From a passion for personal development to an unshakable urge to tell the world inspiring stories from people’s lives — Sana Chawla’s journey towards self fulfilment has now been documented into a soon to be released book. In a casual chat, we talk to the Singapore-based Indian expatriate about what drove her to this juncture.
As shocking as it might seem, Chawla is, still at heart, a Bengaluru belle, in spite of having moved to Singapore eight years ago. Deriving inspiration from Chicken Soup for the Soul, Sana is all about providing every one with the gentle reminder that their soul is cheering for them. However, the author talks about how writing was never in the cards. “I was actually one of those kids with a dream of making it big in the beauty industry. Perhaps a model or an air hostess,” she laughs. “Things changed once the maturity of life hit me and I realised that every person has a story to tell. Something that shows vulnerability, yet is so empowering at the same time.”
A collection of “14 personal accounts of grit and fortitude compellingly told in first person”, The Magic Within is not your regular self help book. From anecdotes revolving around cancer survivors, to people relaying the horrors of 9/11 and 26/11, Sana has taken a leaf out of each of their inspiring stories. “Sitting on the couch and listening to someone talk about the crumbling of the World Trade Centre, or people hiding behind barricades, while their loved ones were still being rescued from the Taj - it leaves one shaken and impacted. I was overwhelmed with the need to tell the world their stories because there’s so much of despair and pain. People need to be given the hope that they can beat it,” she spills when asked what spurred her from the comfortable laps of a sturdy entrepreneurship to the risks of publishing a book.
The journey wasn’t easy though, as she tells in her own words. From roadblocks to countless days of wondering just what she had got herself into, Chawla was indeed riddled with self doubt at certain points. “I spent half a year tracking down these people — friends, friends of friends. Convincing them was a massive part of the deal too, but once you’ve braved the storms they have been through, it only makes you want to share your strength with others who are suffering,” she adds.
When not considering penning another book, Sana devotes her time to spiritual chanting. From noting down her life in a gratitude journal, to indulging in organising spiritual events in Singapore, the philanthropist in her is evident as she actively participates in supporting various youth and women-oriented initiatives, along with bringing personal growth workshops to youth across the world. According to her, the strength to triumph every hardship is in sharing and believing. “Fighting our continuous battles leads us to a multitude of crossroads — after you break !” down, you can either continue to brush it off or continue to fight, or share your tale so others know they are not alone in this fight. It was time somebody did the latter!”