“Let your inner creativity flow through you and channel it into something you love and care about. The world is always going to be judgmental; you need to ignore it and do your thing”, says Anushree Bhattacharya, a blogger and a digital creator.
She is known to mesmerize the world with her open views and expressive fashion. A firm believer of body positivity and supporter of mental health, Anushree delves into a conversation with Storiyaan about her life, her beliefs, and values. She expresses her passion for her profession, gives us a glimpse of her brilliant childhood, and also talks about some of the major issues that surround today’s world and tend to push people into a dark trench.
Questions and answers
What was it about creativity that appealed to you and compelled you to explore your creative side?
I was very creative while growing up. I used to come with unique sentences for my assignments and would never copy sketches from the art-book, I was good at interpreting art. I was never the one to play by the rules. I always had my own voice and took my own stand and that is what stood out for me and helped me explore my hidden creative side in a better way.
As you have said that your school encouraged you to take part in the co-curricular activities to enhance your creative persona, how do you think co-curricular activities impact academic performance?
Co-curricular activities are very important in building a student and acknowledging their talents, choices, and area of interests. It is the school or the institute which actually builds our foundation, our potential and gives us a voice so it plays an extremely important role.
Computer science is a very technical field, and given your passion for creative exploration, why did you choose Engineering? Do you believe you could have explored your talent better had you chosen a more creative stream of education?
I was quite good in my academics, and I enjoyed all the streams equally. Like most students I was faced with the dilemma of choosing a stream after my boards. I don’t like to look back and regret because my engineering college has given me so much to be thankful for, it has enabled me to facilitate my passion and means to earn. I like to acquire knowledge and put it to use and I make sure that nothing goes to waste. There’s no limit to try new things.
You have been a very vocal advocate of body-positivity. Did you ever have to undergo any instance of body-shaming?
Body shaming has many levels and most of us go through it. When I was a teen, I didn’t wear body cons as I was very conscious about showing my body. People’s rude comments lead to anxiety amongst children. I have had a much better state of mind when it comes to self-love and acceptance. It bothers me that people still think that our physical attributes add to our personality and that they project their insecurities in the form of body shaming and trolling.
Tell us about the hurdles that you overcame in your journey towards self-love and how did its attainment lead you to its metamorphosis?
I think it’s a journey of self-love that I’m carrying all the while undergoing a beautiful metamorphosis. In these current times of social media influence, the physical connection is fading away and the advent of emotional trauma and anxiety has grown where we become critical of our own selves. I sometimes put unnecessary pressure on myself still despite incorporating self-love. I had been in a place of lack of self-acknowledgment and confidence and I’m still working on that part.
You have built a large community where people appreciate you for your creativity and you appreciate their genuineness. What are your plans for furthering this healthy bond and nurturing this community to expand in the future?
I’m so thankful that people love me for what I do. I’m so appreciative of the fact that there are so many genuine people that I’ve met on this journey. I set very short-term goals and this year I’m looking forward to building environmental awareness, body positivity, have a stronger voice, self-love, sustainability, issues that actually or things that resonate with me. I’m going to try and spread that awareness in my creative and artistic way.
Mental health is an issue that requires more public awareness, especially after the lockdown which rendered multitudes with depression, anxiety, and existential crisis. In your opinion, how do you think society as a whole can be brought under one umbrella to work for it?
I think society can be brought under one umbrella by just talking about it. We’re losing touch and keeping to ourselves. Most of us are bottling everything up which is ultimately resulting in clinical depression and anxiety. We have to grow that genuine bond with people and be a part of each other’s journey. As we’re growing, we have a sense of community, and nowadays we have to plan everything according to our convenience. We are social animals and we need people to share our loneliness with.
How did you find your calling for photography and what courses or training did you undertake to master the skills for self-photography?
I’ve never taken any photography course. There is so much content available online, I feel that if you want to learn something, you can delve into much deeper stances to learn it. I remember I bought a DSLR with my first salary and that is how attracted I was to photography. How I moved into self-portraits was because there was no way I could keep on asking my friends to come over given the pandemic. Wherever I am, I still consider myself a beginner and I’m learning it only through the free content available online.
Your Amsterdam Diaries have set realistic goals for both fashion and travel enthusiasts. Could you tell us the story behind capturing those perfect shots?
I love traveling and Amsterdam is so picturesque. Whenever I’m able to go out, I always tried to capture Amsterdam. I want to bring Amsterdam to my fashion story as well. To bring the essence of the Dutch, the Netherlands with the fusion of Indian tadka will be very interesting and unique.
Your YouTube video "Tips to handle social media trolling" comes from a place where you have been the victim of it. So before making the video, what were the conundrums that conflicted your mind?
I have been very vocal about online trolling and I was trolled as well because I wasn’t much featured within people. I have always been a supporter of constructive criticism but if you just want to insult me and want to demean my work and pass indecent comments then that’s not something I should put up with. People often tell me to ignore them but I believe in having my own voice. It can be hard at times but then I understand that people are manifesting their anger in me. The main thing is we have to have a strong point to communicate so that the advent of this decreases.
The poem "Khayalon mein" recited on behalf of your anonymous friend speaks about incomplete love. What is your take on love in the 21st century?
It was written by a very close friend of mine and I loved the way this poem was created. My take on love is that it makes life worth it. Any form of existence of love is important in our lives. It just adds meaning to our lives and makes us happy. I find romanticism in everything irrespective of the centuries. So, I think the definition of love will always remain the same for me.
Your zodiac-inspired Aquarius gown made with an organza saree is a sheer output of creativity. How did you conceptualize this look?
It’s very interesting because I wanted to do this and it’s a very long-term project. It’s not that I put a lot of pre-planning because most of the time I’m very spontaneous. I try to buy clothes which I can use in multiple ways. The organza saree which I had bought was so beautiful and airy, and so I thought of Aquarius which has the element of water and air. That was a thought process and I conceptualize myself into wearing and expressing it. I go with my instincts whenever I work on any of my ideas.
a. A saree for you is : Most elegant and multi-functional garment to ever exist.
b. Favorite travel destination : Spain, if I talk outside India. In India, it’s Kerala and Rajasthan.
c. One thing about you your audience does not know? : I’m a cry baby and an extremely emotional person.
d. Your inspiration? : My grandmother. She was a brilliant person. Other than that, in the design world, it’s Masoom Minawala. I admire her online persona.
e. Favorite designer : Sabyasachi