Neha Raja is a professional tarot card reader, a counsellor and a social activist. She is a confident and determined individual that broke the stereotype that ‘academics shape out futures by persevering in extra-curricular activities throughout her school life and succeeded in several competitions and contests. Neha Raja’s main goal in life is to prove all those wrong who belittled her and make her parents proud through her work. She believes in channeling all the struggles of life into creativity and has been turning challenging times into works of art for a while now.
Neha Raja speaks to Storiyaan about her journey in the world of art, dance, tarot card reading, spirituality and much more. She also shares her experience with struggles and obstacles that came in her way and how she overcame them with resilience and a creative heart.
Questions and answers
When did you have the first exposure to your creative side?
Ever since my childhood, I was different from others in my peer group. I have always wanted to become someone creative; and I believe creativity comes from vision. It has always been my aim to showcase my creativity to the world and explore the creative side of things.
What impact did the pressure of not being good at academics have on your health and habits? How did you hold on to your optimism even through a time like that?
When I was schooling, co-curricular activities were not a big part of my education. I always felt pressured to be good at academics and was teased because I was not. This stressed me out and resulted in me over eating and sleeping. However, I soon discovered my creative side to recharge myself through dancing, acting, singing and more. Creativity is my energy ball and it makes me work for my passion.
Talking about mental and emotional health is still a taboo in our country. How do you believe we can eradicate this attitude?
I believe that expectations and fear are the reasons behind the trauma we face in life. We must know we can always approach experts to speak about such issues. I believe that to eradicate the taboo around mental health, parents and other adults must be supportive and kind towards children. Children must be encouraged to follow their passion and be true to themselves.
Do you believe dance helped you to express yourself and what you were going through emotionally? How did it make you feel when even that was frowned upon by people?
I always stood first at dancing in my school; it’s like meditation for me. When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be an actress and people around me started criticizing me for not going to school daily but arriving early only on days when there was a dance program. I always wanted to prove that “those who are not good in academics can achieve other things in life”; and I think I’ve done just that.
At what point in your life did you find your tune to spirituality?
My mom is a spiritual artist; so she has been the guiding force for me. She’s the one who always led me to the path of spirituality. I got into spirituality when I was 16, and things have never been better.
What was the initial attitude towards the idea of spirituality and how did it evolve with time?
I was always curious to understand spirituality; so I listened to my mother slowly and keenly. Taking little steps at a time, I started evolving. I realized that spirituality helps you understand your purpose in life.
What do you reckon it was that gravitated your focus towards tarot cards?
To describe it in one-word, it would be “creativity”. When I first saw Tarot cards, I resonated with them, they clicked my soul. I believe reading Tarot cards is my god-gifted talent, and that’s what gravitated me towards working in this field.
Apart from the internet, what other research materials did you go through in order to develop a full-fledged understanding of the art?
I learned Reiki healing and also the concept of 7 Chakras candle, which is a form of meditation for my clients. I did lot of meditation and reflection on each tarot card to know more than what is readily available on the internet.
You achieved what you dreamt of at a really young age. How do you plan to expand your art so as to reach more people?
I have two YouTube channels and a website where I provide tarot services. A platform like this is very convenient if used well and can reach a plethora of people.
When you first started tarot card reading professionally, what were the challenges that you faced?
When I got into the profession in 2017, I didn’t charge my clients a single penny for my services. This began to make me feel low and drained out. This was when I realized that I need to start valuing my time and effort. It also dawned upon me that I should not feel guilty for asking clients to pay for my services, and that’s when I started practising tarot card reading publicly in 2019.
How do you deal with a client who is reluctant to believe in your potential? Could you tell us about one such incident?
I always ensure that my client feels satisfied with my reading and come back to me. There is not a single time I’ve had a clash with them. But, there are a few relatives, who ask for my service and then make fun of the same without paying.
Apart from counselling and tarot card reading, you are also a social activist. Could you perhaps provide us with an insight of the same?
I started social activism in 2019 when I visited an old-age home on Valentine’s Day. That’s how it all began. Post that, I organized programs for underprivileged kids, street dwellers and more.
If there was one thing that you could go back in time and change, what would it be and why?
Well, I would change nothing at all. Everything I have experienced has molded me into what I am today. Basically, I was all worth it.
a. Favourite place that you have visited till date. – Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir
b. Best Past-time – Exploring myself
c. Anpara or Ahmedabad? – Ahmedabad
d. Greatest inspiration? – Sai Baba
e. One celebrity for whom you would like to read tarot cards. – Amitabh Bachchan