Astha Shukla is born in Narmadapuram (previously Hoshangabad) district of Madhya Pradesh. She is a certified Mental Health Advocate, Counselor & a Certified Animal Communicator, who is currently working at one of the MNC. She is a National level Chess Player & had been a Theatre Artist, who is very passionate about writing Research Papers and promoting animal rescue & adoption campaigns. Let us know more about her interview.
Q1) Since when did you start having interest in writing? Tell us something about your writing journey.
Ans: I started writing when I was in 8th grade. I used to participate in poetry writing competition, Slogan Writing and by the time I was pursuing my higher education I started writing articles for college magazines & bulletins. Though I continued writing my thoughts in my personal diary along with all the other things I was doing at my college like writing articles and Research Papers.
Q2) How did the idea of “Pakhi” came to your mind. Tell us more about the plot of the book. Also share the link of the book.
Ans: Pakhi was a random thought which crossed my mind in August 2017 and it was highly influenced by ‘Kanupriya’ which is a collection of freestyle poems by Shri. Dharamveer Bharti Ji. I have a very deep connection with Kanupriya & the impact it has on me have changed my perception towards many things in life. However, I never thought that Pakhi will become a collection of poems over the span of 2 years. It was just one poem in August 2017 but by the end of 2019 it was almost 25-30 odd poems in my diary.
Pakhi is a collection of 30 freestyle Hindi poems which depicts the variation in human’s emotions at different situation. Here Pakhi (which actually means a bird) represents a male bird that is the love interest of a female bird Panchi. All the poems revolve around Panchi’s feelings towards Pakhi.
The book is available on Amazon:
Q3) Tell us something about your hobbies. Have you mastered the art of managing your hobbies and your passion by now or you are still finding ways to do it?
Ans: I have been passionate about dancing since a very young age and I still love it. I like to draw sometimes, I love to read, write and I really like to spend time with animals in general. When I have literally nothing to do and I don’t feel like getting off my bed Brownie (my 3 year’s old rescued puppy) acts as a savior & I love his goofiness.
I don’t think I am the master of anything and I can ever be a master. I would want to stay a student, a learner because that’s what helps me stay grounded & childlike. I do give time to my passion even after working 15-18 hours sometimes. There are obviously some days I feel like doing nothing and I want to just lay in my bed and I guess that’s absolutely fine by me others may have different opinions about it which is okay but then I do what I feel like doing may it be writing or engaging into some other activity or exploring the different aspect altogether. But I always do things I love and keep exploring things which are new to me. Sometimes it results into a hectic schedule or too many dishes on my plate kind of situation but at the end I feel content about it.
Q4) From preparing the draft of the book, to selecting the cover page to publishing it, it is a process that requires total scrutiny and involvement. Tell us about your experience and were there any hardships that you faced in the process?
Ans: I have been a Co-Author of two self-help books ‘Knocking the Door of Happiness & Success Sutra’ where my faculty and I took a joint decision of selecting the cover and all but Pakhi being my solo book and I was really unsure about a lot of things while getting Pakhi which was my dream to shape into a reality my father helped me pick the cover.
A very close friend of mine whose first language is not Hindi said this to me ‘not everyone publish a book Astha & you are doing it dude. I am proud of you.’ which acted as a motivation and I will always be grateful to have such friends.
My publishing team is very supportive and it wouldn’t be wrong to call them as my family because we are all so close with each other. It’s a blessing to have a dream team which brings out the best in you as a human.
This book will always be very close to me as I was not sure if I can ever let it out but it was my father who wanted me to take a leap of faith & my younger brother supported me equally for it. Of course, there were things like arranging the finances, getting the right platform to launch the book & the fear of people’s reaction because when it comes to poetry people assume it has to rhyme and they don’t really accepts the freestyle or free verse poems very much & especially if it is a Hindi book.
There is a very uncommon side too or the side which many don’t speak of but I think it needs to be discussed, that getting the acceptance from people in general if you are a Woman (Writer/Poet/Artist). It is extremely hard to get recognized and harder for your work to get acknowledged in the artistic area if you are a woman.
Q5) There is a large section of the youth who thinks of writing their solo book but lack the courage to do so. What is your advice to them?
Ans: Well, I am still learning the process to be honest but one thing that my father said was ‘either you try it and see it by yourself or keep repenting it for the rest of your life for not trying’, & I don’t regret things no matter how bad the outcome is. So if you want to do it, if you have resources and right people to guide you go for it.
Don’t be a people pleaser because you cannot make everyone happy. Your opinion, your work, even your existence will be appreciated by some and there will be bunch of people who will question your worth every now and then. Change for your own good and if you are really passionate about something do give it a try because your art may it be a painting, a poem, a story, music, your acting or any other art form will help at least one person who is struggling to get through his/her day & that is what our purpose should be to be helpful to at least one person in the world full of sarcasm and criticism.
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