Law and poetry make an unlikely combination. But as far as Delhi-based lawyer and Instagram influencer Naina Pachnanda is concerned, they are both avenues to follow her passion and purpose.
Through her work as Senior Innovation Specialist at Invest India (the country’s national investment promotion and facilitation agency), she is able to contribute to India’s legal framework and policymaking, she says, and through her inspirational poems, she motivates others who may be on difficult journeys.
The 31-year-old go-getter has now added another feather in her hat: she has just released her first book of patriotic poems, A New India, which was launched last month by Smriti Irani, India’s Minister of Women and Child Development and Minister of Textiles.
“I get my patriotic fervour from my grandfather, Brigadier KD Pachnanda, and my father, RK Pachnanda, IPS, both of whom have served the nation with great sincerity, loyalty and unflinching resolve,” says Naina, who is also an accomplished basketball player, squash player, swimmer, tennis enthusiast, and now a golfer.
Born in Delhi and raised in Chandigarh, Delhi and Kolkata, Naina completed her schooling from Delhi Public School RK Puram and enrolled for Bachelor’s in economics from St Xavier’s College in Kolkata, where her father was posted at the time.
One year into the course, however, she changed her mind and decided to go for the five-year law degree.
“I told my parents that I wanted to drop economics and give the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). My mother flipped because there was just one month left for the exam. With God’s grace, the exam got postponed by two weeks giving me some more time to prepare. And then, two weeks before the results, I didn’t step out of the house, I just prayed 10 hours a day – I recited the Hanuman Chalisa 100 times every day for 15 days, till the date of the result,” she laughs.
Her hard work and prayers paid off, and she secured a good rank and admission into the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. “So, my mantra ever since has been to work hard and back your hard work up with a lot of prayers,” says the vivacious young achiever, who calls her mother Nita the ‘domestic engineer’ of their home and family life.
After practising litigation for five-odd years, Naina moved to policy-related work a couple of years ago. “I decided to tap the patriotism that was bursting inside of me, and to work on something that could have a positive impact on India,” says Naina, who currently looks after the legal regulatory, policy and strategy affairs to help commercialise Indian technological innovation as part of the government’s AGNIi programme (Accelerating Growth of New India’s Innovations).
Having worked in the national capital for seven years, Naina has learnt a few lessons about navigating life as a single woman in the city. “Whether you are a woman or a man, there is only one way to win at life and that is through wisdom, compassion and courage. Emotions such as ego, anger or impulsiveness really get you nowhere in life. They may help in the short run, but will never work for the long haul. Acceptance, patience, courage and forgiveness are key to a successful career and life,” says Naina, who runs a blog titled Lawyer With a Poetic Soul.
At around the same time, she rekindled her childhood interest in poetry. “I wrote my first poem at age 10 on Harry Potter and it got published in Tele Kids, a popular supplement with The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata. This naturally gave a 10-year-old a lot of confidence,” smiles Naina.
However, poetry took a backseat as the rigours of a career in law took over. In 2018, on her father’s 60th birthday, her mother insisted she write a poem as a gift to him. “I was waiting for an email from a client, and I had a 20-minute window. I quickly wrote a poem for my dad and presented it to him at home.”
The poem not only moved her parents, it also inspired Naina to write more poems on topics such as the meaning of happiness, how to create your own destiny, and so on.
She began reciting her poems on her Instagram page naina.pachnanda. Then Covid struck. “It was a year full of challenges. I decided to write about these very challenges and post them on Instagram for everyone to benefit,” she explains.
It was no easy task. “I was fully committed to my office work during the day and would burn the midnight oil writing my poems. I would then wake up and shoot my videos early morning, well in time to be on my work desk by 9 am.”
Naina was overwhelmed with the feedback and support she received. “My page really started to become popular during lockdown. I received over 300 messages from my friends, colleagues, acquaintances and others whom I refer to as my ‘larger Insta family’. I have saved them as three gratitude jars on my Insta highlights,” she says.
The success of the poems also triggered Naina to share all that she learnt from her practice of Nichiren Buddhism and the study of tarot cards. “This also in turn motivates me to stay fit, eat healthy, to chant and pray every single day – because if I am to inspire people about how to stay positive during the pandemic, I have to follow the same too!” she smiles.
Naina’s following grew from 200 to almost 20,000 in a very short time. She also managed to put together a book of patriotic poems to create awareness about various government schemes. “I have always been in awe of Ms Smriti Irani and I am beyond blessed to have the good fortune of the Union Minister launching my first book A New India,” says Naina.
The young lawyer sees challenges as opportunities for growth and a means to fix patterns within her own life. “I have learnt to have unquestionable faith in the ways of the universe. I have learnt to dream big and to work hard to achieve those dreams. I have learnt to set my targets but to also accept and go with the flow. Most importantly I have learnt to have gratitude. The more gratitude you have, the more the universe will give you reasons to be grateful for,” she concludes.
Syndicated to Money Control