Anisha Alla talks with You & I - Bright Eyes, Big Dreams

She is only 23 years old, but her outlook on life is way beyond her years. A jack-of-all-trades, Anisha has dabbled in acting, singing, and playing multiple instruments, yet her true passion lies in writing. We caught up with the young woman whose enthusiasm for life is infectious.

First things first, what have you been up to in the recent past?
After coming back to India in 2015, I worked with children with learning disabilities at The Learning Graph and also at Euro School International in Hyderabad. Working with children has always been a passion.

I was part of two Tollywood films. The first was Pelli Choopulu, wherein I played a cameo role of the ex-girlfriend. The next was in the recent movie Arjun Reddy, where I played the character of a friend—Keerthi. Both the movies were pleasant surprises that came my way. I am very thankful for them.

I also recently performed at The SteppinOut Wanderfest, where I played the guitar and the ukulele and sang outdoors at this camping event. There have been a few shows in Bengaluru and Hyderabad that I have done in the last two years, too.

I love to travel. In 2016, I took a month to go stay in a monastery cum learning centre in Himachal, in a tiny village there. This was to take some time off for myself and learn, write, and feel.

How did your interest in music and theatre begin?
From morning assembly skits at the age of 10 to theatre with Ingenium Dramatics and Kartaal Productions, acting has been a deep interest, as has music. I played the piano for some years while growing up and sang for the school choir and learned Carnatic music, too. This was all at quite a young age. It had faded out until about the start of my 11th grade. However, my love for music remained.

You are also in the process of writing three books. Tell us a bit more about this.
Well, I have been planning these books for a very long time. They had started off as “dreams” that I had as a child. I always knew that writing them was a must, but it had started off as something I wanted to do only for myself.

The first book, that I hope to take some time off in the near future to write, is a collection of poems and short pieces. I have posted one or two of them on my Instagram page (bluewatermelon17). I had started posting some music on that page initially, without sharing it with people just to boost my confidence. The pattern continued with writing. I have always known that to write each book, I would need to be in the right frame of mind, so when it is to happen, I am unsure of. But, write it I shall. The second is going to be a collection of short stories for children. The third is a very personal book. I am not sure yet if it is something I will necessarily publish, but it is about my belief on what this all is. My understanding of what reality is. It is meant to be a bridge between science and faith. I do not know when this will happen, but the second and third books will not happen right now for sure. There is still a lot of learning to do.

I love nature on a very personal level. I believe that in order for me to be able to fully do justice to my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, I must do it amidst nature. I have had a lot of influential factors through my journey of learning. There have been so many people that I have met who have taught me so much and have taken me one step further in just the right direction. So, there are many memories that I have accumulated along the way.

You have a rather open-minded way of thinking for someone of your age. What would you attribute this to?
In all honesty, it started off with me being born to the family that I have been blessed with. They gave my mind room to wander and question and learn, which I am ever so grateful for. I got two Alsatians at the age of three and a half, of whom I still have vivid memories. I had Simba for almost 11 years and Pluto for 14. I spent an enormous amount of time growing up with them, and as silly as it may seem, I credit a lot of my being to them. It was through them that I learned how to fully be, truly, to one’s purest self. With that came so much more learning, like how to love unconditionally, how to forgive, how to bow down, how to keep faith, and so on…all in the simplest of ways. This allowed me to grow. I also have friends of all ages, religions, colours, backgrounds, etc. who have all attributed to my growth on a holistic level. I have been able to place myself in the shoes of so many people, and hence, see and feel so much more than just what I have been exposed to. This gave way to a tremendous amount of learning.

What have been some of the most profound realisations you have had while growing up?
The journey began with questioning God and religion at a young age. Quickly, it progressed to questioning myself and my being. I wrote a paper on ‘Self’ and whether it could be considered as a whole (in 2013), and this flung me into a world of thought, where I began to think about time and how one perceives it, alternate states of consciousness, the journey from unconscious to conscious, the desire for relatability and acceptance, and so on. Life is quite simple when we realise that we are living for others as they live for us.

What are your other interests?
I used to love playing basketball all through my school years.

I played at the National level for six years, too. However, owing to multiple injuries I cannot play anymore. But it still stands dear to my heart.

I absolutely love animals, and always have since a very young age. When I was in Chicago, I volunteered at The Anti Cruelty Society— a shelter for animals. There, I worked in the dog adoptions room and worked on the behaviour of these dogs that undergo trauma. This was both emotionally taxing and therapeutic to me. It even shaped who I am in a large sense. Later in 2014, I did volunteer work at a Rescue Reserve in South Africa. It involved a lot of manual labour and was a trip that changed my life. Walking and driving are two things I find so much peace in doing.       --- as told to Suneela