Interview with Devangana Mishra, Woman Entrepreneur, CEO & Founder of BrainBristle
Devangana Mishra is the author of Desierto Florido, a book of poetry trying to break out of the rhetoric of poetry and prose and now, after 15 years of work across various subjects in the field, she runs the think tank BainBristle, to truly empower children on the spectrum of autism into their possible wholes.
BrainBristle is a self-funded think tank to empower a select few children on the spectrum of autism to their maximal ability.
There are no goals of expansion right now, except for building more advocacy and awareness of our work and bringing a few more kids on board to educate into well settled inclusion. BrainBristle has recently been nominated for the FICCI Inclusion Awards.
Can you tell us about your background and what led you to write Desierto Florido?
Devangana Mishra: My family gave me the freedom to do anything I wanted to do, so as a kid I played with kids around town, it didn’t matter who, and wrote stories.
The writing was so natural, I just did it as a form of expression and ease. When I moved to Bombay 4 years ago, I wasn’t sure how to find my home ground, so I thought I’d write a book of poetry, which is Deserito Florido.
I’ve spent my life listening to stories of strangers and friends I made across countries and reading a lot, and watching a lot of diverse cinema, Desierto Florido is a culmination and a separation from that gravity.
Can you tell us a little about your book? What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing this book?
Devangana Mishra: It’s a book of poetry and prose from a thousand points of view and voices, being a teacher you hear those, it’s our job.
I had always written to make people smile, to make them happy, to make them more self assured, somehow when I picked up the pen to write poetry for Desierto Florido, a lot of stories and sides didn’t make people smile or happy or lift them up as I had for all my life.
I never thought this would happen before I picked up the pen, I now know, I’m nervous to ever write another book now.
Growing up, who were your favourite authors? What’s your take on movie adaptations of books?
Devangana Mishra: Honestly, I read everything, Nancy Drew, Mallory Towers, Mills and Boons, Stephen King, Roald Dahl, I stayed away from the Harry Potter craze for long for some reason, maybe to keep my imagination unique, since I’m also a writer who writes from an imagination more than real life.
My mom would often make me recite ‘Daffodils’ by Williams Wordsworth with actions. I’m a dancer, so I loved the drama it brought along.
Though, I think it’s risky stuff to try to turn a book to a movie, we can go so terribly wrong, it’s almost like people form a scenery in their mind of what they read, to superimpose a new scenery can be hard and very tricky.
Harry Potter is a classic example of books turning south when adapted to movies- but, again, it’s my opinion, who knows what’s right and what brings in the moolah.
Can you tell us a little bit about your think tank BrainBristle and where do you see it 5 years from now?
Devangana Mishra: It’s a think tank for children on the spectrum of autism to imagine a life they may have not originally thought of, a way to tactically, strategically, intelligently create possibilities for them by facilitating the process.
I see BrainBristle more staffed, more secure, spreading more creativity, intelligence, history and voice in the space of schools, organizations and beyond.
What are your success tips for young and aspiring authors?
Devangana Mishra: My only tip is to intentionally ‘choose’- choose who will you offend, who will you please, who will you choose to be as you write, will you please an audience, your friends, your family, your spouse, your community- everyone will never be happy- someone will eventually be hurt in the process and someone will be pleased, many times, it might not be you, deciding who sits with displeasure and pleasure is your decision, always.
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