She is my person. She has always believed in me, always pushed me to give my best and has always, always fought by my side. There are very, very few who would ever do that for you, and when you do find the ones who do, hold on to them like your life depends on it.
Apoorva Reddy is a wonder of a woman. My mom loves her more than me. My friends think she is cooler than me. And if you are her classmate at Carnegie Mellon University (OMG right!), then she would prove it to you again and again what it’s like getting your ass kicked.
Q1. What did a year and a half in the US teach you that a lifetime in India didn’t?
“Hustle hard. However, life is tricky baby. Don’t forget to stay in your magic.” When you hustle to bring inspiring people, creative ideas, and positive energies together, great things happen. I did not know if I was the same person in India, but America (through graduate school) helped me recognize my biggest strength—Hustling. I did not know this was an art or/and a skill that was valued until I got here. And, I can get paid to do it. Richard Branson says, “It would be foolish not to be an expert at your passion”. And he is rarely ever wrong.
Also, America made me more disciplined. I come on time 8 1/4 out of the 10 times, which you (especially) know is a sea change compared to how I was in India. I want to be the most disciplined (and kindest) person I know. That’s a high standard to achieve, especially when I know people such as you ( ref. Anisha Dhiman/Ray Ray).
Q2. What’s one thing that you feel is missing from your life at the moment?
I miss nothing in particular but I do remember some fleeting moments with the people I love. For example, my closest friends calling me Appeshwar, running for hours in silence with my running partner in Hyderabad (India), picking Siri, my best friend, from the bus station, our Coffee Cup sessions, having dinner with Isha’s family, sitting by the beach in Auroville to discuss life with a friend/mentor twice my age, mindless fighting with Sid, long and aimless walks with Taufiq. I guess I miss familiarity in my life. But mostly, I miss my mum and my grandmom. I miss them each day, every day. I miss their touch on my skin, their smell, their giggles. They are the loves of my life.
Q3. If you were to write a memoir, what would its title and message be?
She didn’t merely survive but she thrived. And she did so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. (Quote by Maya Angelou)
Q4. Your word for 2017 and why?
It was a close toss up between Balance and Courage.
After realizing my life can never achieve perfect balance, I decided on the word Courage.
Here is why:
On most days, I am capable of saving myself. But in one of the most grueling challenges (elaborated below) of my life, I allowed myself to be saved by my (Kn)ight in (Sh)ining (A)rmour a.k.a Knasha (pronunced Nasha—meaning intoxication in Hindi), a gorgeous white horse I met on a hike to Machu Pichu.
Knasha helped me through the steepest and toughest climb of the trek. During the climb and after, Knasha taught me patience, trust, and surrender. I had to trust her while she carried me along a one feet path up a 3,000-feet tall mountain. I had to be supremely patient while she carried me through the creeks, tough terrains and hard and slippery rocks. I had to surrender to her while trusting that she wouldn’t drop me off the hill, drown me down the river, or toss me in pile of slush. And not surprisingly, she did not disappoint. She gave me the confidence to have immense courage.
and most important, allow me to be saved.
It’s OK to be saved. I guess. No?
Q5. Your recent trip and what made it exciting?
Winter Break, 2016-2017
Pittsburgh>>Dallas>>El Paso>>New Mexico>>Houston>>Mexico City>> Lima>>Cuzco>>Lima>>San Francisco>> San Jose>>Boston>>Pittsburgh
In three weeks, I flew into and out of about 9 airports. Right from the beginning of the trip, I was sick with the flu. My body was screaming for rest, but I kept going and going. Pushing harder. Mostly because I did not have a choice.
The most exciting part was the 4-day hike through the rainforests to Machu Pichu. About 15 of us (from Netherlands, China, France, US, Ireland, Argentina, India) were hiking for 8+ hours a day at 15,200 feet, out of which 5+ hours were in the rain. We climbed through the Andes and walked through the jungles — crossing multiple rain falls and creeks, thousands of trees and millions of pebbles. My heart was throbbing and my breathing was uneasy. My shoes were wet on all 4 days. I could not shower for 3 days. It was the most physically and mentally challenging endeavors of my life. However, I never felt more alive, more grateful.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.