In conversation with Shashi Tharoor- The unseen and unheard by Aditee Mitra

By ADITI MITRA | August 6, 2018
Shashi Tharoor – a celebrated Indian writer, an Indian politician, a former international civil servant and a current Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram has never failed to charm young and old alike. His seventeenth book – 'Why I am a Hindu' was published earlier this year. Here we get to know about his life~ things he wanted to do but never did, his secret of writing and much more!
Aditee Mitra from Assam, a student of Gauhati commerce college recently caught up a conversation with the celebrated Shashi Tharoor ans below are excerpts of his talk with Aditee.
Aditee Mitra: Today when we utter the name Shashi Tharoor, it doesn't need an introduction though we get to hear the general introduction  in many events. If you you were to describe yourself in a few words, how would you do that?
Shashi Tharoor: I am just a human being with a number of responses to the world in which I live and the world I see around me and some of the responses show themselves in my work, beliefs ,writings  but it's still the same person reacting to different things around.
Aditee Mitra: From time to time we get to hear new words from you and that creates a web sensation. What is your inner reaction on this?
Shashi Tharoor:  I didn't start of intending to try and impress people with words but when I started saying things it turned out that some people unfortunately or otherwise found the words unusual. Afterwards it became a bit of a joke but sometimes I deliberately used unusual words just to stimulate some interest on the part of readers. But I am one of those who specifically agrees that communication is about being understood and what's most important really when you are trying to get some point of view across, is that you must reach the hearts and minds of the people you are speaking to.
Aditee Mitra: You have worked at the UN and right now you are an MP in India, but in between all these you have written seventeen books and a number of articles and much more. How do you manage to balance this?
Shashi Tharoor: This has two answers. One is that I don't sleep enough which is certainly  a problem and the second one is an answer which I borrow from American journalist A. J.  Liebling who said " I can write better than anybody who can write faster,and i can write faster than anybody who can write better. "That's why I'm am able to write.
Aditee Mitra: How are you preparing for the upcoming general election and how confident are you on winning it, especially in your constituency- Thiruvananthapuram?
Shashi Tharoor: Well, the thing is that at national level we have every reason to believe that the BJP has made a number of rational promises which they are unable to keep and there is a limit to  fine speech and rhetoric.Most people have actually suffered in the last four years. As a result we are expecting that the receptivity of the voters to our message will be much greater. Secondly, as far as my own constituency is concerned, I have worked as hard and sincerely as possible for my people's benefit and I have been present for every issue that has mattered in Trivandrum,to the voters of Trivandrum. I believe my sincere effort will be recognized on the election day. So, that way I am confident but one can never take any of these things for granted.
Aditee Mitra: Till date how was your experience with Twitter?
Shashi Tharoor: On the whole it's been a very good form to reach people and at the same time it also shows how easy things can be misunderstood .  But having said that I don't regret the fact that I was one of the early adopters of this medium and for any politician, any medium where you can certainly reach millions of people, will see this an asset.
Aditee Mitra:   When did you  first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
Shashi Tharoor: I think from a very young age particularly because I was an asthmatic child and at that time  there was nothing except books, no television in India, no computers and internet, no mobile phones. There was no other form of entertainment and I couldn't go out and play. So, I read a lot and when i had finished whatever was available to read, I would write a lot. So, I began writing at a very young age. I was blessed to have the encouragement of my parents who typed out my stories and circulated them. I could become a writer because people were enjoying whatver I was writing and appreciating that.
Aditee Mitra: What is it that motivates you to get out of bed each day?
Shashi Tharoor: I look forward to each day. Life is like a novel where you want to see what happens in the next chapter. So, i have to  wake up and find out!
Aditee Mitra:   Is there something you always wanted to do, but you  never did?
Shashi Tharoor: I wanted to play test cricket for India!
Aditee Mitra:   What is it that you want to change in this world?
Shashi Tharoor: A lot actually and the most important is to make a difference in whatever you do. For me,  it's not just as a politician but also as a human being. Everyday I am trying to change something.
Aditee Mitra: Where is your favorite place to write?
Shashi Tharoor: I write wherever i can. I write on planes, my study table, at home -in Delhi and Trivandrum. I write when I can squeeze out the time!
Aditee Mitra: What is the most important issue that you  feel should be addressed by leaders across the world?
Shashi Tharoor: Climate change is a major problem and unfortunately this is something which will transform the lives of future generation. So,  we should remember the famous proverb which says – "The earth is not ours, it is a treasure we keep holding for the next generation. "
In India there is an additional complication of pollution. It's all man-made and we must fix it.
Aditee Mitra:   How was our experience at Delhi University?
Shashi Tharoor:  It was excellent! I have learned a lot and the thing about University is that you learn both in the classroom and outside the classroom.  It's a vital part of growing up.
Aditee Mitra:   It's a sad question but  what is it that you want people to remember about you when you are gone?
Shashi Tharoor: I hope they will find that I made a difference in their lives and that I left an impact not just for myself but for all.
Aditee Mitra:   What's your message for the budding writers and for people who want to become like you?
Shashi Tharoor: The answer for both is to read more and to write more. If you read widely, you will learn a lot and also understand how good writing is. Also, writing is something that requires doing. In other words, through the the act of writing ,you become a better writer. A good writer is also a good reader.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Aditee Mitra is currently a student of Gauhati commerce college, Guwahati, Assam.  She is passionate about writing. She mainly reaches to people through the forum of Voice of Greater Assam and The Assam News. She loves travelling and discovering places and interacting with people.
The writer can be reached at

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