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A feminist blogger with a compelling voice, yet a very humble and down-to-earth person and friend, that is Anupama Dalmia here, speaking about what makes her tick.
“Sometimes learning about something involves unlearning. So, always keep your mind open if you truly want to evolve into a better and more sensitive person in life. Also, fear is a normal emotion. But, do not let it bog you down and become an obstacle in your path. Yes, you might fail or falter but what if you don’t? It is the latter thought that has always helped me take decisions which everyone terms as ‘risky’. The opportunities are endless if you are ready to take the plunge,” states 36-year-old Anupama Dalmia who is one of the top bloggers and influencers of the country.
Endless opportunities….that she has not only created for herself but for so many people around her, including her mother who is 60 plus! Her ventures include the latest one Beyond the Box where she takes creative writing/reading classes and workshops for schools and now corporates; Rhythm & Beats where she conducts dance workshops for ladies and kids and also choreographs for events/individual choreography requests. And not to forget Tingle Your Taste Buds, a cooking website co-owned along with her mother, Usha Dalmia.
And all this along with raising a super-active 4-year-old daughter!
Anupama laughs and takes a pause to answer, “I am often asked how I manage to be involved in multiple lines of work. Honestly, it is a struggle on most days, but planning is what helps me most of the times.”
“Here, I want to stress on the importance of prioritization. I am not a superwoman and don’t waste my energy in trying to be one. So, at times my wardrobe is left messy for months and I don’t feel guilty about it. Sometimes, when I am busy, I order food from outside for my daughter in case the cook is on leave. I don’t beat myself up over it. I do not have to always prepare fresh homemade food to be a good mother. I think the moment we recognize that we cannot have everything at once, things become a lot easier. For instance, as a writer, I never took part in any of the blogging challenges because it didn’t fit into my schedule. I never felt like I missed something. So, prioritize, decide and stick by it – that’s the secret to juggling between so many things.”
Not many know that Anupama is an Engineer in Computer Science from Pune University and an MBA in Systems and Finance from Nirma University, Ahmedabad. And she was employed with Infosys where she worked for 6.5 years before resigning to pursue her creative interests!
I ask her, “What made you quit a white collar job to jump into something so different?”
She recalls, “It was August 2011 when I had aced a presentation at a major event and had received accolades from the management. Rather than being over the moon, there was an empty feeling within me because this was not my true calling, even though I did enjoy my work. I knew I had to take charge, because I knew my soul wasn’t happy….and I knew this was the time, either this way, or that way. I took the plunge to soothe my creative nerves. Many felt it was a foolish decision, but my husband, my family stood by me.”
She adds that to a large extent her upbrining was also a great push behind this decision. “Despite coming from a typical patriarchal Marwari background, there was no gender bias at home. I had the freedom to make choices in life. I was mocked by a few boys too during my college years for ‘being a feminist’ and the naive me at that point tried to get defensive. I also did face subtle sexism at my workplace but I tackled it head on.”
“As a woman, I think I have come a long way and evolved through life experiences. I realized that if I do not stand up for myself, how will my daughter learn to do it?”
And this reflects in the multiple award winnings blogs she has penned for some of the women-oriented websites of India, and for some which she has won awards, as well as being loved by those who follow her work. How does she do this?
Anupama’s tone becomes a bit serious, “I never aimed at being one, and even now that is not what I focus on. It just happened. Personally, I have always focused on engaging readers meaningfully, not influencing them. But then would love to share a few tips on how to become an empathetic writer, that will automatically draw the crowds to you:
~ Be honest to yourself and your followers/readers.
~ Understand and decide on your target audience appropriately. It does not help to be all over the place.
~ Research and be well-informed about what you promote and your content.
~ Keep the approach gentle always. The tone of your posts should be clear and firm but not too strong or authoritative.
~ Actively engage with the audience, and have a fairly consistent schedule of social media posts.
~ Try to learn the basics of social media marketing.
~ Be passionate about what you do. This will definitely help the readers connect more easily to you.
The next I ask her is: what are the three things one must never do when he/she is an influencer? Anupama lists them as follows:
~ Do not ever try to be authoritative or commanding. It will put people off for sure.
~ Do not promote a product with half knowledge or merely for a relationship to make quick money. This affects credibility and does not help in the long run. You have to stand for your content and for that you have to believe in it.
~ Never bring others/other brands/other products down to promote something.
“You have a unique voice,” I say to her. “Is there anything that you dream of using it for, other than the work you do? How does it feel like, and what’s your advice to other bloggers who wish to scale similar heights?”
She responds very quickly, “Mahima, using my voice to help others find their voice – that is what I aim for.” She smiles, looking at her daughter who is busy writing something in her tiny diary (like mother like kiddo!). “There are many bloggers who come to me for advice and say that they feel shy about actively sharing their work on social media. One has to understand that if one wants to become an influencer, inhibitions have to be shed. There is absolutely nothing wrong in marketing your work. It is important to learn to market oneself in an approachable manner. Shun inhibitions, take the world head-on if you trust your pen,” Anupama kind of roars through these words.
So much that she has achieved at such a young age. And I ask her to share the high points of her journey in her own words.
“Well, I am fortunate that I had a wonderful journey. I won multiple awards, got featured in magazines, newspapers and on coveted platforms, and made it to many lists. But, the high points for me are when I realize that I have touched a life miles away through my words. Like once a woman messaged me about how she found the strength to breastfeed her child longer after reading my blog. Once a man expressed how he realized he was wrong in making fun of his female friends for being feminists after reading my article on the myths of feminism. All such moments are high points for me. For me, being able to inspire a soul or touch a life is the biggest achievement as a person,” Anupama recalls.
And I then ask her to share a few challenges she has faced in this journey as a woman. She asserts that she doesn’t think the challenges would have been any different if she was a man, but then lists two things that made her wonder.
“My biggest challenge was managing my work while being the primary caregiver of my daughter. Now my daughter understands my work somewhat, so she is more co-operative than before. Also, sometimes I have these bizarre experiences. Like once a client approached Rhythms & Beats and asked for the founder. When I mentioned that I was the founder, he was surprised and said that he was expecting a male to be the founder. He had wanted to discuss a deal, but somehow never showed interest after that day.”
So then I asked her who was her role model. She laughs, “This is a difficult question Mahima, because I am someone who takes inspiration from everyone around. Starting from my mother to my friends to my house helps to even strangers, I learn a lot from every person.”
Anupama signs off leaving a message for our readers, “Never say never, and learn, learn and learn! That should be the prime focus always, to push the envelope and reach your full potential.”
Images source: Anupama Dalmia
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Independent Journalist & Winner of 2 Trophies at the Orange Flower Summit & Awards, 2017 (Ex-News
It’s past midnight and i feel so exhilarated after reading this post. Something i was in dire need of.
Thanks Mahima for this window in to Anupama’s thoughts and life. The questions are perfectly suited to the honesty with which she answers them and a joy to read.
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