BLW: Let’s welcome the successful Indian author Shama Patel to Book Lovers World. Shama is a Psychologist and an Author of a recently launched book titled ”21 Ways of Being Happy”. She is an empathetic soul with a creative mind and a beautiful heart which has touched the lives of many young adults, couples, senior citizens and several others who she has met in her journey of life. She has also helped various alcoholics, drug addicts and survivors of abuse and human trafficking in their healing process.
Shama Patel: Thank you so much for those kind words. It is my pleasure to connect with you over happiness :).
BLW: Firstly, congratulations on the grand success of your debut book ‘’21 Ways of Being Happy’’. Tell us a little about yourself.
Shama Patel: Thank you for your wishes 🙂 About me! I love spending time with nature, reading books, listening to music, writing, painting, sketching and exploring varied facets of my Being. I am a seeker, an altruist, an artist, a speaker, a Psychologist and an Author. And the search continues! 😉
BLW: We know that you are one awesome writer. Tell us about your book 21 Ways of Being Happy, what it means to you, and how did you conceive the idea of writing on a topic that still seems to be a riddle to most of us? How long did it take to write this book?
Shama Patel: Haha Thank you so much! I am humbly flattered 🙂 ’21 Ways of Being Happy’ is my journey of understanding and knowing life from a less intimidating point of view. It encompasses the knowledge that I have managed to gain about human life through my personal experiences and that of my clients’.
we are created out of happiness
and this remains our core.
The idea of writing on this subject came from my publishers Grapevine India who were venturing into the world of self-help books. What they had in mind was writing the ways of finding happiness and what I was determined to write was on the barriers that we all, as human beings, build around us to keep that happiness away. When I began to write this book, I did not perceive happiness as a mere feeling but, I believe that as human beings, we are created out of happiness and this remains our core whether we believe it or not. What we do in the journey of moving forward is that we keep adding one barrier after the other (the reasons to be unhappy) and blur our creation. In this materialistic race, we constantly struggle to become someone else and abandon our true self. When I understood the concept of embracing the ‘self’ and began practicing it, I saw the difference in the way I perceived life before and after. When I embraced myself with all my flaws and imperfections, I began to fall in love with my life and this gave me courage to withstand the challenges that I encountered in my life. Since it made a positive difference in my life, I became more determined to reach this concept to others with a hope that it might make them feel less threatened and less burdened about life.
It took me three months to write this book 🙂 Usually the writer begins the home work after getting the subject. However, in my case, I had the home work done beforehand and was later presented with the subject.
BLW: 21 Ways of Being Happy is a self-help book and a perfect healer of murkiness in life. We would like to know the home work you did to write this book.
Shama Patel: I lived my life through ups and downs and began an inward journey to grow as a person. I also assisted fellow human beings deal with their life situations, through Counseling. I consider this as my homework, a homework that I did (and still doing) not with the intention of writing a book but, with the intention of spreading goodness within and around.
BLW: What inspired you to write this book?
Shama Patel: Writing/Book was a medium through which I could reach out to numerous people at a time, unlike Counseling where the reach is limited. The 21 ways mentioned in my book have tremendously helped me in my personal life and have equally benefitted my clients all throughout. Hence, I was almost compelled to share my journey and reach this out to as many people as possible 🙂
BLW: What was your learning from writing your book?
Shama Patel: I learned that writing is a profound creative process. It is a way to connect with self and the creative Universal force within and around. If a person writes thinking of name, fame, popularity (post publishing), the person is bound to be surrounded with critical voices reminding the writer that the work may not be good. When one connects with self and considers writing as a process of self-discovery, being both the writer and the reader in the process, the writing that comes out then is purely from the heart. This learning helped me grow not just as a writer but also as a human being.
BLW: 21 Ways of Being Happy deals with psychological aspect. Would you be sticking to one preferred style and genre in future?
Shama Patel: Since I have signed the contract to write self-help books, the genre would be same. The style is something that I would leave it to time and the creative forces 🙂
BLW: When do you write the most? Is there a favorite place at your home or office where you write the most? Any props that you feel lucky to keep with you when writing?
Shama Patel: I am a night person so my creative forces become active usually after 10-11pm and I often find myself writing till 5-6am. I have a piece of (instrumental) music which I play sometimes, especially at times when the creative forces decide to go on a break.
BLW: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Shama Patel: Hahaha. I was a completely different person then! As a child, I wanted to be an Air Hostess, a Fashion Designer, Interior Decorator and/or have a career in Hotel industry (hotel management). All these because people around me said I would be good at it and it seemed ‘cool’ then!
BLW: What are your inspirations?
Shama Patel: ‘Life’ is, and will always be my inspiration.
BLW: What books have inspired or influenced you as a writer?
Shama Patel: The Forty Rules of Love (Elif Shafaq), Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse), Miracles of Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hanh), Practicing the Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), Eat Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) and many more.
BLW: We would be happy to know about any future projects that you are currently working on?
Shama Patel: Currently I am eating, breathing, sleeping and walking ’21 Ways of Being Happy’. Once I feel that the book is now settled in the Universe, I will begin the second book which will most likely be on relationships.
BLW: What other secret skills do you have?
Shama Patel: Secret skills!!!! I am an artist 🙂 I love to pencil sketch and play with colors.
BLW: To be a good writer, one should be a good reader. We know you enjoy reading books? What are the best books you have ever read? Name any five.
Shama Patel: The Forty Rules of Love, Eat Pray Love, Shantaram, Siddhartha, and Stillness Speaks. I am tempted to list down many more!
BLW: What advice would you give to all those aspiring authors who consider you as an ideal?
Begin the journey of writing by writing for yourself.
Shama Patel: Firstly, I wish to express my humble gratitude to all those who’ve appreciated my work and encouraged me on this journey. My only message to all the aspiring authors is – Begin the journey of writing by writing for yourself. Connect with your writing and become aware of the ways it helps you grow as a person. Connect with yourself before aiming to connect with readers. To me, that is when you become your words rather than being the one who writes these words.
BLW: Message for the book lovers in this world!
Shama Patel: Embrace the life in you. Fall hopelessly and unconditionally in love with your ‘Self’. When you fill your heart with profound love, you begin to spread love and happiness in this Universe by just being YOU!
Thank you so much for your time. It’s our pleasure to chat with you…