Today “Chicken Soup Series” doesn’t need any introduction, so as our special Guest on Mom with her story. From writing columns in newsletters, to compiling best-selling books & series, she has established herself in her chosen field of endeavor. She is a wife-mom-writer-entrepreneur. She has compiled 13 titles for Chicken Soup. Yes, we are talking about Raksha Bharadia here, editor of Chicken Soup Series for India.
I am fortunate to know her through this interview and also learnt a lot from her. Over to her….
Mothers Gurukul: Raksha, MG readers would like to know about you. Who is Raksha Bharadia?
Raksha Bharadia: I am a person on a quest, trying to understand the hundreds of scenarios that intrigue me, I am a mother trying to understand how to strike the right balance between guiding her children and yet give them enough space for trial and error, I am a wife who is making sense of the changing dynamics of two people sharing life so intimately. I am a friend, a daughter, a writer, an entrepreneur, an employer who above all takes all her roles very seriously! And yes, I love my wine!
MG: While preparing for this interview, I have gone through your profile. You have studied History, Political science and Economics. So, how come you got into writing? Or is this something you always dreamt for?
Raksha Bharadia: Naah! But like a true Indian, who grew up in the Indian system I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. Now I have some inkling. I love asking questions. That led me to writing and here I am.
MG: You have also worked as a script writer with Star Plus for a show “Lakhon Me Ek” which featured real stories and real people. So, tell us about that experience.
Raksha Bharadia: Script writing was a different ballgame altogether. I loved it. And would like to pursue it in future once the time is right. As far as getting in touch with people who have real life stories to share, I have been doing that as part of my Chicken soup compilation. I think stories are the best way to understand anything.
MG: Coming to the most popular series “Chicken Soup Series”. When and how did you decide to start this and why specifically “Chicken Soup” as the title? Why not something else?
Raksha Bharadia: This fell into my lap after my book Me- A handbook for life was released. The Indian publishing house commissioned me to put the title together. And who would have refused working with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor! But the experience was tremendous, now that I have compiled 13 titles. It was humbling, the stories that came in, also it made me rethink on, what we, in our everyday lives think as big issues. And I connected with so many people at such a fundamental level!
MG: Awesome. You have a blogging platform under the name “Bonobology”? What does that means?
Raksha Bharadia: Bonobology.com is a portal that deals with couple relationships, its pains and pleasures, the security it offers as against what it demands in return. It derives its name from Bonobos. Bonobos are closest to us, in terms of genetic composition. And they have never had wars. They believe in making love and sharing food. They do not fight over people and food. I loved their philosophy. While we can’t be like them (maybe it is devolution), but there is a lot we can learn from where we come from, i.e. before we stepped down from trees, discovered agriculture or demarcated land we called our own.
MG: Have you ever faced what we call a writer’s block? What you do in that situation?
Raksha Bharadia: Many a times. I just stay with the thought, let it sit quietly, it comes to me when it is ready. I think we need to have faith.
MG: Every writer has a niche or say genre, what is your niche?
Raksha Bharadia: Essentially human interest. Keeps changing though. Right now couple relationships is what intrigues me most.
MG: Don’t you feel that for Indian market this is quite a bold area to talk about?
Raksha: See, we are an oral tradition. Also our primary language is not English. Yes, we are a conservative society. But we are not conservative in thoughts. Look at our History our culture!
MG: Writing itself is a vast field. What do you prefer the most in terms of writing – Short stories, Poetry or Novels?
Raksha Bharadia: I love writing novels. Love it! Check out “All and Nothing”. Fiction gives me the liberty to explore, non-fiction does not.
MG: In most of your writing pieces, one thing I had noticed is you have touched the deep emotions through instances and stories. Do you think writing about emotions is challenging than any other simple story?
Raksha Bharadia: Naah! Writing about emotions comes easily to me. It is humor that does not.
MG: Other than writing, what does Raksha Bharadia likes to do?
Raksha Bharadia: I am a Yoga and walk freak. I meditate regularly. I love movies and TV shows and my wine and gin.
MG: Raksha, how does it feel to have three books published under your name? Which one is your favorite?
Raksha Bharadia: I think so much more can be done. I am actually really proud of my book “Roots and Wings- A handbook for parents”. It is done after I researched 250 achievers (Sachin Tendulkar, Aparna Sen, Kumar Mangalam Birla etc.) to figure out what their parents did wit them for them to be here.
MG: For the budding bloggers, writers or anyone who is really passionate about this area, what would you like to suggest.
Raksha Bharadia: Don’t write for the sake of writing. Write when you feel passionate about something. And when you do, be honest with your emotions. The edits can happen later.
MG: Thank you Raksha for this wonderful interview. Wish you all the success in your journey!!