Saguna Shah is an educator, dreamer, traveler, and writer of varied dimensions. Kathmandu Tribune nudged her to talk about ten things.
Here are the excerpts:
1. Who is Saguna? How has she evolved over the years?
A child carefully disguised as a responsible adult. Naïve, vulnerable, confused, misunderstood, yet fiercely loving, passionate, independent, a strong and sure individual in some other way. Like every other individual who has a personal and professional front, I too am split into multiple layers caught between how others see me and who I am. Having said that, I am a reflection of my inner being which doesn’t need any pretensions. Over the years, despite being gullible, I have evolved as a person with strong roots and wings and a person whose gut instincts have seldom failed.
I am also learning to let go of grievances and have been more embracing in nature.
2. Can you tell us about your travel diaries? If you were to reborn who would you be and why?
I do not consider myself to be a person who has traveled extensively but the little that I have, and will have lifetime memories to keep. My travel to Europe with my best friend is perhaps the most special time I bought for myself and the very little dreams I always had. It was in the year 2011 when we traveled like two tramps to several countries. The majestic panorama, the facades, the fountains, bridges, lighting, the couturiers, the street lamps and the canopies were amazing. This trip not only gave us the lone time we sought discovering the new places and life but also taught me the value of money. Until then, I had never had to share my meal to save money, refrain myself from buying the stuff or doing things that I wanted to. Not being able to take the gondola trip in the city of masks ‘Venice’ will always make my heart ache. Apart from that, there were silly travel blunders and the heights of it were to have missed the world famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting Monalisa that hung inside the Louvre. One of the best moments of the trip was being in La Pere Lachaise, the cemetery in which Jim Morrison rests in peace. It was like a dream. As a greedy nomadic voyeur of the six countries that we traveled, I observed the cultural differences, their conventions, prejudices and the haughtiness the West carried. Whether it is trekking through the lush green trails of the remote valleys in the country itself, driving across the plains and the hills of Nepal or city hopping in the scorching heat of India or Thailand, traveling has always been amusing. More so because I get to see life when I travel.
If I were to reborn, I’d rather be born as a bird for the free spirited individual that I am or as a fish for the depth I want to measure.
3. Name your five favorite books and authors.
It is extremely difficult to pick just five: Books: My Name is Read, Of Mice and Men, The First and Last Freedom, Timepass- The Memoirs of Protima Bedi, The Bridges of Madison County. Authors: Orhan Pamuk, John Steinbeck, Haruki Murakami, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Suketu Mehta.
4. In a rainy day, what would you like to do?
It depends on my state of mind. In my bluest of blues, I would smoke away from my anguish and pain and get myself immersed in books and coffee sips. I could simply snuggle inside my bed or drive off to the nearby hills. Though, I’ve never done that I’ve always wanted to get completely soaked in the rain, just like that.
5. Do you enjoy teaching?
Immensely. I am passionate about it for I get to be not only an educator but a counselor, mentor, a mother and friend alike. Besides, I also get to understand the temperament of the youngsters, which is helpful in strengthening my bond with my grown up boys.
6. What would you tell your 20-year-old Saguna?
Let your destiny not be decided by others. Your life is not an apology but a statement.
7. How do you see life and the world?
Transitory and impermanent. Life is a series of pull back and forth, life is to be lived, loved and something to be involved with passionately so that we see ourselves truly and eventually open ourselves to joy without seeking change in the world.
8. Will you write books in future?
I always contemplate why people would want to read me. But if I ever do it then it will be either memoirs or travelogues.
9. If you’d get a passport to travel the world for free and without visa where would you go? What is traveling to you?
Lost in between the sunrise and the sunset, delighted at the prospect of a new start with every new dawn somewhere something that waits to be explored, I would put on my vagabond shoe never to return back only if I weren’t emotionally connected to my loved ones.
10. What’s the most important thing to you right now?
Love and compassion primarily for myself and inner sense of well-being.