Girl Made of Gold: My Interview with Author Gitanjali Kolanad & How Your Path is Made by Walking
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The-Inspired.com.
For our subscribers and regulars to the site, a quick note that I've been on hiatus the past few months working on another path of my own, a writing project that is coming together, and connects us in a way to this featured interview. Stay tuned for more on this, and plenty of new The-Inspired articles and interviews, coming soon. But for now, I'm very excited to present another inspired interview.
Inspired Interviews: As a reminder, at The-Inspired we interview inspired minds from around the world with the goal of helping our readers understand and tap into the tools, tactics, and habits of those interviewed to help you reach your own personal goals.
A moment of thanks: Before we get started I want to thank Gita again for the opportunity to connect with her on the topic of writing and I am forever grateful for the guidance she's provided me personally. And I am also filled with gratitude for the signed copy of her latest book!
NOTE: For lovers of mystery and thriller fiction, I hope you all purchase your copy today! If "Girl Made of Gold" is not yet available yet where you live, free free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll see what's possible.
My Interview with author Gitanjali Kolanad on her new book, "Girl Made of Gold"
"Thanjavur, the 1920s. One night, the young devadasi Kanka disappears and, as if in her place, a statue of a woman in pure gold mysteriously appears in the temple to which she was to be dedicated. Through the story of Kanaka's disappearance, Gitanjali Kolanad gives us a beautifully realized world - of priests, zamindars and devadasis, and of art, desire, and their dark reverse sides. Girl Made of Gold is a mystery, thrillingly told, and also a moving human story of the pursuit of love and freedom..."
I recently had the privilege to interview Gita and discuss what it is that makes her tick. What is it is that helps her set big audacious goals, like writing a novel, and what she sees as something more valuable than goal setting.
Gita also shares some of her favourite authors that helped change her life.
Definitely worth a read. I hope you enjoy!
1. Gitanjali Kolanad - What is Your Story?
This quote from the poet Antonio Machado best expresses my life experience: ‘Traveler, there is no path/The path is made by walking.’
Simply, it is the story of starting down an unconventional path and continuing to walk it.
I went to a dance school in South India almost by accident. I didn’t really decide to be a dancer. My muscles and bones grew into it through practice, and suddenly one day I realized, ‘I’m a dancer.’
I kept dancing, when other more talented students stopped and got ‘proper jobs’. That too was an option for me because of lucky circumstances of birth and education, but it also required my own determination to keep going without much encouragement or reward from the outside world.
I loved dancing so much, and eventually, at a certain point, I was able to make a career out of it.
It seems like my writing happened in the same haphazard way. I started writing and kept doing it until I’d written a book.
2. Tell us About your new Novel and How it Came to be? How Can Readers Get a Copy?
My novel ‘Girl Made of Gold’ came out in August 2020.
As you can imagine, given that I didn’t really know what I was doing when I started, it took me a long time, nine years. It is a murder mystery, set in the world of devadasis, women who danced in temples in South India at one time.
It is the world from which the dance form I practiced, bharata natyam, emerged, so I enjoyed doing the research, and I was able to use my own experience of being a dancer to bring the characters to life.
At the moment the novel is only available in India. Here’s a link to it at a
wonderful independent bookstore in Bangalore, Champaca Books
3. If you could select one piece of advice that the world needs to listen to, and bring to reality, what would it be?
I’m 66 years old now, and Covid 19 completely took me by surprise.
Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
So my advice is not ‘Expect the unexpected’, which we are not able to do, given the myriad ways the world has to surprise us, but more ‘Don’t take this moment for granted’, pay attention to it, whatever it is.
"Don't Take This Moment For Granted, Pay Attention to It, Whatever it is."
We realize now that they’ve been taken away, how precious they were – the hugs, the family gatherings, the enjoyment of performances in the company of others – but these moments are precious too, of solitude and life slowed down and without too many distractions, and we shouldn’t wait til they’re gone in a post-Covid world to savour them.
4. What is your Secret Ingredient for a Happier and More Fulfilling life?
It may seem really mundane for a secret ingredient, but it is walking. Walk. I think my best thoughts while walking. I can’t write without walking.
Henry David Thoreau felt that unless he walked four hours a day he couldn’t possibly survive.
I feel that if everyone walked, maybe not four hours a day, but at least one or two, the world would be a better place.
And like Thoreau, I’m not talking about walking for exercise, which of course it is anyway. I’m talking about walking as a way to allow thoughts to formulate and rise to consciousness.
If I sit in a chair and try to think of something to write, my thoughts are stale and boring, but the thoughts that come to me while walking are ones worth writing down.
5. What is the best advice you can give to realizing and achieving your goals in life?
My advice is to find ways to be more process-oriented rather than goal-oriented.
To me, it’s always seemed that if you attached more importance to and derived your sense of satisfaction from the process of whatever it is – dancing, or writing in my case, but it could be anything, cooking or gardening or writing code, the goal and whether you achieved it would become less important.
You’d be so involved and wholly concentrated on and enjoying what you were doing that something you achieved through that process would become a bonus, something extra, but not the main point.
Goran Yerkovich: Gita, I absolutely love this advice! This act of aligning towards the process of what you're doing, and not the final goal itself, is for me the power of FLOW. Discovering it, nurturing it, and allowing it to become part of our everyday lives is such a crucial, yet missing element towards deep fulfilling happiness. In fact, understanding this concept, and living it, is one reasons I founded The-Inspired.
For more on Flow, Optimized Flow, and helping you find, or rediscover, your own passions in life, and live them each day, checkout our Category page dedicated to Inspired Flow.
Bonus Question: What one book, author, or mind has helped you towards reaching your goals in life.
It’s so hard for a life-long reader like me to pick just one book, so I’m going to mention four, but tell you only a little bit about each.
The first is ‘Finding Flow’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which gives the science to back up my advice in the previous question.
Then, I recommend Paulo Freire ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, because what we respect and nurture as a society should be creative intelligence, not just information gathering.
‘The Gift’ by Lewis Hyde is about creativity, but not as self-expression, as expressing something beyond your ‘self’.
And last but not least, ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ by Betty Edwards: it really did change my life, because as I went through the exercises, I realized that the problem was not that I couldn’t draw, but that I couldn’t see.
And learning to see is a skill applicable to any and every area of life.
Thanks again for reading!
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-Goran Yerkovich, Founder & Author of The-Inspired.com
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About the author - Goran Yerkovich is the founder of The-Inspired.com, an online magazine designed to help readers reach their personal goals. The-Inspired includes some of the best tools, tactics, and habits from the greatest minds of today and yesterday. Goran lives in the greater Vancouver area with his wife and two cats Kimchi and Kauai.