Interview with Tharini Devarajan

Writing is my heartbeat. Reading, my passion. God, my life force. My children, my hope. My friends, my cheer. My husband, the wind beneath my wings! The rest of my interests flow from this fountain of inspiration!  This is how our interviewee today describes herself. We can’t do better than that. Without wasting any more time, let us introduce you to the amazing person who we have interviewed today. Tharini Devarajan is at your adda for this very interesting interview about life, blogs, family and more. Read.

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: I started blogging in November of 2005. The ‘why’ was simple. It was my way of an online scrap book for Winkie and using it to share with the grandparents and family.

Q: What topics do you generally blog about?

A: My blog is very personal. In that sense, I have never thought of a topic per se. It started off being all about my son (and later sons), and for the most part, it is always centred around the boys  and the life that happens around them. And I just happen to see all of that with a very philosophical lens, so if that is a topic, then that’s what it’s about. 🙂

Q: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?

A: Whenever I write, it’s just one fluid motion, because I simply connect to my feelings spiralling around it, and the words come out of there. Sometimes, I do struggle to find the words to describe those very complex emotions that I always find myself wrapped up around in. I just breathe, close my eyes, feel it again and write as it comes.

Q: Do you promote your blog? What promotional techniques work best for you and why?    

A: No I do not. This space has never been about promotion. It’s about writing for the pure pleasure of it, about the two people who inspired me most to write.

Q: You were an accounting professional earlier. Tell us about your education and something about the work you used to do.

A: Eeks. Not one of my favourite questions simply because I play down this side of myself a lot. Maybe because I always felt I could not truly identify myself with my professional side much. Right now, it’s just a day job. I am a CPA and currently work for a small firm, specializing in small business accounting. Enough said. 🙂

Q: In one of your posts, you expressed how hurt you were as a parent when you saw your child not winning a prize. Surely it is very natural for any parent to feel that. 🙂 But there might be many parents who express this sadness too bluntly to their kids, having a negative effect on them. What would you like to suggest to such parents? How did you manage to control your emotions in front of Winkie?

A: Firstly, I cannot suggest anything to any parent. I can only talk about what I did and if I would do it differently. We all have our own ways and means that work according to the individual natures of our children. As for my emotions and Winkie’s, we played a sweet little see-saw game on that. When he was down, I patted his back and kept him up. When his feelings settled, I confessed my own desire of seeing him win. It was a very simple give and take at the time. Having said that, I believe we do have to find a balance between being encouraging and being honest, both at the same time.

Q: Tell us something about Jiva to Atma, your other blog. What kind of posts did you write there? When can we see you resume writing on that blog? We come across some inspirational stories on this blog; which one does inspire you the most? How does the blog help you as a person?

A: Jiva to Atma, as the name suggests was all about documenting, to an extent my own spiritual journey. I always have so many thoughts, questions and seeking going on inside my own head, and so many miracles of understanding that happened more and more as I asked the questions that it felt like a beautiful thing to write it down, to remember it by. Over time, I have come to realize how deeply personal and intimate a journey this is, and how little words do justice to such a daily transformation. So, I stopped writing on it. Not indefinitely, but just not right now.

The story that to this day inspires me and touches me no end is the account I wrote in this post.

Truly, when I look back, I cannot imagine how an utter novice like me could gather up the creative juices to design booklets on Photoshop, with the output actually looking beautiful even to my critical eye. I know that the creative energy flowed from a Source deep within. It was not simply Tharini being good at Photoshop, it was Tharini being a medium of expression for that Energy which willed everything; every step along the way. To this day, that knowledge and that memory is overwhelming.

Q: You seem to be inclined towards spirituality, is what we conclude from Jiva to Atma blog and other spiritual posts on Winkie’s Way. In what ways can spirituality help in gaining mental peace amongst all the hustle bustle of life? What does being a ‘spiritual parent’ mean?

A: I think we are all essentially spiritual by nature. That is why we can never live without hope, without laughter, without that basic joy that lets us function day to day.

Spirituality in its basic essence is about asking questions and seeking the answers. Its diving beneath the superficial waters of our everyday existence and just getting a sense of why we have been born, and to what purpose and how long can this cycle continue. I am sure there is a point in every person’s life when we think about these very questions. That simple thought, questioning, is spirituality. Indulge in it enough and soon answers do come your way, little insights that throw light and understanding. It helps you put things in perspective, not get carried away with every emotion and every level of energy (it’s exhausting!). And at the end of it, realise that even answers satisfy only to a point. That at the end, it’s about just having a simple one on one moment with life. Too spiritual an answer? 🙂

Spiritual parenting to me is realizing that my children, though they have come through me, are not truly “MINE”. It is the instinctive feeling that we have all chosen each other to achieve some purpose in this lifetime. It is conducting the role of a parent with this awareness; always in the background. It is not taking a lot of things too personally and getting too wrapped up in your children. It is having that cool sense of an impartial observer from time to time, while also having this intense, sharp, breathless love for them!

Q: A riot of colors spreads around when you and your kids have an arts and crafts session. 🙂 What do the boys generally like to make? Do you follow this hobby regularly, apart from the sessions with the boys?

A: I would love to make these sessions more regular, but sadly, we seem to have left it behind. From time to time, a moment happens when we converge on the art space and decide to let fancies take shape, but for the most part, days have been very functional; devoted to the daily grind. The boys enjoy anything and everything, so long as it is something they find easy to do and they have my undivided attention. Come to think of it, my undivided attention is the key to all our enjoyments.

Q: You have also tried writing few verses on your blog. When can we expect you to resume the poetry interest for poetry? 🙂 Share something about your cooking interest as well.

A: Heavens! Me and my verse are a complete accident of nature. It’s like that sudden flash of lightning that appears out of nowhere. So, I can never plan around it. 🙂 But I always enjoy going back to read it, just because I never know if I can ever write verse again. 🙂

As for cooking, I always feel I could do very happily without having to cook EVER! It’s another functional part of my day. I get enthusiastic about it only when I have a new recipe to try!

Q: In July 2009, you confessed few things, on being selfish and how you didn’t spend nurturing time with your sons. How have things changed in these three years? Do you feel a lot of users – not just parents alone – have given too much importance to their online life and less to the people physically present around them?

A: Wow, you have done some research. Thanks for such deeply searching questions. Things have changed in some respects. One, I am not so hard on myself (I tend to be over-critical). These days I realize I am doing the best I can. If I cannot make extra special time, I let it go without beating myself up into a post over it. 🙂 Again, I cannot speak for anyone else, but myself.  But yes, there was a point in time when being online took more priority than living a real life. Now I have a better sense of balance, which is why I am not blogging so much anymore, I guess. 😉

Q: Everything’s due on the 3rd, but you all have 3 grace days to make use of, so use it well. – We loved this line and the example you gave in this post with it. 🙂 As a parent, what are the things that you feel many parents miss because of their tight schedules and working hours? What suggestions would you give to such parents, to make use of their three grace days before it’s over? 🙂

A: I think we miss the time to actually “hear” what our kids are saying. Wait, that’s just me. I don’t know about the others. Many times, I am pre-occupied with some practical thought or the other and miss hearing what my kids are saying. I always try to pay more attention to this. So yes, listen more, hear more, register more. And if you can’t, then let it go like a little fluff of cotton in the breeze. Its all ok.

Q: How well do you think the education system of India ranks currently? What things do you feel schools and colleges must adapt for a better education environment and learning?

A: Honestly, I have very few opinions on political and social issues and neither am I well informed. Its actually a chore for me to formulate an opinion on something. So, I’m not the best person to answer this question.

Q: You name your worst habit to be Procrastination. List three situations where this habit left you in a fix and where it helped.

A: Procrastination. Yes, one situation where it’s been my worst enemy is w.r.t to my writing course. I am yet to hand in my assignment which I have put on hold for three years. I have a feeling I will postpone it yet again. This is probably the biggest instance of procrastination as a vice.

I think where it actually ends up helping, is that sometimes I put off even responding to people and emails etc. and when I do write, my responses come from a better, calmer place.

I have realized again how liberating- it is to not procrastinate and do something right away with that level of spontaneity intact, and also how it frees you the same way, when there is no urgency to react and respond and it all comes from a purer place.

Q: Tell us something about your contribution to Saffron Tree and Desi Momz Club. What nature of posts do you write for them?

A: I love Saffron Tree. Everytime I go there and look at a picture of a book being showcased, I feel happy. Everytime, I open a book at home and feel that glimmer of excitement that makes me want to review it, I feel happy. ST is definitely home in that sense. Being part of that team made me see what a world in itself, children’s books can be. I have learned so much just from the interactions among all the contributors and their single minded passion for children’s literature.

I was part of DMC for a very short time. And for the while that it lasted, it was fun. I remember DMC inspired me to write a post for Mother’s Day and truly think about my mother and her place in my life.

Q: Do your husband and other family members read your blog? How has the overall blogging experience been for you? Share some memories of the blog world.

A : Yes, my husband reads my blog. He enjoys it and if he knows I have posted, he will read it with his cup of morning coffee. He loves reading about the boys there because it fills in some of the blanks of what he misses in his daily life with them. Family members read it too. I forward posts that I think they might enjoy. For me, along with reading what other commenters have to say, I love reading the responses of the family too! It has helped them all understand me a little better too and about the writer side which is the part of me I love most!

Q: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?

A: I think we blog for the interaction we get from the readers. That’s  given. During the romance phase of my blog, I got a complete high from the reader interactions. It was such a fun and idyllic time. It eventually gave way to a quieter time when people got busy and moved on. I have moved on from this space so many times, to always come back to it. Today, I hardly hear from anyone. But I’ve had my share of the high of reader comments, and I don’t miss it as much. The joy of writing is joy enough. No cliche intended. 🙂

Q: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?

A: Many things.

  • The undeniable chronicling of some of the sweetest moments of bringing up my boys.
  • The sense of clarity and calm that I get just from the simple act of writing. I am a very conflicted person in my own head, but the minute I write, all those swirling thoughts settle down and become instantly clear. I connect to that calm, quiet place within and that same sense of miracle happens, where I feel the words are through me, but not mine.
  • It gave me some of the dearest friendships. Its amazing how that happened, and how those relationships are one of the biggest highs of my life today.

Q: How, in general, would you rate the quality of Indian blogs? Share your favourite five blogs.

A: Whoa! I am so little into reading blogs these days, leave alone Indian blogs. But the one person I have always read, is The Mad Momma.

Q: What is your advice to someone who wants to start a blog?

A: I feel woefully unequipped to advice anybody on blog tips. Honestly! Write what is true to your nature, I guess.

Q: Do you earn revenue through your blog? How does one go about it?

A: No I do not. I have never considered it.

Q: According to you, what is the future of Blogging?

A: You’re asking this to a person whose sole aim in life is to be lodged into every moment. I don’t know what will happen in my life a day from now (though I can guess at it!). The future of blogging is a loo….ong consideration off!

Q: Let’s conclude off with a few favorites.

Color: Purple, right now.

Movie: The Notebook, A Few Good Men, Rang De Basanti

TV Show: This is one of the skeletons in my closet, so I won’t open that door! 😉

Book: Eat, Pray, Love (right now)

Time of Day: Early morning, first cup of coffee, while watching over my plants time of day.

Your Zodiac Sign: SAGITTARIUS!! And I LOVE being one!

Tharini, we loved this interview. We are sure the boys know how lucky they are to have been blessed with such an amazing mom. We are proud to have you at our Adda. Friends, connect with her and share your thoughts. 

Connect with Tharini: Blog, BlogAdda.

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