From Nagpur to Worldwide recognition, Dr. Amrin Khan is the world’s first Doctorate in Mirror Writing. Along with that, she also is the record holder of Mirror Writing in most different languages.
Like every great artist, she was criticized and shunned by the community but was later recognized and acclaimed at a talent show. Her achievements include a record in India Book Of Records, Asia Book Of Records, Miracle Book Of Records, 19th among Top 100 Record Holders of India and others.
In a chat with Team Storiyaan, the artist of reflection spoke about her unique journey and inspiration for her work.
Questions and answers
Can you start by telling us about the first time you had a reflection and wrote about it?
Well, I started writing in the form of a mirror image. As a kid, I wrote my first piece in English. Back then, my handwriting was very messy and unclear. I was punished for it multiple times.
In the next 3-4 years, I lost track of mirror-writing. However, in 4th grade, I developed an interest in it again and wrote secretly on the last page of notebooks. Till then, I had no idea that my writing would appear (flipped) in front of the mirror.
One fine day, I took my copy to the mirror, and, to my amazement, all that I had written showed up inverted. It felt unusual, and since then, I followed my heart.
You were thrown out of a convent school because of the way you wrote. You were even told to apply to a school for special children. Did that ever play a role in building you up, or did it temporarily put you down?
I was in a Marathi public school, and I never knew about the convent school thing. Once an uncle asked me why are you studying in a Marathi school while your brothers are in the convent? Aren’t your parents partial? I was clueless. I asked my mom, and she told me that I was not in a convent school due to my abnormality of not writing correctly, not understanding things clearly, and not studying. The teacher used to say this Laddu [used to be my nickname] is useless and does not just waste our time but yours too. They even suggested going for a special child school as they thought I haven’t grown enough mentally. When I heard this incident, I got demotivated and lost my self-esteem. I already had body image insecurities as I was an obese child. When I was too devastated my mom came up to me and told me that, “I never wanted you to know this, but now that you have known you need to prove everyone wrong. If you were able to do that, I would be the happiest”. That hit me hard. Since then, I started studying insanely, reading books, improving writing, learning more languages, and tried to be the best. This incident always stays in my mind before I start anything new.
Mirror Writing is quite uncommon. Did you receive any criticism for the way you write or pursue this art?
I had been scolded and beaten up so often until I forgot to write. In school, whenever I used to show this to my friends, they said it is useless and did not show any interest in knowing it. Teachers never appreciated whenever I used to write before them in class. Relatives asked, okay, it is different, but what’s the use of it. What will you get by this? Some even pointed out not to use certain holy languages in reverse form. It never got the recognition it deserved. In a felicitation program, when I randomly used the term mirror writing for my hobby, it was appreciated, and I got a lot of love and attention as they said this is something rare. I love doing this, and it is unique, and since then, I never looked back.
Do you plan on learning more languages than you already know, for mirror writing?
Yes definitely. If I learn any new language, I can immediately do mirror writing for it without even practicing it. And that’s how I hold the World record in mirror writing for different languages. As of now, I am trying to go for difficult scripts that are hard to write normally. I’m going to learn a few foreign languages and some ancient ones too.
You hold a global record of being the first person ever, holding a doctorate in Mirror Writing. How did it feel when you got the news?
While opting for a doctorate, I never thought I would make a record of being the only person. I just wanted to take a mirror, writing a step ahead. While in Vietnam, when the degree was being conferred, I came to know that I was the only person who has received a doctorate in Mirror Writing. Also, I was the youngest of all other record holders there. After listening to this, I had skipped a beat. I was awestruck and speechless for a moment and senseless for a while. My parents and near ones were on cloud nine. After getting my senses back, I was grateful.
You're still very young, free. You've achieved well and worked hard. What do you think the future holds, both for you and your art?
I am an optimistic person. I have not yet made a plan of what will happen next, but I have always taken a step ahead and always thinking of ways to improve myself. After winning Yuva’s Got Talent, I didn’t know what to do next, but someone told me that this is something no one has ever seen before, and I should try to go for the world record. Things were unbelievable most of the time, but they did happen. Finally, I achieved the highest recognition of doctorate, and the journey has been amazing by Allah’s grace. I’m working on copyright now, and it’s almost done. I’m writing ‘The Constitution of India’ in reverse form as I have been asked to write it. I have also received a lot of calls for taking mirror writing coaching, but I want to work and develop its proper way of study as it would be a revolutionary step. There are a lot of things unfolding, and I believe in the best. Insha Allah.
Can you talk to us about inspiration? What inspires you to write so differently, even then with lush handwriting? What made you also indulge in it?
I started writing on my own in this format, so I don’t think I ever needed the inspiration to write it. It is like breathing to me to describe it most simply, and you don’t need the inspiration to breathe. I like to write in reverse more than usual. A few years before, I discovered that Leonardo Da Vinci used to do Mirror Writing. All his research scripts were found unpredictable for more than 100 years. After knowing this, I felt special, as it differs from the crowd, and that somehow inspires me to do more in this field. People admire me and get inspired by my journey because of my ability to mirror writing.
You are a recipient of several awards, namely Youth Icon Award 2020, Woman Empowerment Award in Nagpur 2020, India Book, and Asia Book Of Records Holder, among several others. How did your parents react to these honors?
Initially, my parents weren’t very accepting, but later, they believed in me more than I believed in myself. They took me to the Talent Hunt show, and even when I was the last candidate enrolled, I won because they believed. They always motivate and help me to achieve more and more. The happiness in their eyes when I achieve something is immeasurable.
When a woman is decorated in society, she is often questioned, along with being applauded. When you look back at all that you've achieved, how do you process it against all the criticism?
I have been criticised for writing in reverse, as many people thought it is bad to write in reverse by a woman. But my family stood by my side always. I don’t get bothered now as criticism helps me scale new heights.
You also won a title at the Dainik Bhaskar Women Awards 2018. It is a very strong award in India, along with the newspaper. What does it mean to you and your family?
For the Dainik Bhaskar Award, my college nominated me after the date was gone. The final exams were on the same date, so my focus was on my exams. I didn’t know a thing until all the gift hampers, and prizes at my place told me the story. In that event, many dignitaries expressed their proud moments, along with our college Principal and other prominent personalities. My mom received the prize on my behalf. For me, it was one of the most special moments as in my absence my parents were honored. But my family never let anything get to my head. At home, I’m just a normal, silly, and mischievous child.
People often have their highs and lows. You've seemed to have quite a lot of lows. On days when the sun doesn't rise, how do you manage to cope with it?
I pray. Whenever I feel low, I read a lot of books, and all of them say that all answers lie within.
Talk to us about "Hobby To Identify." You're called the Mirror Girl. What does that title mean to you? Do you feel you need to live up to it?
It was my hobby, then it turned to my passion and soon, it became a talent, and now it’s my identity. Holding a mirror as a skill is worth more than looking through it to find outer beauty. The “Mirror Girl” Identity is something I live for. I want people to remember my name as ‘that mirror girl,’ and I want to create a revolution in this field of mirror writing by taking it ahead.
At 23, you hold a Ph.D. What message do you want to give to aspiring young artists who are deprived of society?
People who try to bring you down today are the ones who will believe in you tomorrow, only if you believe in yourself. Do things no one ever expected you to do and always be kind and humble to everyone.
Lastly, please let us know, who inspires you- considering your art and your life?
I believe in giving back to society, and I have been even awarded in 2020 as I am the youngest person who has donated blood for the maximum times. Talking about my life, I am a big Bollywood junkie, and SRK is my biggest inspiration. He is a superstar, and he is self-made, and that is something that inspires me a lot.