Hot Seat – Simar Malhotra

Simar Malhotra
Entrepreneur & Author

My Conversation With Simar ….

Simar Malhotra
Entrepreneur & Author

Simar Malhotra is the founder of Inkpot India Conclave and a young writer of two teen novels, ‘There Is a Tide’ and ‘Tides Don’t Cross’. Her penchant for language took her to Stanford University, where she studied English and Public Policy. Having been born and raised in India, Simar’s always been socially inclined. The seeds for her stories also stem from some sort of injustice that she saw in the world. Although she doesn’t expect her stories to solve those problems but hopes that they can initiate a conversation around them and strike a small chord with some readers.

Along with short stories and novels, Simar is also dabbling with a story on Instagram, which she thinks is a novel platform for storytelling.

Growing up reading Enid Blyton and Judy Bloom, Simar realized that her character role models never looked or talked like her. She could recognize Van Gough and Picasso’s works, but when asked about Indian artists, the only one she could name was MF Hussain. It was through these gradual recognitions that she realized that Indian art and literature were never emphasized to her, or, for that matter, her friends.

This led to the inception of ‘Inkpot India Conclave’, an attempt to revive a sense of pride in the arts born in our country. Arts don’t only serve the purpose of entertainment — they educate, change perspectives and reinforce beliefs. They are an integral part of our cultural identity and by changing the conversation around these can one also influence perception and thought. Inkpot is a movement; it hopes to ignite young India to participate in a wave of acknowledging, appreciating and engaging with Indian art and provide tools to understand and access the rich artistry that lies here.

Simar Malhotra is the winner of the Bocock/Guerard Fiction Prize at Stanford University as well as the ‘Excellence in Authorship’ award presented by the Indian Council of UN Relations. She was also a speaker at the Young Author’s Session at Jaipur Literature Festival. She’s the founder of Parvaah, a non-profit that works towards building ecological and social consciousness.

How do you define yourself?
I’m a dreamer grounded in reality. My daddy’s little girl with a big ambition.

What is your philosophy of life?
I believe that there’s a weight-balance in life as well, that I must give back to that which has nurtured me and made me whoever that I am today.

What is your passion in life?
I’m passionate about driving change. We are in a world today where there is violence at every corner – against the earth, animals, women, minority communities. As educated people we have the privilege and the ability to partake in the battle against this violence and contribute positively to the society for more than just ourselves.

What would you like to say about your work?
That the end product makes the process look a lot more glamorous than it actually is. On a Monday, Inkpot saw a full house from 10am through 6pm and a star-studded speaker list. But achieving this entailed too many sleepless nights, arguments after arguments with colleagues, media controversies. There were many occasions that I wanted to quit but it’s all about persevering and following through.

The Business Leader you admire the most?
Indira Nooyi

Your Strength?
The ability to stay calm under pressure

Your favourite holiday destination ?
Jim Corbett National Park (I’ve been there over 18 times and I’m 22)

Golf or Bridge Or…..?
Monopoly Deal all the way

Formal Suit or Casual attire?
If only pyjamas were socially acceptable outside of bed…!!!

Your ‘mantra’ for success?
Haven’t reached a stage to assess this yet but I do believe in committing and following through. I think any task can be accomplished if you decide to stay true to your commitment.

Your dream ?
To be able to say proudly that I’ve contributed in some way to leading change in India.

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