“Why Do You Want To Be Outdoors? It’s Not For Girls!”: Nikhila Chandrashekhar, Author Of The Month, May 2018

Avid hiker, and a perceptive watcher of the transitional society that India is, Nikhila Chandrashekhar writes on Women's Web about the many subtle ways in which women still face bias.

Avid hiker, and a perceptive watcher of the transitional society that India is, Nikhila Chandrashekhar writes on Women’s Web about the many subtle ways in which women still face bias.

Every month, the editors at Women’s Web identify three from our 2500+ contributors, whose work we and audiences have loved, who have brought something unique to the platform. This May 2018, Nikhila Chandrashekhar is among our three featured Authors of the Month.

Nikhila’s writing reflects many of the issues of critical importance to young women in urban India today, whether it is fraught parent-daughter relationships, or finding oneself in marriages that are superficially modern, but nonetheless cast in patriarchal moulds. You can find Nikhila Chandrashekhar writing at Women’s Web here, and on her own blog, Figment Of The Mind.

Women’s Web authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?

It all started with documenting important experiences in my life. I wanted to pen my thoughts down as I could get clarity and better understanding of the experiences by writing. The more I wrote, the more I started to enjoy it and I wanted to write to express my opinions and share my stories.

What do you enjoy reading? Does any of it help your writing?

I read all kinds of books, poetry, magazines and articles, including topics related to business, technology, history, psychology, and social issues. I have been reading books as long as I can remember, and it has definitely helped expand my worldview. The more I read, the better I can translate my feelings and thoughts into words.

When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?

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Various issues that women face in modern India haunt me. I am no stranger to the biases that women are subjected to. Even though we think that we are shifting towards becoming a progressive society, there are so many subtle ways in which we put women down and treat them with disrespect. I want to bring those biases to light.

Could you narrate an issue or incident in your life which you think was gender related, and you handled it in a way that has made you proud.

I developed a passion for the outdoors and hiking at a young age. I loved exploring trails, camping under the stars in forests and climbing. I encountered some resistance from my grandparents and they said, “Why do you want to be outdoors and hike for days?! It’s dangerous and not for girls. Besides, you will get a tan!”

Girls are still expected to stay indoors, not take risks and stick to social norms. But I was headstrong and pursued my interests and have continued to do so.

What are the things you would like to write about in the future for Women’s Web?

I would like to write more about the changing Indian society and the day to day issues which women face that get overlooked. My hope is that it wakes up other women and drives them to make small changes everyday.

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