Saakshi Agarwal is a Mumbai-based conversational AI engineer, born and raised in Hyderabad and Kolkata, respectively. She is passionate about writing and runs her Instagram page with the name ‘anonymousxonly‘ She uses her social media to talk her heart out on everyday affairs and various other issues as she confides in her writing. Saakshi Agarwal finds it very therapeutic and calls that part of the day the most exciting one in her everyday routine.
ICY Tales is in conversation with Saakshi Agarwal, where she shares her passion for writing.
Q. What is the driving force behind your indulgences in writing?
Saakshi Agarwal: I started writing when I was fourteen years old, there were issues on the family front and various other things happening in my life. I never felt comfortable enough to talk about them with my friends or anyone else, so I confided in my journal, the journal my mother gifted me on one of my birthdays.
I understand that writing is so much more than words and sentences; it is an outlet to express one’s feelings. It is a form of personal therapy, personal navigation. No matter how busy I am with my everyday life and profession, I try to take some time out for myself; write in my journal, which is the most exciting part of the day for me. That’s how my journey started, and I look at it as a way of getting through life, which has been my driving force ever since.
Q. How do you feel connected with your audience?
Saakshi Agarwal: As I mentioned earlier, I started writing when I was fourteen, and back then, I was only a journal writer. Expressing it on a platform like Instagram began only during the pandemic in 2020. Even then, I had not revealed my identity; it was just ‘anonymousxonly.’
It did not have any name associated with it. It seemed very natural for anyone to feel some level of constraint when one is posting on a public platform, so I never revealed my name. So when the page got a small audience, I put a name. Then I had a few readers from different parts of India who were reading my work; they dropped me messages stating that they could connect very deeply with the write-ups; they resonated with it as they were recently fighting the same battle, and that helped.
So people reached out to me with very positive feedback when they read something that connects with their lives, and I think my content revolves around the everyday struggles of a normal human being. No matter how many different people we are, we all fight our battles, drowning or sinking in similar boats, so that’s how people connect to it, and I connect with my audience.
Q. What is ‘True Healing’ in your understanding?
Saakshi Agarwal: I think true healing is a state of contentment, when you are in a position to accept the things around you; when you can make sense of the things that have happened to the extent that you realize that they happened for a reason. In addition, I believe it is also the state of having complete faith in something, where you have gone through so much in life but are finally in a place where you can agree that whatever you have gone through, all of it has served its purpose. So I feel healing is more about faith and patience in the process than the time it takes to get there.
Q. How do you deal with stereotypes?
Saakshi Agarwal: You know there are people of all kinds in the world, and you can’t change the way everybody thinks, but you can attempt to change the way they believe further; so you can go about influencing the change one person at a time and that too only when they have an open mind to it.
Stereotypes exist everywhere, and no matter how much you hate them or how toxic or negative they may sound to somebody, it is how the world has always been. If one thinks of changing it, one must start by attempting to change how things are perceived and looked at.
Though the world is progressing daily, people are also going ten steps back with every step forward. I think the key to handling or responding to stereotypes is to do your bit in every possible manner to change perspective. After that, it is entirely up to the receiver to interpret it in their language and level of understanding.
Q. How do you deal with Criticism?
Saakshi Agarwal: In all honesty, it has not been easy. If hundred people were resonating with my words, there were also twenty to thirty more people who weren’t okay with it. I’m OK with that because I think everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I don’t approve of their way of expressing that to an artist. Imposing your opinion on someone with an underlying sense of superiority is not okay. When handling criticism, it’s wiser to focus on the part where the change is being made rather than the part where the difference is being questioned.
Q. What is your approach towards failure?
Saakshi Agarwal: I think it’s good that we fail once in a while. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t know what success truly feels like. I see failure as a way to undo your mistakes. We’ve all grown up being told that it’s not about winning a competition but about participating.
Q. Which team do you belong to, Hardcopies, Soft copies, or Audiobooks? Do you feel any difference?
Saakshi Agarwal: Well, I think it does not matter as long as your audience is reading it and you are enjoying the process of it. When it comes to soft copies, I think what we do on Instagram is restrictive, depending on the number of followers and your engagement algorithm; it is a very shallow number game sometimes.
I feel it depends on what the artist is comfortable with and the kind of audience they aspire to reach. When it comes to audiobooks, I think there is a very large base of people who like listening to podcasts or Ted talks; that is a different section of the audience altogether. But when we read hard copies or write them, one has the potential to reach a wider audience.
Q. What advice do you have for someone willing to start a career in writing?
Saakshi Agarwal: I’ve had many people tell me that they want to write but don’t have ‘good vocabulary’ or ‘knowledge,’ I want them to know that writing has no rules, just feelings. It doesn’t matter how they write it; what matters is how it makes them feel from within. Honesty is the key to writing and life. Everything else comes with consistency and practice.
Q. What tips do you have when it comes to reading?
Saakshi Agarwal: I think people tend to have a stereotypical understanding that every writer is a reader by default, but that’s not true! I can say so because I’m not a reader anymore, I used to be back in my school days, but after that, I don’t think I ever found the time to read as religiously as I did before. Now I read very selectively, and I think reading should be an escape. It is one of the finest habits to have, but it should not be half-hearted because once you start reading, there is no going back!
Saakshi Agarwal believes engaging in one’s passion can be the best source of unwinding for any individual; for her, it’s her time with her journal in her everyday routine. As a writer, she understands that if someone is passionate about writing, all they need is a pen and paper; to begin with; vocabulary, grammar, and everything else can be mastered eventually with time. For Saakshi Agarwal’s readers and audience, she has one suggestion, i.e., whatever one is doing, they must be driven towards it with all their heart, and only then can they achieve the desired result.