Meet Ritika: The mysterious girl who loves to read Shakespeare; to-be-doctor and a passionate writer.
Our teammate and writer Prem caught up with Ritika Nagpal, one of the most active writers on YQ. This Delhite tells us more about her life, inspirations and writing. Read on.
Hi Ritika! :) Describe yourself in 1200 characters (250 words) — Imagine writing a tiny autobiography.
Hey. First of all, describing Ritika in 250 words is an arduous task. A million words could not describe her, yet, ironically, a single word which one could use to portray her is "mysterious". A doctor in the making and a carved wordsmith to be polished, I'm an extraordinarily ordinary girl with messed up thoughts and a genuinely "Dilwali" delhite. It is a matter of pride to call myself an Indian girl, whose mother has taught her to follow the religion of humanity prior to any religion. I'm a stubborn girl with a "statistics are more pliable" philosophy. I may be bad at handling certain relationships, but I'm a good human and I try not to hurt people intentionally. Shakespeare and the Law of Karma fascinate me more than the Newton's Law of Motion.
Being a medical student with food in your veins is another challenging as well as captivating task. The unfolding of the bare human soul spellbounds me. *Note - Ritika is too much possessive when it comes to books, wardrobe, chocolates and humans.* I'm brought up in a typical Punjabi environment - 5 grams of butter on a single Paratha and 10 minutes of dance in front of the mirror whenever over-excited.
Sandeep Maheshwari, Team YourQuote and my parents are three of my greatest inspirations who motivate me to live, not just breathe. I want to inspire people too and glue to their horizons so as to prevent their worlds from collapsing. My motive is to become a lifeguard (as a doctor as well as a wordsmith.)
What started you with writing? Since when you have started to write?
My maternal grandfather (Dr. Ram Dass 'Nadar') is a renowned Urdu writer and mother is fond of writing too. You can say that poetry is there in my veins. But actually, I started writing when I was in 3rd standard. Our school organised weekly house challenges and I tried writing a poem on the topic "Moonlight". My friends and my teachers appreciated the poem and so I became the star writer of junior team. That piece of paper on which I'd written my first poem was a precious possession but unfortunately I've lost it. But never mind, I'm having better words to be knitted, at present. Secondly, 4 years back, my English teacher nominated my name for an inter school Group Discussion. She believed in me when I'd stopped believing in myself. To my surprise, I won the first prize. That was the time when writing was no more a hobby and it transformed into a passion.
Who are your major influences?
Each and every person in my life influences me. Ironically, none of them does. Life is like an ocean. You'll find ships and boats after every mile. Some boats will withstand holes and the others will be carrying life guards. You have to learn the act of swimming and at the same time, you should know how to drown. You have to learn from every incident, it may be favourable or not. But the tricky part is that along with learning, you have to stay firm and stick to your decisions and leave no scope for regretting.
Yet, if you ask for a specific name, I'll take the name of my parents.
What writer do you detest?
It is very easy to criticize a writer or his choice of words. But the fact is that not everyone can write. You need sufferings, experiences, tragedies, incidents etc to smith words. We are no one to judge. What may be amiable for me, could be disagreeable for somebody else. Sometimes, I may not like some of the phrases used by some writer, but that doesn't give me a right to act like a judgmental hypocrite. Every writer is good if you are able to satisfy with your own words.
What books do you read and who are your favourite authors?
I like reading the romantic shit which Ravinder Singh writes and I like reading horror stories too. 'Twilight' was one of my favourite series when I was 13. Vampires are fascinating. Right? I am an admirer of Pablo Neruda for his 'The book of questions'.
Another secret which I would like to reveal is that my favourite novels are Durjoy Dutta's If it's not forever, it's not love and Till the last breath (Though half of the people in my contact list detest Durjoy). These two novels are quite relatable and the climax would leave me with tears whenever I read the them.
What is the most fulfilling thing about writing? How seriously do you take your writing?
The most fulfilling thing about writing, umm... this is a tricky question indeed. I think it is expressing your emotions on a piece of paper is a convenient way of expression. Writing is a sorted thing. Whatever I write remains confined to three of us - Me, my pen and the paper.
Frankly, I don't take my writings seriously. For me, writing works like Crocin. It is a refreshing task for me and my headache vanishes while writing.
Ah! Recently I have noticed in the YQ app, you have come up with a penname for you- The Wingless Peahean. What's the story behind it?
Actually, I wanted to change my pen name to "The pug-less bitch". Kidding.
Ahan! The story. Okay so, A peahen who is devoid of wings is no more a peahen. Basically, the idea behind calling myself wingless is that I've rendered my wings to my words. So now, the peahen won't be flying anymore, but her words and her writings will be flying and the whole world will be watching those flying words.
Look, I've got wings, even if I haven't.
How are you managing your studies and writing on YourQuote?
Writing one liners or poems or quotes is not time taking at all. Random thoughts give rise ravishing quotes. While travelling in the metro, I come across so many people and their actions make me think and gradually I sketch my thoughts on a paper. A special thanks to YQ because I'm able to write anytime and anywhere and I don't need to search for a paper and a pen anymore. Time management is not an issue if you are willing enough to continue the writing part along with professional studies.
What is your advise to the fellow writers?
I strongly advise my fellow writers to write original stuff and let it remain a pious platform. A rotten apple rots the whole basket. It is a request to maintain the dignity of the platform. That is the greatest we all can do for YQ. Wishing good luck to all.
What hooks you to YourQuote?
Firstly, it's the YourQuote family. There are more writers and less stalkers. People here know you and respect you because of your writing skills, unlike other platforms.
Secondly, YourQuote Baba (YQBaba). Though he's resting in the lap of Himalyas since the day I've joined YQ, but the concept of YQ Baba is fascinating and user friendly.
How did you come to know about YourQuote?
Tanmay Sharma urf ‘insanets’ is one of my schoolmate. He is an appreciable writer and I'm very fond of his writings. While scrolling down the news feed, I discovered that Tanmay has posted something with a hashtag #100dailyhaikuchallenge. I noticed a watermark of YourQuote logo at the bottom of that wallpaper and so I asked about it. That was the first time in 14 years when Tanmay and I had a good conversation. I'm really thankful to Tanmay for making me familiar with the app which has now transformed into a lifeline.
How do you find YourQuote different from other writing platforms?
a. Fascinating wallpapers could be used. Best part, I can use my own wallpapers, from my gallery.
b. Genuine, sensible writers exist, providing a friendly environment.
c. Daily challenges encourage to write more.
d. Writers like Deb, Harsh and Parag help you to polish your grammar and vocabulary.
e. Everything is perfect.
So since you are mysterious girl, tell us a mysterious story that happened to you. :P
Mysteries should be resolved, not revealed. You'll come to know about it someday, maybe.
If there is a novel based on your life, what would it be called?
I would like to entitle it as, "The uncaged". I believe in freedom - Freedom of speech and expression, freedom of thoughts, freedom while performing any activity or for that matter, freedom in any sense. All you get is one life. You do not need to die daily so as to die one day. If you want to laugh, laugh a loud without hesitating. If you want to cry, cry without any fear of questions. Let the crowd mock, let the dogs bark. You are the king of your own world and the queen of your own universe. You are a bird, maybe winged, maybe wingless. But, in any case, ‘uncage’ yourself from the shackles of being questioned or being mocked.
So have you read Shakespeare? Which are you favourite plays and do you see yourself in any of the characters from the plays?
An obvious answer for this will be Julius Ceaser. You can call me a female version of Ceaser because I'm the one who usually gets stabbed by the close ones. But there comes a difference between Ceaser and me; I don't die out of the attack but my experiences make me stronger and inspires me to understand the game of life and study the strategies opted by players. Every heartbreak gives me a lesson.
'And she's stronger than you know,
A heart of steel began to grow.'
I'm going to ask this: are you a foodie? (Wrong question to a Punjabi you may say :P). What are well known dishes comes to mind right away? :D
Yes. You are right. I'm a big foodie and I think Punjabi's have spices in their blood and excitement in their lunggggssssss!
Dishes? Umm. Typical punjabi style spiced up Rajma-Chawal are on the top of my list. Rest, I can think of burger, mojito, paneer tikka, paneer butter masala, kadhai paneer, shahi paneer, chap paneer, channa mereya (Oops, I mean channa paneer), this paneer, that paneer, paneer hi panner (because I'm a vegetarian).
And how can I miss my favourite one? SARCASTIC PANEER. <3
Sandeep Maheshwari, your parents and YourQuote, I would love to hear from you how these have been inspiration. :)
Shall I narrate the whole incident?
After my board exams, entrance exams followed; my life became a messed up wood. I never knew which path will lead me to success and it was really hard for me to choose a career. I'd never wanted to quit writing and I was not humble enough to let go the white coat.
One of my friend Mansi sent me a link of Sandeep sir's video and I watched one of his video. The content was really motivating and his philosophies were phenomenal. So, I went through more videos and he inspired me so much that I was ready to face any obstacle in my life, courageously.
I was confused between the allopathy and the homeopathy streams of medicine and I knew I could not face cadavers frequently. Being a girl with a coconut heart, which is as soft as a rose petal inside, I decided to go for homeopathy along with scribbling. Later I came to know about YQ, as I told you earlier, and to my surprise, Harsh Snehanshu, the co-founder of the app was an engineer.
'He writes so well', I thought to myself.
'If engineers could write, then why not doctors?'
And you know where I stand today - answering your questions.
Coming to my parents, my dad has fulfilled all my desires, besides the necessities. Both of them are really cool and they've always supported me in every scenario, be it writing or anything else. Happy me, because my mom and my sister proudly share my writings with their friends through their WhatsApp groups. My dad daily asks me 'Aaj ke challenge ka result kya raha?', and smiles if my name is there in the list of winners.
Who are your favourite writers on YourQuote?
'Mai apni favourite hu', and yours too. Right, Prem? Haha.
Frankly speaking, all the writers on YQ are equally marvelous. It's not a diplomatic answer but genuinely all the writers have some or the other ideas running in their minds, only thing is the difference is marked when it comes to the choice of words. But yes, I would like to take several names - Anupma, Sneha, Prem, Sukoon, Jehan, Anuup sir, Tanmay, Harsh, Ayena di, Satty, Deb, Sachin, Himanshi and a few others (there are so many names) are family.
How has your career/study impacted your writing style?
If you have noticed, many of my writings have some terms related to biology. For e.g. veins, blood, gustatory cells, menstruation etc. This is all because I'm trapped in a vicious circle constructed by the field of medicine. Also, many of my posts mention the word "mother" because there's an important subject - gynecology which we come across and it greatly influences our minds and mindsets too. We come to know about the sufferings and sacrifices of a mother. So, there is an essence of biology in my writings which is quite justified and acceptable. Moreover, me and my best friend Nitya, try to smith the words related to biology and weave random shayaris, which is an amiable task for us.
Your writings have unique perspectives. Where do you get your story ideas from?
As you know, we get a word for writing the daily challenge. Keeping that word in my mind, I try to look around and sense the presence of that particular word. Substantial evidences let you write better. I try writing relatable content, in simpler words, so that it is easy for the reader to feel the words, rather than just reading'em. I don't wish to be called a writer, call me a wordsmith instead.
What is the most important thing for you in a story?
The most important element for me in a story is its essence. A story could be dealing with romance or humour or horrifying instances, but it should imprint on reader's mind. The way a writer moulds the story is the way his destiny moulds his name. Delivering the content should be the true motive of a writer. If one is able to deliver his/her thoughts, believe me, he/she is UNSTOPPABLE.
Which book do you wish you had written?
I wish I was the author of 'Till the last breath.'
If there's one thing that you'd want to change about your writing, what would it be?
I like myself the way I am. There are times when I'm able to deliver my thoughts using correct words but there are times when it becomes hard for me to choose the appropriate words. It is all a foreplay of words and I think maybe Ritika could fail in the expressing her thoughts, but 'The Wingless Peahen' won't. One should be this much confident in order to portray the phrases on a filthy piece of paper.
In fact, if anyone likes to suggest some changes, the suggestions are welcomed (it should be devoid of sarcasm, because sarcasm burns more than concentrated hydrofluoric acid).
What has been the greatest personal discovery for you?
It is said 'The day I discover who I am, I'll be free'. I'm aware of my potential and my weaknesses and I know how to knock myself down in order to upgrade myself. I think I'm almost ‘uncaged’.
Maybe, yes. "Almost", I already said.
What is your favourite possession? Share a picture and add 3-4 lines.
Here you go. :)
My sister, best friend, mother, father, cousin and niece (Left to right)
They are loveliest scary people ever! :P
Here are some of Ritika’s best writings; most of them have made it to Hall of Fame as well, on the app:
Click here to read more writings by Ritika on YourQuote.