ Rescue Centre?
Modern-day disorders in the world include having an identity crisis, depression, mid-career crisis and so many other issues. Being a dropout myself, I understood these problems from the root. Everyone is facing some kind of troubles, and hence, they all have a story to tell.
Following this mantra, I took up social entrepreneurship through the Writers’ Rescue Center by developing a one on one gurukul system that mentors, pushes, teaches and helps everyone- those with disability, dyslexia, mental health patients and also those who are poor and need help in writing and publishing their first book.
How do you go about the whole process?
We give them the required space and trust to open up about their issues, and aid them in writing their own life story. It takes anywhere between one month to one year to complete their manuscript.
The book, once it is ready, is shared with numerous publishing units and now we have even started our own publishing house WRC Publishers as an imprint to Raindrop Publishers INC. Once the book is published, we market it for them. I believe everyone has a story to tell. The best inspirational stories are the ones that come straight from the ruins of personal struggles.
What do you do to sustain yourself financially?
I’ve retained all my writers and formulated a team of 211 individuals who take up various writing projects, which is how we sustain ourselves.
Tell us about some of your success stories?
Some of the individuals who I have trained include a dyslexic writer, Yash Singhania, who emerged from his failures in Chartered Accountancy to write and publish three books and currently works as a columnist for LA Times and Chicago Tribune.
I have also trained Nikhila Chalamalasetty from Vijayawada, a differently abled writer who has also got appreciation from Alia Bhatt because of her book, The Day I Started Flying.
We have also developed a unique writer-to-author, public speaker, and visiting professor module. Students sign-up with the foundation to seek help in writing, and their books are published and marketed through the foundation. These writers are then taken to public speaking platforms, slam poetry, and column writing fields to form a career path.
Have you personally also faced mental health issues, because of which this idea came about to help others?
I have always been a loner who couldn’t gel with people. WRC started because I wanted to make friends.
The best way to make friends is to help others and that is what helped me to come out of loneliness and inspired me to help others come out of their problems as well. Physical health has always been taken care of but I feel people do not do their bit to keep themselves mentally fit. Maybe because one can see the physical damage but on the other hand one hides their mental illness and even the world needs to be more open about the issues this world is facing in terms of general mental health.