Around 800 years ago, an art originated in Bihar. It involved melting of glass in to thin sheets and adding traced pattern in natural colors and thereafter embellishing it with gold foil to create the “Tikuli” or “Bindi”. 800 years later, one person true to her name, believed that blogging is an art. She is ‘Tikuli’. This week we have interviewed Tikuli Dogra who ‘Spins a yarn of life’ at her blog with wonderful posts and poems. Here is the persona interviewed.
Q: When and why did you start blogging?
A: There are times when you feel that somewhere down the line you have lost the real “you” under layers and layers of responsibilities, social bindings, relationships and much more. That your very own identity is lost behind the masks you chose to wear in order to “fit in” in the scheme of things. I was going through a similar phase and needed to break away, to have my own space, to tame the raging torrent inside me and help it flow gently. I wanted to fill the empty spaces in my life and find a place where I could express myself with the freedom I desired. Which allows me to breath as a human unchained by religion, rituals, customs, dogmas, caste, color and gender.
They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. I had no idea how to channelize my creative energy. I was passionate about writing, wanted to be heard and understood and still had no platform. It was then I met Ritu of Weaving a Web on a social networking site. Ritu gave a completely new direction and meaning to my life and I am forever indebted to this wonderful friend and my mentor. She not only helped take those first steps but also spent a lot of her precious time editing, encouraging, guiding, setting up my accounts, helping me make right choices and contacts on every step. Whatever I am today it is because of a selfless, encouraging friend.
In the beginning I was not sure if it would work for me. The inner critic kept pulling me away constantly. I persisted. I wanted to give it a try.
It’s been a journey dedicated to hard work and today I feel I have finally carved myself a path which will take me to my destination.
Q: What topics do you generally blog about?
A: I can answer this in one word “Life”. Life is my muse and every aspect of it inspires me. I love poetry, so sometimes weave the rhythm of life into my words and spin some tales and verses. I am a relentless learner and do not call myself “writer” at all. I still have a long way to go .
My writings are a window to my soul and heart. Most of them touch some aspect of my life.
My blog is blend of memories, dreams, promises, passions and desires. You will find the colors of nature splashed in my writings. I love to travel, to cook and usually share my experiences. I also write for change.
As I always say, Be the change you want to see. Issues like Domestic Abuse, Rape, Female infanticide etc. I am not gender biased and feel that Men suffer equally in our society. It is many a times silent hurt .
Blogging gave me the platform to raise issues which are normally pushed under the carpet, issues like Marital Rape.
Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?
A: Yes I do get that “block” sometimes. It is a time when all your words tend to move towards a “biblioblackhole”. I usually keep a notepad and pencil (yes I still love the smell of fresh paper and the magic of the pencil (hate pens)) :). I jot down whatever thoughts keep coming to me and just relax. One don’t have to pour out everytime the swirling storm hits your mind. It is a time to let it pass. I read other writers, do something that I enjoy doing. If you let it go and still yourself it comes back at the right time. Forced writing is no good for me or the readers.
Q: You are a mother to two children. It takes a lot of effort and determination to manage blogs, write articles and manage a family! How are you able to strike the correct balance? Is it a continuous challenge or do you have a magical mantra?
A: LOL, Oh yes it is a challenge all right but yes I do have a magical mantra. It is called passion for what you do. I believe in the saying that it is not doing the things you love to do but loving the things you have to do that makes life better.
I was incurably addicted to net and my kids gave me those “kill ya” looks all the time. I was grateful from the bottom of my soul to those kind people who did “home delivery” .God bless them. 😀
They called me cyber mom which means kids can not recognise her unless they see the back of her head in the glow from the back-light of her computer screen! 😀
The worse was yet to come. I took my net addiction to the next level – Blog addiction. :p
By this time the family had learned to cope with my new found passion.
The family knows they have to live with it even if it sucks. 😀 I do my best to keep myself happy without causing a war.
My boys are very self sufficient and encouraging buddies. I am an early riser so get a lot of spare time. I really do not have to manage the family and I am sure they too want me to manage just my work and myself. works well for all of us. 😀
Q: We love your poems. What genre of poetry you enjoy writing and what according to you is a good poem? Do you plan to publish your poems as a collection?
A: Thank you for your appreciation.Writing poetry is therapeutic for me. I mostly write for my own pleasure and it is very recently that I have started to learn the technical aspect of poetry writing. It has opened new doors for me as a reader and as a writer. Poetry writing helps me connect with myself. It has brought tremendous change in me as a person and I consciously respond to this change as it unfolds.It has also helped me explore new dimensions of writing, to allow myself the pleasure to soar beyond the limitations of mind.
A good poem for me is a spontaneous flow of life and emotions in all it’s myriad hues. It’s an expression of self. A way to connect and strike a balance with your inner and outer self. Any piece of writing which makes me reach out to it , involves me, holds me captive, makes me ponder, stirs the depths of my consciousness or just makes me all dreamy eyed and gives me wings releasing me from the mundane is a good poem for me.
I blog because it has affirmed my belief that I count, My voice matters and is heard. The belief that what I am writing is making a difference in the life of someone like me.
I began with mushy, dreamy poems. They were either love poems or poems on nature but slowly as I read and discovered new poets and different forms of poetry I began to explore. Now I try to write in every possible genre. I am a student and continuously try to learn something new. Poet friends from Facebook have helped me immensely to polish my poetry. I owe a lot to Kris Saknussemm for giving me the direction I needed. Under the Bruised Sky, Inner Chatter, A childhood lost are some of my favorites though all the poems hold a special place in my heart.
Yes, it is my dream to see my poems published one day. It gave me such a joy to see myself featured in some very prestigious poetry sites like Mnemosyne Literary Journal, The enchanting Verses, Troubadour21, The Smoking Book etc. Two of my poems were also part of the anthology of poems published as a part of National poetry festival held every year.
When my poem got published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul, I was ecstatic. I meant a lot for a new upcoming poet like me and I thank my friend and fellow writer Raksha Bharadia for it.
Q: You love traveling, don’t you? If you could vacation anywhere in the world expense-free, where would you go and why?
A: I do love to travel. Wow .. Will you make this dream come true? 😛 lol
I would love to visit Italy for more than one reason. It has everything I look for in a travel destination. Rich cultural heritage (music, art and science, history, literature), great food and wine, awesome looking men :p and apart from all of this, the natural beauty of this place is breathtaking.
There is so much to see and explore in Italy. It has a sense of timelessness about it. I feel Italy has a perfect blend of ancient and present. After reading so much about the secret societies, the mafia families, etc., I have this tremendous urge to see the places I have only read about.
It is a place I am in love with. Five places I really want to see in Italy are Monteriggioni, Venice, Rome, Tuscany and Florence.
Q: Someone once called you a ‘Child Woman’. A very interesting term. Why do you think did he/she called you that? Does this emphasize the saying that every person has a ‘Child’ in them?
A: Child Woman, yes a very special friend gave me this name. When I asked him Why, he said he sees the same twinkle in my eye as a child would have. Unpolluted by the influences of the pseudo society. An inquisitive mind, a longing to blossom.
Yes, it does emphasize that each of us carry an “inner child”. I keep the child in me alive and remain connected with it. It helps me keep my innocence, unconditional love and purity of heart alive. The adult me and the inner child merge beautifully and keep me balanced. I think being child like and not childish is a good thing.
Q: You are ‘Proud to be a born as a woman’. Can you share with us, a few proud moments in your life? Today, what are the things that makes you NOT ‘Proud to be born as a Woman’ and why?
A: I feel that being a woman I am closer to the creator and the universe that I am part of. I always say that whoever created this beautiful universe must be having a woman’s heart and soul. I am not gender biased but still if given a chance to be born again I would love to be back on earth as a woman.
I was raised in a most unconventional way and my parents never imposed anything on me. I never felt the pressures of being a girl child which is so common in our society.
I was given a name which is unique (just as my parents thought I am). I exercised my right in dropping my surname as a teenager because I wanted to be known as me and not by my social identity.
I was always encouraged to do whatever helped me grow as a human being and in that process I became the woman I am today. I feel that when a girl is instilled with the freedom to choose her life path, she can be an asset to the future generations in any social roles she players living as a part of the system.
There aren’t many things that make me NOT “proud to be a woman” except my own limitations that I have failed to overcome. I think if we as women feel the pride and gratitude for the life given to us, if we respect ourselves then no woman will ever feel no not to be proud of her life.
I feel that whatever gender we are born with we should feel blessed about it.
Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
A: Blogging has been therapeutic for me. It has helped me communicate with myself and shed all that is not me. I have found my voice and a platform to connect with like minded people. It gave me the confidence I lacked. A belief in my self.
It makes a lot of difference when one finds that one is not alone in raising voice against the social evils, when one shares the everyday joys and pains, laughter and tears with friends whom one seems to know forever ,the camaraderie ship , the interactions with other writers/readers enriches your life.
It is comforting to know that the fears and lows of life have not really taken hold over my spirit and mind and I am finally doing what I always wanted to do.
Well said, Tikuli. Friends, this is not over as yet. This is part one of the two part interview. Friends, come back for the second part of the interview in the same place at around the same time, next week. In the second not-to-be-missed part, Tikuli speaks about her career, some unknown facts of life, her favourite Indian blogs and so much more. Thank you Tikuli for taking out time and your wonderful detailed answers.