Anuja Chandramouli is a bestselling author and new age Indian classicist from India. Her debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named as one of the top 5 sellers In the Indian writing category for the year 2012 by Amazon India. She recently launched the Mahabharata with Anuja series on YouTube and released her latest book, Mohini: The Enchantress, my exploration of one of the most fascinating LGBTQ characters in Indian mythology.
As a working from home mom, there were no drastic changes on the career front and Anuja had the comfort of working as per usual during these troubled times. “However, I missed traveling to various schools, colleges across the country in order to conduct storytelling sessions and creative writing workshops or attend Literary Festivals. That was something I missed. I continue working with students and handle sessions via Zoom but I look forward to interacting with people in person again. Anxiety issues made writing and embarking on new projects a challenge. It took time to work my way out of the slump.”
Family time is a blessing
The pandemic has taught Anuja the importance of being kind and patient with herself and to extend the same courtesy to others. “Initially, the fear and anger with the situation made it hard to cope above all in the middle of this insane year, I lost my fur babies. It was a massive blow and one I doubt I will ever recover from, but I have learned to be grateful for all the good things in my life. We adopted two pups, after overcoming some initial reluctance and these new admissions to our family have brought such meaning into our lives. And spending time with my family has been a blessing. It took time and we are still learning to live together in enforced confinement while staying out of each other’s hair but their have been plenty of laughs“.
Anuja’s family decided to learn new skills to ensure that they don’t go stir crazy. “My two daughters are learning French and coding when they are not singing songs and playing the piano to entertain us. I have been cooking up a storm and mastered some wicked recipes which has prompted my kids to insist that I audition for Masterchef!”
It was most rewarding to launch her own YouTube channel says Anuja and share stories about the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. “The feedback has been overwhelming. So many people belonging to all age groups have reached out to connect with me and their kind words were so heartening! I have done so many sessions on Zoom, I have virtual fatigue now! But kidding aside, I am thankful to technology which allowed me to reach out to a wider, more involved audience for some truly stimulating discussions”.
The response to Mohini: The Enchantress has also been lovely. “I was particularly moved when members of the LGBTQ community got in touch to say that the book has touched them in a meaningful way and to share some of their experiences with me. These lovely interactions have helped me realize how fortunate I am to be able to do something I love and share it with like – minded folks.”
Work is worship
Anuja is truly grateful for every single opportunity that allows her to write and explore this topsy turvy world of ours one story at a time. “Work is worship as far as I am concerned. It has helped me weather many a storm on the personal front and this year has been no different. Which is why I urge myself to get to it even if I don’t have the energy to do anything besides binge watch Breaking Bad. And I am glad every single time, I sit down and get cracking with my writing. It is my nirvana”.