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Writing her own script!

It is the ‘never say die’ spirit that keeps 60-year-old Rana Safvi going, especially at this age when most of her friends and peers are either retired or are preparing to retire.

lucknow Updated: May 24, 2017 21:42 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Rana Safvi,HT Woman,Write Choice award
HT Woman Write Choice winner Rana Safvi

Age does not hold back HT Woman Write Choice winner from chasing her dreams. A heritage enthusiast, blogger, twitter ‘celebrity’, columnist and a translator, she is settled in Noida and has her roots in Lucknow.

And it’s perhaps her ‘never say die’ spirit that keeps the 60-year-old going, especially at this age when most of her friends and peers are either retired or are preparing to retire.

“I am thankful to HT for boosting my morale. It’s just a beginning, I have long way to go, have lot of pending work to finish,” says Rana Safvi.

One and the most common questions that often comes Safvi’s way is, ‘How do you work so hard, even at this age?’ And she has the answer ready, “Because I started late. I have lot of lost time to make up for. Unlike others I didn’t start at 25, I started at 55.”

Though Safvi has been a meritorious student throughout her college days-- was topper in the university, president of women’s college student union at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)-- but her entry into the ‘scholarly’ world was just by chance. “I never thought of emerging as a writer, a social media buff, who is highly active on social media and would have a long list of followers on twitter and a columnist. It all Allah’s grace,” says Safvi.

Safvi got married at an early age and as usual was leading a family life when her husband moved to Saudi Arabia to work. She went along.“Since I had lot of spare time, I took up a teaching job. It was after a long time I re-entered into the teaching profession that I once tried when I used to stay in Jamshedpur,” she says.

That was hardly a career for her but indeed it was a start. While she was busy teaching, she got a chance to attend a public meeting aimed at personality development. She didn’t mind attending a few sessions but she never imagined it would turn out to be the turning point in her life. “After attending a few sessions, I was asked to deliver a speech that was no easy task. To qualify this, I was asked to submit at least 10 written speeches. I wrote back to back 10 speeches that were much appreciated,” she recounts her days in Saudi Arabia. One fine day, when she was observing students and their parents at the school she went down the memory lane, recollecting the memories of her own mother whom she recently lost. “I wrote a blog, attributing it to my mother. And to my surprise I got an overwhelming response from the people,” she said.

It was her first ever encounter with social media. She named her blog Rana’s Space and began writing. She further expanded it, incorporating other sections to it, which include Sufi Namah, Walks and Talks, Food and Recipes and many others, adding to its popularity.

Soon she discovered Twitter. She began posting regular thoughts and then she decided to start a hashtag through which she could post Urdu poetry. And this is how one of her famous hashtags #Shair was born in 2010.

It not only got famous but also made her a Twitter ‘celebrity’ with whooping 39.2k followers, 296k Tweets and 3,238 likes.

Soon she started getting offers from famous magazines like Tehelka, from where she began her writing career. “I started writing for Tehelka in 2011, then in DNA, Hindustan Times and so on.”

So far she has authored books like—Tales from the Quran and Hadith and Where Stones Speak: Historical Trails in Mehrauli. She has also translated Dastan-e-Ghadar, Tale of a Revolution by Zahir Dehlvi that is being published and will be out soon.

She also runs a popular blog ‘Hazrat-e-Dilli’ on Urdu poetry. She was awarded Chisti India Harmony Award by Vice President Hamid Ansari for promoting national harmony and culture through her prolific writing, publications and talks.

Presently engaged in many of the ongoing projects, she says she will continue to write, translate or narrate in order to make the world aware of its rich heritage and culture.

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First Published: May 24, 2017 21:42 IST