Liberating storytellers

The Asian Age.  | Gautham S

Life, Art

Nikhil Chandwani’s Writers’ Rescue Centre is the world’s first mentorship-driven Gurukul system, exclusively for writers.

Nikhil Chandwani

Most people can’t handle being lonely. It could lead one to issues like even depression. People facing such problems just need company, someone to listen to their woes. Talk to them and they will feel better. Unfortunately, most of us are reluctant to help them. Meet Nikhil Chandwani, poet, author, scriptwriter, director, columnist, travel writer, public speaker, and an editor, whose initiative Writers’ Rescue Centre (WRC) is the world’s first mentorship-driven Gurukul system, exclusively for writers. They pick up people who are confused, mentor them, publish and bring them in front of a reading plus listening crowd.

 “I started WRC because I was a loner. Seeing someone else happy is the best feeling ever,” says Nikhil. Talking about his initiative, he says, “WRC is a Gurukul system which provides one to one mentorship to people who have stories to tell. We pick up individuals across the country and train them in the field of writing. Once they’re equipped with the knowledge, we provide them another mentor to write their book. Once the book is ready, we edit and publish it for them. Later, we take people to public speaking platforms where they share their stories. We carve a professional career for them in their area of interest. These reading plus listening crowds help anyone who wishes to find a reading eye or a hearing aid. This, we saw, started helping people with depression, and so we took it as a challenge to cure the world through this Gurukul system.”

 Nikhil says he has specific reasons for starting this venture. WRC has laid a platform for many young writers from India to showcase their talents. “I have seen numerous writers, storytellers and even individuals across different landscapes who were depressed, confused, and had no idea about their capabilities and future. The second thing I saw in them is that everyone has something or the other to share, from stories to their experiences and aspirations. I thought, why not give them a platform to write and speak. That’s how Writers’ Rescue Centre began as a foundation, and currently, we have published over 220 writers across India, delivered 30+ TEDx speakers and as many national award winners. One of our authors, Siddharth Roy from Nagpur, came to me at the age of 15, confused and depressed. Siddharth ended up getting mentored under me, and now at 19, he is the author of two books and a four-time TEDx speaker. He has conducted over 30 lectures across India and writes a newspaper column.”

WRC has changed the lives of many youngsters. For Nikhil, his priority is seeing the writers happy. He says he dreams of seeing them settled in their lives. “The future plan is to bring all my writers under a roof in order to work on different agendas. I am passionate about preserving Indian history. History is the best teacher and we Indians have failed to preserve our roots. The best way to do it is writing about it. I recently launched my book, The Modern Day Hindu, that talks about science in Vedas. The book connects Shlokas with Rock music. I also wish that my authors get elected to power because India needs nationalist creative people. I want to serve my country by creating leaders, TEDx speakers, and people who can help our nation prosper.”

 Nikhil’s journey to being a writer is interesting. He joined engineering after school and later dropped out realising that it’s not his cup of tea. “I was not meant to be an engineer. I wanted to find myself and that’s why I chose writing. Maybe, writing chose me.” He has written 10 books so far with the latest one currently out in the market. He also founded Walnut Discoveries Pvt. Ltd. and the Walnut School of Ideas when he was just 20 and 22, respectively. “I’ve worked as a travel writer in the Middle East, and a screenplay writer for few documentaries. I produced She: The Movie and I’ve also contributed as a visiting professor and guest speaker at IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, IBS Hyderabad etc.”

 How has writing influenced his life? “I got influenced by my country, India. The nation fascinates me. Thousands of cultures and yet, we are united under our beautiful tricolour. I want to make India the world capital of arts, religion, and culture again, and that’s what influenced me in writing.” His shift to filmmaking and script writing is connected to storytelling, he affirms. “I wanted to tell stories to my crowd, and so the shift happened. I never underwent formal education after my 12th grade and so, finding new career options became my education. My stint was fun. I got a chance to write in East Africa and the Middle East. Forests and nature are the best teachers. The strong survives and the weak dies.

I have extensively researched on the crisis in the Middle East and independently documented/scripted the effect of geopolitical shift in the region on India. I also spoke about the issues in the Middle East and how it can affect India on few platforms. Why was Gaddafi’s killing a mistake? Who benefits from the war in Syria? Why should Rohingyas be sent back from India? These are some questions I tried to answer through my research. As a script writer, I wrote and directed Escape from Kenya and Amazing Amazon Adventures that was telecast in three countries – India, USA and Canada. I provided ghostwriting support for various East African and South American nonfiction documentaries that revolved around conserving wildlife and the natives of those lands. Travel writing was something very close to my heart and I did that in 2012-13, but I was lost in the shuffle due to the injuries that I had to suffer while staying in the wild.

Nikhil Chandwani, 25, has specific plans for the next five years. “I want to mentor, publish and save 1 million people before I touch 30. That’s the aim for WRC,” he signs off.