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Interview from the Dinathandi
This Sunday, the daily Tamil newspaper Dinathandi carried a full-page interview of me. The sub-editor of the newspaper had read the earlier write-up in Aval Vikatan and wanted to do a cover story for his paper.

Here's the interview from the online version of the paper. Click on the image to read the interview.

The ICFAI Business School Alumni Federation (IBSAF) Chennai representatives wanted to publish the English translation of this interview in their magazine. So here's a rough English translation.

First place…not impossible!

“I wake up at 4:30 am and do yoga for an hour. Then I practise music and leave for college. Once I’m back home in the evening, I prepare for my TV show’s shooting or for my music concerts. If I have a concert in the evening, I have to ensure that I perform well!” says 22 year old Nivedita Narayanan, all in one breath, bubbling with energy and enthusiasm! “These days I sleep only three hours,” she says, leaving us amazed!

“But isn’t it necessary to sleep eight hours every day to be able to work well the next day?” we ask her. Nivedita bursts out laughing, her cheeks dimpling!

“Many people say that they sleep 8, 9 or 10 hours everyday. But if you’re obsessed with excelling in all the activities you do, 3 hours of sleep will suffice! I get all the energy I need to work non-stop on all my activities, with 3 hours of sleep!” she says.

As we talk, we notice that Nivedita uses the term “first place” very often. Oh, there seems to be something with this young lady and “first place”! She is a gold medalist in B.E. Currently pursuing her M.B.A. from the ICFAI Business School in Gopalapuram, Chennai, she has been awarded scholarships for her first two semesters already. She is also a recognized Carnatic vocalist.

You’ve already secured quite a few “first places”. What next?

“I’m involved in a number of fields and I want to be the best in all of them. To be able to achieve that, I’ve decided not to shift out of Chennai. After my M.B.A., I want to shine in the corporate world and also become a great and respected Carnatic musician.”

A number of newspapers have recognized her as an excellent writer and reporter. She has written two books with her Carnatic music guru and is also involved in music research. She also has her own prime-time show on Doordarshan’s Podhigai channel, featuring talented, up-and-coming musicians.

To be able to achieve so many firsts, one must be a good child to one’s parents. Correct?

“Well, a lot of young girls like hanging out at the movies. But I hardly watch them. My M.B.A. institute is just a few yards away from Sathyam Cinemas. About five months ago, my friends dragged me along to a movie…and that was one of my very few movie-watching experiences! I don’t really enjoy watching movies; nor do my parents. In several such issues, I see eye-to-eye with my parents. So I’m a good child, after all!

Everyone must chart out a timetable to work on their goals. Only after that is done should they allocate time for other things. Some young people believe that its ‘cool’ to do what their parents don’t want them to do. What I suggest is that all youngsters draw a balance between doing what they want to do and what their parents want them to do. That way, you please your parents!”

How does one become a ‘good student’?

“I’m doing my M.B.A. and I want to excel in it. Some professors believe that to excel or to be a good student, it is necessary to come to class on time, to not talk during lectures and so on. If we abide by these simple demands, life is a lot easier! Also, to be a good student, pick the right kind of friends, so that you don’t end up doing things you actually don’t want to!”

How does one allocate time efficiently to be able to excel in so many fields, like you are doing?

“If you are passionate about something, there is no way you will not find the time for it. If you don’t have a deep interest in something, you will automatically feel tired or not-so-enthusiastic about it. There are a 100 ways to get a job done. For those who are passionate about achieving their goals, finding one of those 100 ways and getting the job done is not difficult at all! Passion, in one word, is what is required to be able to excel in several fields.”

You sleep only 3 hours a day. Is that a sacrifice you’ve made to achieve your goals?

“It is not a sacrifice. I can make do with 3 hours of sleep…simple!”

Don’t you regret not being able to enjoy life like other young girls?

“Each person’s perception of ‘enjoyment’ varies. For some people, enjoyment is going to the movies or the beach. For me, music gives incomparable joy and happiness. In fact, I enjoy life much more than most people my age!”

At such a young age, you seem to be chasing a lot of goals. Looking back at it later in your life, how do you think you will feel?

“I’d feel good! My elder brother Arvind Narayanan, stood first in India in the Indian Mathematics Olympiad , represented India at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Romania and won the silver medal, when he was in 12th standard. He graduated from IIT Madras and did his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. He has now been invited by Stanford University to do his post-doctorate and he has taken up the offer. He was able to achieve all this only because he worked hard on his goals. The one-movie-a-week attitude isn’t of much help in achieving goals! I’m chasing my goals too…with determination…and I will achieve them!”

Many young girls today work while they study. Will this not affect their academic career?

“If they can manage to do both well, that’s great! Work systematically and you will be able to straddle multiple careers; but don’t let your academics suffer!”

Girls who are focused on their careers get married very late, now-a-days. Your take on this?

“Well, some of my friends tied the knot at 21. Others have decided to marry late. It’s what they want to do…”

How will your achievements benefit our society?

“Whether it is through research or through my music, the society will be benefited in one way or the other. When I perform in public, the music gives happiness and peace of mind to a lot of people who listen to my concerts.”

Nivedita’s parents are Lakshminarayanan and Kalyani. Her music guru is Yuva Kala Bharathi K.N.Shashikiran.

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All the Best my dear for the success in all the areas you wish to succeed...

Best Wishes

I am very impressed by your attitude towards life.. I wish and pray for the best!

- Karthik

Thank you very much, Karthik! :)

Re: Best Wishes

:) I especially liked the 'The one-movie-a-week attitude' part of your response.. since I was stuck up in a situation similar the 'one-movie-a-week' for the last 4 years.. Only the last 2 months I have moved out to live by myself.. I feel at peace.. Will soon move back to Singara Chennai for good this June :)Anyday a book would kick-a-movies-butt since ur mind can run wild with imagination into a 'super high' rather than being forced fed someone else's imagination.. Good Luck on your future programs..

- Karthik

Nice to know. :) Thanks and good luck to you too! :)

you sleep only three hours a day? and yet don't have sagging skintone, dark circles and crow's feet, not to mention blunting of your learning facilities (your brain), tiredness, and various other ailments?
either you're lying or you photoshop your photographs like crazy.

Admire your attitude towards life

Dear Nivedita

Saw your interview yesterday( Wed 22 June 2011 ) on Pothigai TV .Usually I have seen you only conducting interviews but only yesterday saw u being interviewed .
I respect your attitude towards life and your passion not only towards music but to anything that you take up in life . I am not a great Music lover and in fact my knowledge of Classical Music is quite poor but I love listening to flute Music .The Clarity and drive that u have now in this life are due to your past life samskaras and I see the hands of Almighty guiding you .Wishing you a wonderful future .

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