Meet Niharika Karan: A Determined Soul, Wanderlust, Cricket Lover (Dhoni Fan) and A Writer Who Wins Your Heart with Her Words
Our writer Shrey Saxena caught up with Niharika Karan aka Neha. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” True to this phrase, Niharika shares with us inspiring journey of her life, both as a person and as a writer. Read on to know more about this charming writer of YQ.
Q. Hey Niharika, to begin with your interview, how would the lost wordsmith write her biography in about 250 words?
A. The lines of song-She can help you knowing me:
"She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She may be the love that cannot hope to last."
Neha Karan aka Niharika, Karan being my dad’s middle name. Born in Meerut, brought up in Dehradun. I was born in a family headed by a Teacher (my dad) so studies, books, discipline were my childhood friends. My childhood was the time I feel sorry for myself as I had no friends at all. :(
Eldest child, a Libran and yes A TOMBOY.
I’m a creative person. I don’t just love Art, I live it and by Art means every form of Art. Writing, painting, crafting, music, dance, etc. It is one of the stronger pillar in my family yet emotional kid at heart.
A wanderer, bibliophile, cricket fan (MSD fan actually), nature lover, musically alive, movie addict, series fan(F.R.I.E.N.D.S., HIMYM, GoT being my favs), solo traveler and an ambivert. I wear my heart on my sleeves.
Reading and writing Hindi is in my blood (my Dad is a Hindi teacher plus he too writes poetry and prose).
That’s Niharika for you.
Q. That’s a lovely know-about, Niharika. Dehradun is known quite a lot as a peaceful hill station. Did it help you in your quest with words?
A. Before I say anything about my quest, I want to tell you that Dehradun is love. Simply wow! A place where I can spend whole of my life. Since I was brought up here, 14 long years, this place had quite an effect on me, my life and of course my love for words. If I were not here, I wouldn’t have been writing on YQ as well. I was fond of reading and scribbling was just for fun. So whenever I get bored with my school text books, I used to write in my diary-anything, any thought, because my diary was my only companion. Sitting in parks for hours, listening to music, looking for peace, finding solitude, sipping tea at roadside thellas, getting drenched in rains and much more that I can ever describe, all this made me scribble my emotions on paper.
Dehradun made me what I am today. Yes, this place helped me in my quest with words. A lonely person found its companion in the lap of nature. Those clouds, trees, chirruping of words, that picturesque gave me those lovely ideas and I painted them all with my words. Worth mentioning are my teacher and Das who always appreciated my efforts when I started writing in English. He was the one who guided me in every little step I took in writing Hindi.
Q. "She may be the love that cannot hope to last". Is it right to sense a bit of lack of trust in self due to an experience in the past?
Yes. Sorry to say this but this is the truth. And this is not due to “an experience” but many experiences in the past. But it’s good to learn from experiences. As I already told you, I’m a sentimental kid, I use my heart, not mind. I’m not a calculative-minded girl. I’m a girl who prefers heart over brain. But yes this made me suffer a lot. I failed to understand that people are not always true. I gave too much, cared too much, loved too much and tried too much but I guess that’s what resulted me in getting hurt too much. Every scar has its own story and so is mine. I now feel that people only want you in their life till they are getting some sort of benefits from you. But still, I’m the same. These experiences could never steal the essence of my soul. I still love people with all my heart and I’m still available for them whenever they need me. But yes, when it comes to myself, I face trust issues. Sometimes, I feel I can never do anything right and I don’t deserve any good thing. *she made a sad face*
Ab wo maasoomiyat baaki nahi rahi!
Q. From a girl who had no friends in childhood to someone who (as I see) is loved by many, how have you managed to deal both the scenarios and what helps you to get through tough times?
A. Shrey, you are a good observer I must say. Yes, I’m loved by many people now. *chuckles*
I had no friends in my childhood. A girl lost in books and sports. No one to play with, except for my younger brother. The only person in my life with whom I remember my childhood time is my brother, Rajat. He’s my BEST FRIEND. We laughed, cried, fought, played just like all brothers-sisters do. Only friend of mine till I entered 7th standard. I got many friends (at least, I thought so, that they were my friends, but they were not.)
They all were nice to me because I was daughter of a Teacher. My dad used to be Hindi and Sanskrit teacher in the same school. All the time those people around me wanted to know if I knew some important questions in exam, or if I could ask my dad to give them good grades in Hindi and Sanskrit. (let me tell you: these two subjects are not as easy as they seem to be.) When I denied, they left me. Was alone again. Phew! Getting good friends is very difficult.
My dad joined another school in Dehradun and I continued my further studies from a new school. It was a boarding school and I was a nerd, disciplined or I must say I was a misfit. I was no fun. 2 years and no friends, except for a few who were with me so that I could help them in making their projects in Science and Computers. Basically, I was a need of the hour for most of the people I met, till I entered college.
Being a friendless person made me an introvert. I found my solace in books, solo road trips, music, sketching, painting, etc. And every night I used to sleep with a heavy heart and every night I used to cry. But my dad, he helped me in every phase. He became my another friend. But it was not enough, I guess. I went through that worst phase and those times still haunt me. Later, I focused on my studies, career and started losing myself in books.
Coming to the present, I have so many friends, and they all love me. I feel so blessed to have them in my life. I never thought that I’ll have so many friends. They are a big part of my little world. When you have friends, you don’t have to manage anything. I still experience those hallucinations, but now I have few people whom I can give a call without giving a second thought and I keep ranting. They lend me their ears and they are for me no matter what time it is and the best part is they don’t judge me. That’s how things get managed automatically. And the love that my family gives me helps me get through tough times. Nothing can beat their love.
Q. Thanks Neha. It’s wonderful to hear about your support system, really. I hope it always be there for you. As you told me, you’re one of the stronger pillars in your family. Any occasion where you actually got to utilize that hidden strength?
A. I was born with a silver spoon but time has its own games. Time changed, things fell apart. We faced so many downs, not once but thrice. Though my dad is the strongest person I’ve seen, I saw him getting weak a few years back. I won’t be able to tell the occasion, but think of a person who became rags from riches.
It was a financial and emotional breakdown for all of us. My dad lost all hopes, moved to a new place, no job, no morale. That time, every single penny was valuable. I myself was completely lost, soon I got back to my senses, tried to motivate dad. I dropped my B.Sc 1st year, tried to get some job, any job.
Getting job was not easy, thinking about the situation at my home haunted me, yet I kept my head held high, tried. Worked hard. I became the man of the house. Later, I was able to bring my family back to normal, but those 4 years I was struggling with myself. I had no clue what to do, working in daytime, studying in nights, pretending to be happy in front of all, helping dad to overcome his emotional breakdown, taking care of mom, doing every little thing I could do for them and then feeling lonely, helpless and shattered in sleepless nights.
Damn, if my family would have seen me crying and broken, they would have lost all their hopes. I did what I could do my best. I faked all my tears and smiled, that made my family believe in me. And now, I’m their strength. I had to be strong for them, that made me stronger.
I left my only dream to join the defence services, willingly, because my family needed me. No one was there to take care of my mom, I had two options: keep chasing my dream, join defence (to some extent I was close enough) or leave it and make myself available for my family. I chose the latter, crushing all my personal aspirations, leaving everything else aside. I am proud of my decision. One of the toughest decision it was and I am never going to regret that, ever.
Now I can face almost any problem or time.
Q. I feel very proud to know so much about you, Niharika. You’re strong, very strong. Never let anything or anyone shake that belief of yours.
So, wanderer, huh? Tell me the top 5 places on your list you want to visit and why?
A. I’m a wanderer. A wanderlust!
Firstly I want to explore India. There is so much to explore and visit in India. My list is very long when it comes to visit places in India.
Leh Ladakh: Every biker dreams to visit this place. And I love to ride bikes. Who would not love to visit a serene, calm and beautiful place like Ladakh? Those lakes, treks, monasteries, they all pull me towards them. I want to live this trip.
2. Banaras: To explore the ghats of Banaras. Because these ghats are so beautiful. Experiencing those Aartis and prayers on ghats, a boat ride along the calm banks. Damn, Banaras has always been on my list.
3. Kasol: Because mountains calling! I’m a mountain person, I want to travel solo to this place and come back with a bag full of experiences of a life time. I’ve heard a lot about this place and yes, the Parvati valley.
4. Andaman: Because of corals and Scuba Diving. It’s a paradise.
5. Paris: Eiffel Tower. Only reason that an international destination is on my list.
Rest, I love India; so many places I’ve explored, so many left.
Q. Oh, wow! Surely a lovely list. Keep me posted about your trip plans. I might tag along, haha. Now the big question, how did you start writing?
A. As I was a lonely girl, I had a friend, my diary. I started writing when I was in 7th Std. It started with few nano-tales and one-liners. Later, I wrote a narrative essay which made me famous among my teachers. That was the time when I realised that I can write well.
That essay was, “And he never turned back to look at me”, I still remember when my English teacher and all the other teachers appreciated my skills and asked my dad to feel proud of me because I was so good in expressing emotions. He was happy to know this and said, "Well done".
I left writing way back, while I was busy in carrying my responsibilities. Two years back I met a person. Later we became friends, rather very good friends and then I came to know that he himself is a very well read person and is too good in writing poetry. Never thought that meeting him would bring me back to the world of words. I started writing again and most of my writings are dedicated to him. Or you can say, he inspired me to write again. He motivates me and appreciates my work.
Q. Oh, that’s wonderful! Well then, what is the most fulfilling thing about writing? How seriously do you take your writing?
A. The most fulfilling thing about writing is self-satisfaction. Writing is the most soul-satisfying thing that I have ever done. I write for myself. I write what is in my heart. Honestly, writing has made me a better person or I must say a whole new person. I now have new perspectives about life, emotions, people, situations. It has polished me. It helps me express what I always failed to speak.
For me, writing is directly connected to my heart. Hence it is a serious thing for me, it will always be. It’s straight from heart and it means a lot to me. I cannot imagine myself without it. While I was all alone, writing was there. It was the only thing that acted as a vent to my emotions that were bottled up deep down in my heart. So it is something I’m never going to leave. You see, I speak a lot but I am not good at influencing people with spoken words but writing has given me a way to reach mind and heart of many people. I owe my writings to a person I call Olaf.
Q. That’s great! I thank Olaf too, then. Where do you get your story ideas from?
A. “What’s a writer without its Musing!?” The answer is - Nothing. I get my story ideas mostly from experience. I observe deeply. As I already told, I use my heart more. And those who deal with heart can feel the depth of emotions easily. That is what gives me ideas. My write-ups are more about love, heartbreak, sadness, failure, struggle, tears, darkness, loneliness, frustration, loss. I’ve experienced these. All these are etched in my heart and I also know of many, who had similar experiences. Whatever life gave me is reflected in my stories. My posts are mirror to my heart.
I’m more into poetries though.
Q. Same here. Poetries are wonderful. Now, the biggie. What’s the story behind your pen/blog name?
A. My Pen name is ‘निहारिका: a lost wordsmith'. There is no story as such behind my pen name. I’m as mysterious as my name, haha. Niharika means nebula. Nebula can be described as an indistinct bright patch or a dark silhouette. Just like the nebula, I’m unique in my own ways and I’m lost in my own oblivion of thoughts which adds to my ability to string words together.
My name is written in Hindi because I love Hindi more. Hindi is Love. <3
Q. Yes, you’re very unique. And Hindi, yes, it is love. What hooks you to YourQuote?
A. Those amazing people. They are family. Their love, support, appreciation, motivation and help is what keeps me hooked to YQ. All the fellow writers and readers are the reason I’m active here on YQ. Everyday, I learn something new. I get to read amazing and beautiful write-ups here. Reading good stuff posted by my fellow writers enlightens me and encourages me to write well. YQ is fascinating, user-friendly platform where people are always ready to help. Thank you Harsh and Ashish for creating a platform like this.
Q. We all do serious stuff but now, tell us the most amazing story of your life.
A. I have so many travel stories since I’m a solo traveler. And all my stories are amazing. Yet the best one is my Rishikesh trip in 2016. We were 10 of us, not even knowing each other and we were linked to each other indirectly. Three days road-trip was so awesome and memorable that I’ll always cherish those moments. Travelling, camping, rafting, taking photographs, making friends, creating memories and what not. The best group trip so far. I never had any clue that this trip will become a trip to remember. And I would like to say that I love each and every person I met in that trip.
Q. Ah, so lovely! Here comes my next question: If there is a novel based on your life, what would you name it?
A. Icarus- without the Sun.
Q. Wow! Now, let’s go a little technical. How has your career/study impacted your writing style?
A. Both have a deep impact on my writing style. Firstly, whatever I learnt during the time of my studies had major impact. My thoughts, my visualizations, my vocabulary, my writings are all because of it. Secondly, I’m a medical professional. I meet so many people on a daily basis from different parts of world. My profession has helped me in learning and observing people, their emotions and their behavior. I learnt so much from every 3rd person I met. So my writing style is same as that of a layman who is not so good with fancy words. I pen emotions straight from the heart. I fail to use magnificent words; what I scribble is just straight from my heart and raw.
Q. That’s wonderful. Evidently, you write amazing. So, what is the most important thing for you in a story?
A. It’s the emotions. A story is nothing if you can’t feel the real emotions behind those words. Without emotions, you cannot reach the heart of a reader and if you can’t reach there, that story is nothing but meaningless words.
Q. Ooooh! In that case, which book do you wish you had written? *glitter in eyes*
A. Pride and Prejudice and Gone with the Wind.
Q. Amazing. I’m sure YQ would love to read your version of the above titles. If there’s one thing that you’d want to change about your writing, what would it be?
A. Nothing as such. I write in a very simple way and that is what I love about my writing. But I really want to improve it a little by widening my perspective and improving my vocab. I’m not a good writer, I just scribble and I want to change that one day.
Q. Great, I’m sure it’ll come with time. Who are your favourite writers on YourQuote?
A. This is the question I was afraid of, haha.
This place is full of so many talented writers that my list became long. I joined YQ because one of the writers by name, Vinay Krishna, whom I was following outside YQ joined it. That’s how I got to know about YQ. I’ll always be thankful to him for introducing me to YQ indirectly.
Coming on to my favourite writers, they are Saket Garg, Mayanka Dadu, Abhilekh Dwivedi, Kalpana Pandey, Jehan B Kothari, Aishwarya, Sakshi Garg, Prasoon Vyas, Ramya Kumar, Piyush Mishra, Saurabh Pratap Singh(Agyani Baba), Prem Kumar Chanda, Sakshi Vashist, Varun Kumar, Shubhi Khare, Sai Manohar, Khawaja Musadiq, Abhinav Nair, Mahathi Anand, Ayushi Dauneriya, Bharath Nandibhatla, Jhelum Anikhindi, Debashis Sarmah, Ayena Makkar Girdhar, Oindrila Majumdar, Satish Chandra, Ayman Jamal, Piyush Saini, Manish Bansal and Bhavesh Bhargava.
Personally, I love the work of few very talented people. They are Pooja Singh, Sourabh Acharya, Satyam, Umang Nathani, Kanksha Gupta, Pradeep Chahal, Shaily Arora, Himakshi Tarde, Shrey Saxena, Shivani Wadhwa , Nidhi Garg and Nobby Uttam.
Q. I’m honoured, Niharika. Thank you. What has been the greatest personal discovery for you?
A. That the charm of every relation fades away with the passage of time and blood is not always thicker.
Q. I hope people read between the lines. If we might know a little more about your personal life, what is your favorite possession? Share a picture and add 3-4 lines.
A. Favorite possession is time I spend with dad. That’s the most important thing for me. I’m nothing without him. I love him the most. He is my strength. My favorite person on the earth.
Oh! That’s a beautiful father-daughter duo. Thank you Niharika, for your time and patience and most importantly, for bearing with me and answering these questions. It was lovely to talk to such a strong lady. Wish you all the best. More power to you.
Here are some of the best quotes written by Niharika:
Read more writings by Niharika here.