• Half Papyrus

Savitha Rao

Author Interview

Savitha Rao has a background in international marketing and design. Currently focused on sustainability and social work. She strongly believes that each one of us can make a difference.

How would you describe your literary endeavour in a nutshell?

It's a passionate attempt to inspire fellow Indians to contribute towards nation building.

Your writing is an inspiration. Where did you get the idea of writing such a book which is designed and developed for awareness especially relative to small things which we sometimes tend to ignore?

Thank you. My work in the space of sustainability showed me clearly that unless change happens at the individual level we cannot see changes at the macro level. A meeting with PM Modi inspired this idea in me. At first I practiced it myself by consciously doing something once a week. As I started to do so my lateral vision seemed to expand. I could walk on the same street and spot someone to whom I could be of help. Then, I involved family and friends in the endeavour. Found their experiences heartening. A couple of years later I felt a book would be an effective way to communicate the WHY and the many hows in which one can be an India Positive Citizen.

Are there any easter eggs in your book that only a few people will find?

The book connects with every Indian. Each reader will find in it inspiration based on their based life circumstances. Many people from the armed forces - serving soldiers and veterans have read the book. Their response largely was - I am doing several things shared in the book. But now I see more ways in which I can make a difference. Some citizens found the stories on civic action very inspiring. They were struggling with some issues in their locality. The stories in the book showed them actionable ways in which to approach it. People in the corporate sector have appreciated that in their time strapped life there are so many ways in which they can make a difference.

There are so many unique thoughts in your book. What is the most difficult thing about writing non fiction and establish facts related to political opinions?

There is actually nothing political about the book or the initiative. It about building a deep connect between the citizen and India. The journey of an Indian citizen becoming an India Positive Citizen. The challenge in the writing process was that there was no reference available. So, I had to follow my heart in writing and structuring the content. At one point I had a lot of sections written. The challenge was to structure it in a way that makes it easy for the reader.

There are many questions in the book are thoughtful and very relevant, which could actually leave the readers with an afterthought. What inspired this?

I am an avid reader. When reading a book I underline sections I like, write my ideas (inspired from the reading of the book) on the little space available. I always wished that books should provide space for the reader to write. In the case of the India Positive Citizen book the goal is not just to read but to inspire action by citizens on diverse issues. In my life journey and while reading other books and writing this one I know that thoughts are like birds on a branch that will fly away if one doesn't write them. I write my thoughts and ideas in notebooks. Sometimes when I review them I am amazed by the ideas. Had I not written it when the inspiration came it would have been lost forever. I wanted that my readers should be able to write their inspiration and follow it up with action. Hence, the interactive format of the book where every chapter has reflection points, questions and space for the reader to write their answer.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Tulsi plant.

What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers the most?

Yoga and meditation inspired me in the writing of the book.

Being the successful writer that you are, you must have experienced peaks and valleys in your writing career. What advice do you have for budding writers?

In the context of a non-fiction book have a vision for your book. What is the purpose? Who is the audience? Follow your heart and have conviction in what you do. Besides inspiration and the ability to write, you need to develop a daily discipline to write. Without the discipline the book may remain a work in progress manuscript. Keep a notebook for your book topic. Write all your ideas in it. When you sit to write the notebook filled with your ideas will inspire the writing. Before you start to write get yourself into a meditative, mindful state. Put your phone away. Close all tabs on the computer. Give yourself time for uninterrupted thinking and writing. Don't judge your writing as you write. Once you complete a section you can always review it to edit and refine. Focus on the joy. The process of writing must leave you energised.

Your work would definitely pamper our readers with intricacies of complexities in life and mind numbing thoughts. Any last thoughts for our readers?

Sometimes as an individual one may feel powerless. But, in fact every action makes a difference. You may wish to donate one lakh rupees to a worthy cause. Today you may feel regret that you are not able to donate that amount. But, the ₹100 you spend to gift food to a hungry person is just as valuable.

How can the readers reach out to you?