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‘Fit In, Stand Out, Walk’: A captivating anthology that both inspires and entertains

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Every human’s life is full of lows and highs, and some of these innumerable events of life create a more colossal impact as compared to the rest; and while joyous memories are difficult to forget, what is even harder is to put behind us, the moments and events which caused us distress or sadness. But there is something even more difficult than this as well- revisiting these bad memories and recollecting the pain they caused you.

Having done exactly this, author Shalini Sheth Amin has written, ‘Fit In, Stand Out, Walk: Stories from a Pushed Away Hill’. Coming from her own journey as an orphaned child in Mumbai to an award-winning sustainability warrior, Shalini’s new book is a collection of heartfelt stories told through Neelima’s eyes taking through her life’s ups and downs and striving to find her footing in a world that’s always changing. From nothing to inherit and no one to inherit from, these stories share the grit and conviction of women to build their own legacy and pass on more than the material wealth.

In this anthology, her tale inspires all, even those facing their toughest moments, leaving a lasting impact on the power of relationships, love, and grief. With a unique and fresh perspective and a personal voice, Fit In, Stand Out, Walk is perhaps a meaningful contribution to women’s storytelling literature which delves into topics such as identity, isolation, and survival, crafting a rich narrative that spans across generations and geographical boundaries.

Shalini, a versatile professional with a background in architecture, community projects, and finance, focuses on promoting energy efficiency, sustainable practices, and heritage conservation. She advocates for sustainability, fair trade, and crafts, through her writings and social media presence. As the Founder and Senior Partner of MORALFIBRE, she leads impactful initiatives in these areas.

‘Fit In, Stand Out, Walk’: A captivating anthology that both inspires and entertains -

Shalini Sheth Amin

In order to know more about Shalini’s life, and how the same was turned into a book by her, Sonakshi Datta of GoaChronicle asked the author a few questions.

Neelima’s journey in ‘Fit In, Stand Out, Walk’ is inspired from your own; how was the experience of walking down the memory lane and expressing your own life journey in words?

For years, I have been told by my dear ones that I should write. I am seen to be a bit different; there is an interest. I was preoccupied working with my social enterprise, MORALFIBRE – that promotes artisanal, sustainable clothing and fashion brand and other projects. It involved exploring new initiatives with changing times and needs with artisans, managing good outcomes, and spreading awareness. This was keeping me busy in the last few years.

It was not easy to spend hours digging deep into myself, to have a sharp sense of self-scrutiny, and to have the guts to be naked, honest, and objective. Sometimes my mind would reproach; isn’t it selfish to spend hours looking at myself and my life? Isn’t this self- indulgence? The inner conflict between living and working for the here and now and delving deep into the past never got resolved. Hence the years of delay.

What part of your life journey, while you recounted it, made you want to relive it; and which was the hardest to revisit and write about?

Like everyone, life has been a cycle of highs and lows. In spite of difficult times, I felt that I had a little source smile within me and a little nudge would bring that out. There were many happy moments with family, me as a child and with my children that I could re-live again and again.

The most painful, lasting memories were the death of my mother when I was nine years old and few years after that. I did not have the courage to face it even at the time. The only way I could cope was as if nothing had happened and I tried to behave like all was normal. The pain of that loss has remained with me.

How does ‘Fit In, Stand Out, Walk’ offer a fresh and unique perspective for its readers?

My family was different, though very much grounded. It is fair to say that I started my life from a hill that was pushed a little away from others. This distant hill, made me see the pathways that others may not have seen, or walked upon. These stories are told, as seen from this different hill. The dynamic as well as difficult choices I made are many times because of the amazingly inspiring women role models I had, old and young. These stories are important and need to be told.

What are some most important topics that your new book touches upon?

The events and experiences in the book touch upon social and personal realities. It talks about issues rarely discussed; some may find them controversial. They include stories of abandonment, adoption, illegitimacy, migration, isolation, depression, sexuality, relationship abuse and their complexity in contemporary life; the choices made and their consequences.

When wokeism and victimhood cultures are growing in some communities, this story is about the challenges to explore and discover the moral fibre within us; a story of self-determination, survival and living for a larger vision. This tale is narrated with joy, humour, pain, loss and courage, and their many shades told with intimacy and honesty.

What makes your new release a ‘must-read’?

The stories are told with courage and honesty. It talks about issues rarely discussed; some may find them controversial. This book may encourage a much-needed dialogue about identity, isolation, depression, sexuality, abuse and self-search.

With a unique and fresh perspective and a personal voice, this book excels as a feminist story. It is down-to-earth, intimate, and honest to the core. A bold and meaningful contribution to women’s own storytelling literature.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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