Q&A: Dr. Vasudha Neel Mani, Author of 'Gratitude: The Purpose of Life'

Dr. Vasudha Neel Mani is the Principal of Rockwoods International School, Udaipur. She has recently come out with the book Gratitude: The Purpose of Life, which is a guide towards positivity, gratitude, anger and stress management. The book details that Gratitude is the key to abundance, and if readers follow and do all the exercises mentioned in the book for 21 days, this will begin to transform their life in a big way and enable them to become positive, grateful and compassionate human beings.

I chat with Dr. Vasudha about her book, and about the books she read as a child, book recommendations, and much more.

Hello, Dr. Vasudha! Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am an educationist, psychologist, counselor and author with over 27 years of experience spanning across teaching, administration, mentoring and advisory roles, with 17 years in Cambridge Education and 10 years in leadership roles.

I am also an International Certified Career Coach. I conduct sessions on mental and emotional well being, meditation sessions and workshops on Gratitude for all age groups. I am also a regular blogger and write regularly on topics in the fields of education, technology, spirituality, life-skills and many other diverse topics.

When did you first discover your love for writing?

Since my childhood, I used to write short stories, poems, articles and as I grew up, it took the shape of blogs and articles.

Which authors and books were your early formative influences?

Since my childhood, I was an avid reader. I had a personal library of uncountable books that included authors like Premchand, Ashapurna Devi, Sarat Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore, Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky and many others. I had read Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwat Geeta, Bhagwat Puran and all other mythological legends as well. To inspire myself, I used to read Autobiographies and Biographies too – My Experiments With Truth is still my favourite one.

How would you describe your book Gratitude: The Purpose of Life in one sentence?

A 21 days journey of self-transformation towards happiness, peace and positivity.

'Gratitude: The Purpose of Life', published by Notion Press

Now tell us a little more about the book! What can readers expect?

The book is about practising the exercise of Gratitude. Gratitude is a beautiful word and practicing it as a habit makes all the difference.

In today’s world, where everyone is grappling with stress and giving in to failures, we need to start teaching our children the significance of being grateful and positive. We barely remember the last time we expressed gratitude to anyone. If we are grateful, abundance will follow. Gratitude is key to that abundance. Keeping this in mind, I have developed a gratitude curriculum to instil the same in the students and children.

When I meet people, they are merely trying to live to fulfill others’ expectations, whether it is a job, business, or anything else (whether or not they like it). They seem to be in a mad race. They barely know what the goal of life is. Do we need to figure out what we, as individuals, want from our lives? It’s substantial to devote time to things we love and are passionate about.

Since childhood, I have been content with my life and took every experience as a learning. I inherited this virtue from my father. So, the first person who taught me about gratitude was him. He told me to always aspire to be a person with a large heart and help others, and to keep smiling in all situations. He was the one who told me to have faith and gratitude for a higher source and divine energy.

When I began the Gratitude Journal, many people started following it and there was a point when I got requests from many of them to publish it in the form of a book so that it spreads across and more people start practicing it. 

In this book, I have put my thoughts in a way that if you follow it regularly and practice Gratitude, you will be able to transform your life significantly. Every chapter is dedicated to one gratitude. You have to follow that one gratitude every day. The chapters end with quotes, so that you can relate to what you are practicing.

If you follow the contents, the 21 days will ensure a transformational journey. Whether you are an adolescent, an adult, youth, teenager, or a college-going student, you’ll benefit from the book. You will notice a difference. We will start with paying gratitude at a micro level and gradually rise to the macro level. Gratitude is portable and we take it wherever we go. As eating, sleeping, walking constitute an inseparable part of our daily routine, practicing positivity and gratitude will also naturally become a part of life. The number 3 represents the number of creations. That’s why we say thank you thrice and the gratitude journal and journey are for three weeks. 

We start practicing gratitude from a micro level to the macro level, where we start paying gratitude to the blessings from personal life to the larger picture.

In these 21 days, the first 10 days are for our blessings, desires, wishes, friends, family, health, studies, anger management, looking for positive outcomes in all situations, and edibles. The next 10 days are about practicing gratitude with everyone, beautiful mornings, breathing fresh air, Global Health, footsteps becoming footprints, compassionate heart, cueing the unseen, learning from mistakes and being grateful to one’s own self. And thus, the gratitude journey continues.

What is the message that you want readers to take away from this book?

May this journey of self transformation fill your life with abundance and positivity. The book not only takes the readers through the gratitude journey, but also talks about anger management, stress management and how to keep calm in all situations.

What has the road to becoming a published author been like for you?

It has been enriching and kind of a dream come true for me.

How have you been coping with the current pandemic and what will be the new normal for you post it?

This journey of self transformation has filled my life too with abundance and positivity and I have practiced each and everything I talk about. I have always used the challenges as an opportunity to do the best. This book was conceptualised and written in the days of the lockdown. I upgraded my knowledge and did my best in this pandemic time.

Lastly, are you currently reading anything and do you have any book recommendations for our readers?

I am currently reading the books Sai Baba: The Messiah of Oneness by Ruzbeh N. Bharucha, Stoned, Shamed, Depressed by Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava, and One Arranged Murder by Chetan Bhagat.

I will recommend the readers to read all the titles of following authors: Rhonda Byrne, Louise Hay, Norman Vincent Peale, Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Don Miguel Ruiz, Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi, and Ravi Subramanian.

The book ‘Gratitude: The Purpose of Life’ is available online and at your nearest bookstore.

From Jammu, J&K; Studied in DPS, Jammu.