Roy T. Bennet said,
“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.”
In today’s #FridayFeature blog focusing on the #WonderWomen segment, we bring to you a woman who is the living embodiment of the above quote. She believes in empathy and lending a listening ear, so much so, that in her quest for it, she founded an online platform which is aimed at just that. Meet, Nandita Goyal, who is a Law Student and the Founder & Chief Editor of Humans of Surat; a platform where people’s stories, of success and survival, are shared. What was her motivation behind starting this page and how does she manage time between her studies and maintaining this platform? Let’s find out in her own words.
“I used to participate in Model UNs in high school which ignited this interest in research work and debates. This was later backed up by the fact that my mother is in the legal field too. So, the decision to pursue law came in. As for Humans of Surat, I had always noticed this attitude in people where they would presume to know each and everyone in Surat, except they didn’t really know people or their actual stories. I wanted to bring out the human aspect where I could show how there are multiple sides to a person. I love writing as well as photography. But, there’s a part of me that also loves human connections, where I like to know people on a deeper level, understand their struggles and dreams. Hence, I decided to put this all together and that’s how this page started; where I interview people and depict their personal stories in the form of a write-up.
I feel one of my biggest struggles is believing that I’m capable and good enough. I was a big-time nerd back in school. I always had my nose in a novel or was busy preparing for some or the other academic event. Then, when I decided to pursue law, I had to cope up with my school curriculum as well as my CLAT (Common Law Admission Test) preparation together. During my exam time, I used to give my IB boards on weekdays and law exams on weekends. I was mentally exhausted shuffling between current academics and preparing for future academics. Once I finally got done with all my exams, that’s when I decided to go forward with my page. The more I interview people, the more I realize that maybe my struggles aren’t that notable and that I can do this without complaining. Now, whenever a situation or a crisis turns up, instead of uselessly pondering about it and exhausting my mind over it, I go for a run or engage in some sort of physical exercise. You can say that maybe that’s my way of coping with it all. Sports have always been an integral part of my life. It’s a kind escape for me, especially football and running. Back in school, I used to aspire to be a footballer looking at my seniors and when we played nationals, I knew I loved this sport. Whenever I’m down or feeling low, going for a run, or playing football cheers me up no matter what.
There hasn’t been a turning point as such since I’m still working on myself. It’s a long process and I feel like there’s so much to do and I’m still lagging. One of the turning points maybe when I got accepted to one of the most prestigious law schools in India and especially when I saw people responding to the page and that too, positively. It felt like I could actually do this. It felt great to realize that I could do it all, my law studies, football, and managing this page. Suddenly, it didn’t feel so overwhelming and unattainable.
Honestly, my biggest motivation is the fear of missing out or the fear that I’m not good enough. I look at my mom playing it out so well. She manages family work as well as her firm and it’s amazing. There are times when I feel intimidated, or whether or not I’ll be able to meet up to her expectations, but I know that she’s a major part of my motivation. Take my dad as well, even when he’s been through so much, he remains kind to others. He has taught me to mind my business and keep smiling. So that’s what my motto is, to give my best in whatever I do with a smile.
For now, I just wish to try my best every day because I’m not sure whether I want to practice law or go into journalism. At the end of the day, whatever I do, my parents should be proud. That’s the end goal.
I’ve learned a lot during these couple of years. I’m a very jumpy person and that often leads me to make decisions without proper introspection.
After a couple of failed attempts, I’ve learned to take my time with ideas and think it through before putting it into action. I’ve started to believe that,
“As long as you remain calm, you’ll do good”
I just wish people would take out time to listen to other people and be kind towards one another. There were times when people have thanked me for merely listening to their journey and it touches my heart. Maybe at the end of the day, everyone just wants to be heard. So, why not lend that helping ear, because a helping hand might not always be enough.
To drop in a message to Nandita, or check out her page Humans of Surat, and read all the inspiring stories of people she has written about so far, you can follow the link below:
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