Aastha Dugar | #TalkbackTuesday

#TalkbackTuesday number 19 – with Aastha Dugar, and we talk about psychology, love and empathy, and being yourself.

Aastha Dugar | #TalkbackTuesday

Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday. This week’s interview is with Ms. Aastha Dugar. See her interview below.

Talkback Tuesday is a feature for and about everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person, and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.

1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?

I like to think of myself as an old soul, not in the pervading world weariness sense, but just in simple, believing in timeless love and power of our heart sense.

I am someone who’d prefer living for smaller things like an evening out with my best friends, devouring cheesecake, lame jokes that only I will laugh at, being in awe of pretty little things. Discovering and learning something new everyday – things I had no idea existed or could exist. A starry night, long walks, cups of coffee, the wind in my hair and the list is endless. I believe it’s the smaller things that make a picture wholesome.

Aastha's cat with socks | Aastha Dugar #TalkbackTuesday
Aastha is a crazy cat lady, minus the crazy part. She’s actually quite well-adjusted. The well-adjusted cat lady.

For now I am working as a psychologist, for that is one of my greatest passions. Ever since I was at the crossroads of choosing a path in life, I have been drawn towards it. My first understanding of the word, I remember, was this one particular definition, that it’s the study of human behaviour, mind and soul. Since that day I have never looked back or any other way and I have never ceased to be fascinated by over 80 billion neurons that never stop firing to make us who we are.

Psychology gave me insight into who we are and who we become.

I never realised when it became a part of me, allowing me to understand myself (and others), become aware of all my thoughts and emotions, even when they are the hardest most preposterous things to accept. It gave me insights to understand our being, who we are, who we want to be and ultimately who we become.

Apart from this, art is something that keeps me busy. I love colors and merely seeing them splash makes me happy.

2. As a psychologist, what would you say are the drawbacks of your career? What advice would you give to someone considering a career in psychology/medicine?

Well, this is something very subjective. To start with, mental health in India is one of the most underdeveloped and painful narratives. There is still SO much stigma and misconception at the ground level, it makes it almost impossible to get treatment.

And even if there is awareness, there is a lack of accessibility. For every one lakh people suffering there are only about 4 psychiatrists and even lesser psychologists. Sometimes people are driven to a miserable state.

Once, a mother’s first words to me after getting her son admitted were, “I hope he dies. Should I just let him die?”

The worst part was that there was no malice in her eyes. She was just being pragmatic. She was fed up and had given up. It is not easy to deal with suffering of the mind on a daily basis. It requires some godly strength on the part of caretakers and care-givers.

As for advice, I would like to say that listening is love and it goes a long way. Sometimes, all the client wants is someone to pour their heart out. Be kind and gentle while you listen to their stories.

I would also want the people who are considering this field to take care of themselves.

[I want them] to allow themselves a break once in a while, treat themselves with the same empathy and compassion as they would treat their clients.

3. You mentioned that you live for the smaller things. However, do you have any overarching long-term goals? For example, where would you like to be in 20 years?

I want to leave a footprint of love and empathy.

Hmm, well I am someone who believes that everyone has a purpose in their lives. For me, it’s doing my job well as a psychologist. I want to help people not only cope with their problems but let them become their own individual, reach their potential, their best.

I want to leave a footprint of love and empathy, within my circle of friends, family and even the strangers who cross my path. Oh, and I also want one of my art pieces displayed in a National Museum. 😛

4. How would you go about leaving a footprint of love and empathy? What do you think we as a community can do immediately to take a step in that direction?

If you think about it, all you really need to do to leave a footprint is love and empathise. And one of the simplest ways to do it is acceptance. Accept people with their perfection and flaws, with their shadows and their light.

The Awkward Yeti - Heart is Batman | Aastha Dugar #TalkbackTuesday
Even the heart can waver, Aastha believes. Do your best to stay strong.

All the differences among us are man-made and only we can remove them. Maybe it wont happen in a day, but we need to start making an effort. We need to see each other as equals, as people who have their own talents and abilities, people who make mistakes and people who forgive, people who can be really kind to each other.

We simply need to give each other the space to exist and be.

5. Great. Finally, do you have anything to plug? It could be a product you’re selling or a business, or it could simply be a song or words of wisdom.

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~ Roald Dahl.

This is one of my favorite quotes that never lets down my faith in life and its wonders. And this is something I will tell everyone even if it sounds so cliched – never stop believing, in yourself and in your heart.

Thank you for reading Talkback Tuesday! You can leave a follow-up question for Aastha in the comments below.

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Next, check out the previous interview from last Tuesday with Xavier Shuler by clicking on the image below.

Xavier Shuler #TalkbackTuesday
Click the image to see the interview.