Books mean different things to different people and they are one of the best ways to discover many things such about people, places, emotions, and a completely new world. They evoke feelings and can sometimes be an Escape from the mundane while also giving us an experience that we might never forget. All this is possible because we have authors, as without them we wouldn’t have any books to read.
Our hall of fame article today is about one such amazing author whose works are very enjoyable to read and to relate- Our own sweet and charming Ananya Nandi!
Everything began with Ananya’s mother getting regular PTM feedback about Ananya being a very shy and introverted child, after which Ms Nandi felt strongly that she lacked social skills. Ananya talks of how her mother initially pressured her into participating in competitions at school, such as spell bee, debate, declamation, speech et cetera. For her mother, it was not about her child winning but about Ananya going out there in participating itself, in order to teach Ananya how to face an audience, how to talk confidently and to overcome her stage fear.
It was during one such creative writing competition in which Ananya took part and received a note of appreciation from her teacher that her mother figured out that Ananya had a knack and talent for writing.
Ananya has, since a young age, always been interested in books, and has always been a creative person who used to scribble or draw cartoons and write something about those cartoons in matchboxes and so on. As an introvert who is not very good at interacting with others, Ananya would express her thoughts and emotions in the form of cartoon drawings and comics from the age of eight, as her vocabulary was not good enough to articulate her emotions just by writing. After putting in a lot of effort in such small creative expressions, Ananya finally was interested in getting her work published when she was in 7th grade. It was then that she wrote seriously, with the end goal of getting published.
Today, Ananya has multiple published works to call her own. Her first story is “An Encounter With A Tiger” which was published in the book ‘Reverie’ in 2019 comprising short stories by multiple authors. It is a humorous story about a school trip. Her second story to be published is “An Eclipse” in the book ‘What Tomorrow Brings’ which is inspired by a real-life incident and talks about hope.
We are talking about her book, “Everyday musings of a clodhopper” which is about a 14-year-old girl and the struggles all adolescents go through, and the title literally means The Everyday Thoughts of a Socially Awkward Person. The book is a collection of eight short stories, which are hilarious, and I found myself laughing all the way through it. It was a very enjoyable read indeed!
Though a published author today, Ananya has worked really hard to improve her vocabulary and reach where she is today. As she used to take part in competitions such as spell bee, she used to keep a pocket dictionary handy, and was very fond of the dictionaries her father used to get her. She says that they were very picturesque and interesting in a way to capture the attention of a fourth grader. From then till she was in her 6th to 7th grade, she used to take out specific time to read the dictionary every day in order to improve her vocabulary.
It was when she took part in multiple essay competitions and creative writing competitions held at Sherwood High that she figured out that she was good at writing. Thanks to Ms Sri Priya’s keen eye, as it was she who first recognised and encouraged Ananya’s talents and motivated her to write more in the humor genre.
When asked if her character is inspired by a real person, Ananya had to say that the lead character has some similarities with herself. As an introvert, she feels she takes a lot of time to open up and her interaction skills aren’t so great, due to which people end up misunderstanding her often. She has missed many opportunities and has lost out on a lot of things because of her shy nature. According to her, it has taken about 11 years of spending time at Sherwood high for her teachers to understand her really well. She feels it is their love and encouragement which has kept her motivated.
Through her book, she tries to convey that every person is different and is unique in their own way, so we shouldn’t judge anybody while not knowing their story or their struggles. She also emphasizes on the importance of not overly valuing other people’s opinions, because while trying to impress others, one can lose their freedom and individuality.
In similarity with the famous quote by Arthur Plotnik, which says, “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you…”, when asked about her experience while writing her book and what she learnt through the process, Ananya conveyed that her thoughts and emotions seemed rather relevant while writing the book in contrast to other times when she would shy away from sharing her thoughts and feelings.
Inspiration and motivation are extremely necessary ingredients to success and as Ananya says a major part of her inspiration came from her mother and her teacher, who constantly encouraged her, and kept saying that she had a talent for writing, and is truly good at what she does, and that she should write more on the humor genre etc., which made Ananya feel she could indeed write well.
It is through motivation that real and crucial changes in behavior and development in competencies happen. It is through the motivation provided by her teachers and her mother that Ananya could set goals, grow interests, develop talents, make plans, could be creative and succeed in a field that she never really thought of, proving true the beautiful quote by Oprah Winfrey, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
When Ananya gave serious thought to writing and wanted to get her works published, it was her mother who did everything to get her book published. She had to get in touch with the publisher and provide details about Ananya, along with a sample of writing by her. After receiving approval for her sample, she was asked to compile her stories, and it was then sent to publish. This was the very beginning of her journey as an author!
With the first couple of stories getting published in anthologies, Ananya’s mother further motivated her to utilize the lock down as an opportunity to write further stories. After 3 to 4 months of penning down her thoughts, editing, reviewing, and multiple number of additions and deletions, the book was finally ready!
One of the major struggles that Ananya went through while writing her book was the constant fear of upsetting or hurting somebody related to her by her exaggerated style of writing. The question, what if somebody found something in her book offensive rather than funny? was always hindering her writing process. Apart from this, Ananya proudly states that she did not face any writer’s block during her entire writing journey, since she had accumulated quite a lot of ideas beforehand. The thoughts of her having her own book was really what kept her motivated during those months of hard work.
We asked Ananya about Sherwood High’s role in her success, to which Ananya had to say that the school played a major role in her success, as it was indeed her teacher from sixth grade that initially identified her talent and the principal who always appreciated and encouraged her along with her teachers, which really boosted her confidence and pushed her to write further and better every single time.
“Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.” -Amos Bronson Alcott. When asked about achieving such success at a young age and how she feels about it, she responded by saying “It feels really amazing to be a published author at this age. I really do feel that I’m extremely lucky to have had this opportunity to present myself.”
Ananya says that she’s personally pretty happy with her work, but she still believes there could have been room for improvement. She just wants people to have a good time while reading her book, and strongly believes that her friends will enjoy and relate to her book, so she hopes her friends will take time to read her book.
“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.”
– Herman Melville
As rightly said by the famous Herman Melville, the theme of humor runs abundantly throughout the book and the comic element comes from the exaggeration with which Ananya portrays some of the events in her book. They are just instances of her everyday thoughts and some of her most memorable events that she has penned down with just a bit of an exaggerated touch.
When asked to describe what she loves to do, Ananya had to say that she loves reading and during her free time she loves to play her guitar and also loves abstract painting. She enjoys watching stars and the planets from her telescope and also listens to music to rejuvenate.
This is Ananya’s first published book as an individual author and she wishes to keep writing, even in the future. Though she does not plan on becoming a full-time author, she would definitely love to continue writing as a hobby, because our Ananya here aims at becoming a doctor by profession.
From a shy girl who was not confident even to speak to others, and convey what you wanted, to a published author who is selling copies of her book on Amazon, we see that you have come a long way Ananya, and we could not be more proud!
We implore everybody reading the article to give Ananya’s book a shot. It is available on Amazon, where you can also write positive reviews and encourage our talented author through your appreciation and feedback.
Sherwood High’s Management, teachers and our entire staff congratulate Ananya on her remarkable achievement and hope that she writes more such humorous and fantastic books, while we also wish her the very best to achieve your goals and ambitions in life.