A black man beamed at us with open arms from under a banner that read “Welcome to Atlanta!”.

Interview with Niti Majethia

Niti Majethia is a 23-year-old international award-winning writer, editor and spoken word activist.  After growing up in Mumbai, India, she moved to America by herself to attend The University of Texas at Austin, graduating in 2020, with an upcoming marketing communications job starting soon.  

Niti’s written and published two books, Eunoia and The Battle Cry, had her work published in numerous magazines and publications online and in print, and had her words used by various platforms (such as her quote “Deep in your wounds are seeds, waiting to grow beautiful flowers”—which went viral on the internet). 

Her ultimate goal is to keep pushing her limits, accomplish something new everyday and grow as a creative. In her own words, “At the end of the day, I hope to be able to help people with my words in whatever way I can.”  I was lucky to be able to (virtually) talk to Niti about her journey writing, the difficulties of 2020, and more!

 

How do you begin the writing process?  Does inspiration strike suddenly, or do you have a certain routine, or is it something else entirely?

Truth be told, it’s been different for different phases of my life. Growing up, when I was in school, I’d write every single day, spend hours besides my school work just reading, writing, lost in my own world. That’s how I wrote my first book. But now—I’m writing a lot less frequently, however when I do write, my quality is significantly better. I think it’s all the nostalgia and experiences I’ve had with college and growing up that are paying off. When I worked for a magazine and then interned for a newspaper, I had to write and produce something whenever I was asked and on whatever topic they wanted—I couldn’t really wait for inspiration to strike. But now I’m a little freer before my next job starts and I only write when I’m extremely inspired. Especially with poetry, I think, you can’t force it—you can only write a poem that wants to be written and when it speaks through you. You can try to write whenever you set a routine, but you never know what direction the poem will take and how it will turn out. That’s the best part about poetry especially, the discovery and the way it flows and becomes what it’s meant to be. 

This past year (2020), you published The Battle Cry: A Little Book of Comfort and Strength.  How did this come to be, especially in the midst of a pandemic?  

The Battle Cry is a collection of some of my best poetry from the last 2-3 years. I was waiting for the right time to put out another book, something that represents my work today, because I wrote Eunoia (my first book) when I was so young and I have grown so much since then. I thought amidst the pandemic, a book of comfort and strength would be ideal because everyone was struggling so much with their mental health and being in quarantine. I had a different goal with this book though: I wanted it to be super thin, small and light, easy to carry around. I didn’t want it to have too many pages — I wanted the book to say a lot/be powerful using fewer words. That was a way I challenged myself. And the end product, as you know it, came to be The Battle Cry.

How have you all adapted to life during the COVID-19 pandemic?  How has your life and art been affected?

The pandemic has definitely affected my life immensely. I remember I was in my last year of college when everything began, and then all our classes shifted online. Because I lived on campus, they had to move me with all my stuff about 3 times..till I finally moved to the apartment I’m living in now. I have to move again in a couple days. It really uprooted me in some ways and I felt very alone and uncertain about the future. Also not being able to see my friends here or go back to India and see my family was hard. I live alone, so it can be pretty isolating. But I also feel like it really forced me to open my eyes and focus on what’s really important in life: the present moment. It was a reminder that no matter how famous or successful you are, or how accomplished you may be — if your health isn’t good, or you aren’t safe, or you don’t have people you love and care about..none of that matters. 

I do feel like my art’s been affected too, because it’s been such an unusual year and I haven’t met as many new people as I would usually. But rolling with the punches and getting through the pandemic comes with its own inspiration and lessons. And I also put together The Battle Cry amidst all this—so I can’t really complain. (smiles)

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?  Personally and work-wise? 

Personally, I’m proud of the way I’ve grown as a person the past 4 years. Moving to a whole new country on your own is hard, but it isn’t just the ‘coming here’ part that’s hard. What’s harder is to stay here, for so many years, without rushing back home (for me, India) every time there’s a crisis. Staying here, building your own network, being able to find friends like family, forging those relationships and connections—that has been my biggest achievement personally. Today I don’t feel like an immigrant—I feel like I belong here, and I can’t take all credit for that because I’ve been lucky to have met such amazing people every step of the way. But looking back I’ve grown so much and learnt so much, and despite the mistakes I’ve made, I’m happy with the way I’ve evolved as a person and grateful for the life I have built. Work wise — one thing that really stands out to me was being invited to share my words at a conference held by the United Nations, and also being eligible and approved to go to the United Nations Headquarters and meet so many remarkable people that are quite literally changing the world and the landscape of society. It’s an experience I will always treasure. Also having RAW Artists Agency find me through my Instagram and then becoming a performer for them. I’m also proud of the way The Battle Cry has turned out, it got reviewed by a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee (that’s on the cover) and I’m proud of the response it got. The love I get from my readers feels surreal. It makes me want to keep working harder and give back even more.

What does self-care mean to you?  How do you take care of yourself? 

Self-care means everything to me. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to create anything or write or even introspect deeply if I didn’t have that inner peace, voice and wisdom to draw from, and the only way to maintain that is to take care of yourself and to treasure your mind and heart, so you are relaxed and recharged enough to look at your journey and draw from your life experiences. 

My Faith and spirituality guide my life immensely, and praying everyday when I wake up along with just finding gratitude within, amidst every little thing really helps me cope with life’s ups and downs. I’m a Hindu and a huge Lord Shiva devotee. Besides that, there’s musicians and artists I really love that inspire me a lot, and indulging in their work is another way I practice self-care. Some of my favorite musicians are Quinn XCII, ayokay, Chelsea Cutler and Jeremy Zucker. I also listen to bands like The 1975 a lot too. I also love movies, tv shows and books, I love getting lost in the narrative of a cleverly woven story—it’s such an incredible escape. In America, spending time with my friends is another thing that’s very important to me because I feel like the friends I have here bring out the best in me and are also people with whom I can be 100% myself. When I’m back home in India, I like to spend time with my family and the family friends I have there. Connecting and bonding with the people you love is always a good way to take care of yourself. My website nitimajethia.org has a self care page with various playlists for different moods! They aren’t created by me but it’s a resource I wanted to share and keep available. The moods are fun and include things like “Eating fruit in a small Italian seaside town” to “Late night drives in a 90’s movie”. 

Thank you for such thoughtful answers (and I LOVE your playlists—they are so specific and fun)!  Here are some rapid-fire questions: 

Your go-to coffee shop order? 

A coffee frappuccino with sweet cream foam, almond milk and a caramel drizzle. But I’m on the cusp of trying Matcha for the first time. Let’s see how that goes. (smiles)

K: Any special or secret skills (i.e. wiggling your ears, etc.)? 

My friends say I have a really unique sense of humor—something I never really noticed in myself until I met them. But I guess it depends, because every person brings out a different version of you. I have a really sensitive nose and sense of smell — so I can’t eat anything smelly or super flavourful (like too much garlic or onions or seafood — but a little is okay.) Usually, I can smell even the most faint fragrance/odour. It’s kind of annoying. 

A tiny piece of advice that has stuck with you?

This is going to sound cliché, but it’s probably cliché because it’s true: take life one day at a time. If you feel like you can’t get through the whole day, just try to get through the next hour. Focus on the present moment and what you can do right now that will help push you in the direction of your dreams. 

Also always be kinder than necessary. You truly have no idea what someone else is going through, or what their life is like. If you have the opportunity to create an impact in someone’s life, let it be through your kindness and compassion. Be genuine, be happy for people, wish them well. This is something my parents have always taught me growing up and it’s stuck with me. It’s also helped me connect with people better and influenced the way I engage with others. We all have the power to make someone smile, so why not do it? 

What has been the highlight of your day today? 

I love this question especially because I’m coincidentally answering it on an important day. Today (March 11 2021) is Maha Shivratri, a special day in our calendar that celebrates Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. I went to a Hindu temple for the first time in Austin, Texas where I live. 

My friend took me and it was such a good experience. I’m someone that believes you don’t necessarily need to go to a temple to pray and be close to God, but today’s a special occasion so I really thought the effort was necessary. I cherished my experience — it was peaceful, wholesome and also reminded me of home. 

Anything else that’s important to you, that hasn’t been covered in the questions yet?

My family is also incredibly important to me. I’m an only child, my father is a stock broker and my mom is an artist and homemaker. Everything that I am, I owe to them. I’m very very close to them, and I’m also close to my grandparents. I only get to see them once or twice a year, because they live in India. But they’ve given me the world, and I really hope to make them proud. They inspire me endlessly. 

Niti, thank you again for sharing your work with us.  My final question is: what is upcoming for you and your work/art?  

I honestly have so many dreams and ideas I want to breathe life into! I’m always up to try something new like songwriting, writing lyrics (something I did a lot when I was a kid, because I love music) to writing for film/television.

I also want to continue to dabble in the magazine/media/publication space. 

I’ve now secured a good job that requires me to help with marketing and communications, something I’m also very passionate about and have been trained for in college. I’d also love to continue performing spoken word whenever I can. I have a lot of things on my list but I try not to over-plan my career, because my journey so far has been so organic and I’ve always found a way to do the things that were meant for me. I’m trying to take my own advice and take it one day at a time, but also balance that with hustling very hard each day and putting myself out there as much as possible. What’s meant to be will be, all I can do now is keep my head down and keep working hard. At the end of the day, if I’m able to inspire even just one person with my words, I’ll consider my job well done. 



Nitibottom.jpeg

Niti Majethia is an international award-winning writer, editor and spoken word activist.

At 23, Majethia is a published author of two books (Eunoia & The Battle Cry: A Little Book Of Comfort And Strength) available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She is deeply dedicated to the craft of the written word and has also dabbled in journalism/magazine writing and editing, along with winning three international awards for her work from Kidspirit Online.

Besides her experience working for publications such as The Austin Chronicle and Spark Magazine, Majethia has been invited to speak and share her work at various events around the world, such as the UNCSW Conference at the United Nations Headquarters in 2019, and at shows by RAW Artists Agency. Today, Niti’s words have been quoted on countless websites, blogs and other platforms. 

Niti’s journey is a result of her voracious passion and unapologetic hunger to create, tell meaningful stories, and use her voice responsibly and authentically. 

Niti’s latest book, ‘The Battle Cry’ is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Cry-Little-Comfort-Strength/dp/1543706754/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Niti+Majethia&qid=1615527870&sr=8-1

Social Media:

@nitimajethia_ on Instagram

Facebook.com/NitiMajethia on Facebook
www.nitimajethia.org for more information

Head Interviewer

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop