MANASI PATIL, a class 10 student of St Paul’s Convent
High School, Mumbai, is a regular contributor to RobinAge,
author of two books and panellist at several national and
international events. She tells you more about her journey
from being someone who regularly lost competitions to
becoming a motivational speaker.
To create a change, be the change: this has been my life mantra ever since I was old enough to understand the world. I am passionate about a lot of things, especially those that boost my creativity and productivity. Among those, writing, reading and researching are, by far, my favourites. I began writing when I was about four or five years old, my ideas rooting from the bedtime tales my family narrated to me. I began making up my own tales and then I wrote short silly poems. I was always eager to share these poems with my father since he fosters a similar interest in poetry. I wrote what I felt, I wrote what was happening and I wrote about seemingly insignificant things in the eyes of the world. But most of all, I read. I’m a huge bookaholic and when I say I sit with a book for hours, I mean it in every sense.
I remember in 4th grade, my mother used to drop me at school at 12pm, half an hour earlier than the actual school time, as she had to rush to her job as well. In that half-hour, I would take a pen and some blank sheets and sit on a platform by the school building writing stories. I was often so absorbed that my friends could easily read over my shoulder, something that I didn’t like back then. At the end of that grade, I had so many stories stacked up! Sadly, I barely have any left now!
I participated in every event that my school arranged, except dancing (I like to dance, but mind you, only when I’m alone!). And I hardly won half of those. I participated in elocutions in English, Hindi and Marathi (all three languages our school taught), mono-acting, fancy dress, singing and the list goes on. My mother motivated me to push myself. She never saw my losses as failures. Instead, she encouraged me even more to participate and learn. I practised my speeches until my brother had them memorised and until, for my family, it was just background noise in our comparatively small house. I was determined to not sit back and let my failures define me. And so, I participated. I kept going, my efforts shining each new time. The confidence I never had suddenly became a part of me and as I grew up, I began seeing the results. One of my primary teachers also contributed to my skills. She had almost never-ending patience and she has fostered my confidence to a significant extent. But that was it. Though I was reading, writing and giving speeches, I never thought of writing a book. Still, I always made sure that I grabbed every opportunity that came my way, or rather, I made sure I was going out hunting for opportunities, because opportunities seldom knock at your door; you have to go grab them.
So it seemed natural when, during the 2020 pandemic, I went after an opportunity I saw by instinct. I began writing the first draft of ‘The Cousins’ Crime’, which, at that time, was not supposed to turn into a book. I’m not sure why, or what, I was writing either. But write I did. And after a few weeks, the first draft of my debut novella was completed. I had no idea what to do further; I was a deer caught in the headlights. After many days spent researching, I found that I can ‘self-publish’ my book and I went after that. The feeling when my book was listed on the Amazon page was surreal. Simultaneously, I wrote my second book, ‘Why Ignore Them?’, which is non-fiction. And then, the journey began.
Since I had started from absolute scratch, I had nothing to lose. I literally rediscovered myself and a huge part of this is thanks to my parents. The moral support I always have from them boosted me to face rejection after rejection. I started sending my work to magazines, having no clue about the right way to do it either. But I learnt. And now, more than a year later, I’m proud of what I’ve become. I see myself as a leader, a strong person and a confident girl. I’m always open to learning, from my successes and my mistakes. I discovered that experience, patience and resilience go a long way in shaping your dreams. And that once you start on something, keep at it, for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is always worth striving for.
Today, I’m the founder of ‘My Thoughts Are Stars’, an initiative that aims to uplift, invigorate and fortify the dreams of youth around the world, an author of two books, a freelance book reviewer, a contributor to RobinAge, board and core member of several organisations and a fervent STEM researcher. I conduct workshops in schools, give talks on leadership and am a panellist at several national and international events. I am strengthening the base of my mission: empowering Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha. I believe that everyone has magic in them. The magic to own who you are and the magic to write your story. The only thing you need to do is to flap your wings and take off