Author Interview – Sneh Thakur

From Kuwait to India via refugee camps; from being a Brand Manager and winning awards to now writing short stories by the beach and photographing the mountains, Sneh Thakur has lived quite an exciting life.

I got talking and digging for more about this beautiful, chirpy and multi-talented lady.

In a nut shell, tell us about Sneh Thakur.

I would best describe myself in 6 words as: Pint Sized Rapunzel. On a Cloud.

I’m 29 years old, born to a Rajput father and a Malyali mom – so dinner conversations were never dull! With 6 years of a career in FMCG under the belt in various leading FMCG companies in roles ranging from Sales, Business Intelligence, Innovation and Brand Management, I’ve travelled and explored India in a ‘real’ way which is one of the reasons why I love my job. My life-long loves have been of music that moves- U2, the lyrical quality of Jim Morrison and reading – A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry being my all time favorite.
Is it true that you made your way to India travelling across refugee camps? Looking back, is there an experience you’d like to share with us?

I was born in Kuwait and spent the first decade of my life there. When the Kuwait war broke out, the NRI community had to leave the country under difficult circumstances. It was at that point that my parents, who had every luxury in the world, had to bring me (then 11 years old) and my younger sister back to India. The journey involved travelling from Kuwait to Jordan on a long bus journey and camping as refugees in the deserts of Amman, Jordan till we got to safety and were flown into India. I believe in seeing the brighter side of life and remember an incident – it was midnight and the light from an innovatively created lamp (cottons wicks dipped in the remaining sardine oil from canned foods) lit the tent we were in and my sister and I spotted for the first time in our lives a Scorpion in the sand and almost picked it up. Thank god mom was close by! We all have a good laugh about “Deepti (my sister) and Sneh’s adventures in the desert” now.
We also read about you selling candy on the streets of Howrah. Could you elaborate that account?

My first assignment in the corporate world was as a Management Trainee for a major FMCG Confectionery company. I was based in Kolkata and as a trainee was expected to go through the learning ropes in Sales (due to which I am a better professional today). The first step involved starting from the scratch and seeing how “field sales” was done – so we could in time become better managers and leaders. This involved going to the market with boxes of candy and making sales calls – almost 55 to 60 shops a day. It was an amazing, tough experience but I must say that the shopkeepers in Howrah were very kind and generous and a smile was often enough to convince them!
Would you like to share, with your readers, your tryst with writing?

My tryst with writing started as a teenager when I’d keep a journal and play out with great drama my life, my friends and my angst at times! But in recent years I found myself turning to it very naturally as a form of self expression in blogging, notes, short stories, flash fiction and poems. In the corporate world you draft out oodles of memos and presentations every week, and I guess all the quick typing practice had to find a more creative outlet!
Tell us about your stories in “Down The Road”. What brought about the ideation?

I have written 2 stories in “Down the Road”. The first one is called “The Café with No Name” and is set in a Parsi café in Mumbai. When Ahmed Faiyaz of Grey Oak offered the opportunity for me to contribute, he mentioned that the tales had to have a campus connect. “The Café with no Name” is an off beat campus story revolving around the protagonist Dinshaw, a Parsi Café owner and the unlikely friendship that develops between him and a student who visits the café. As a student at SIBM, Pune I often used to travel in Pune and Mumbai for unique culinary experiences. This story is inspired by many a gastronomic delight!

The 2nd story “Fresher” is set in Indore and is about a spunky girl from Delhi who lands up there and her experiences in settling in to her new life from school to college, a different city, being a fresher and dealing with the challenges presented in a brave, resilient way. For me, this was an important story to tell as I know of many young kids from cities who end up going to smaller towns very different from their cocooned city life and getting bogged down by ‘seniors’ and ‘introduction sessions’. For me the ideation on this was to inspire young college goers to be who they are and not worry about the rest.
An exciting weekend for you would comprise…?

Since this is an fantasy question, I’m gonna have fun with it, so let me pick my favourites from all the cities I have lived, worked in:

A play with Naseeruddin Shah  at Prithvi Theatre, Lunch at one of Bandra’s world class restaurants; Endless conversations with friends; the rain in Delhi, the smell of the scented earth after and an evening walk at Lodhi Gardens, and perhaps a boat ride and barbeque in Muscat, Oman!
Read her stories in Down The Road and see the talent of this real Pint Sized Rapunzel. On a Cloud.

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