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 lawyer has also 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.
Born in Delhi and raised in Chandigarh, Delhi and Kolkata, Pachnanda completed her schooling from Delhi and enrolled for Bachelor’s in economics from St Xavier’s College in Kolkata, where her father, an IPS officer, 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. She managed to secure a good rank in CLAT and joined the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.
After practising litigation for five-odd years, Pachnanda moved to policy-related work a couple of years ago. She 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, Pachnanda 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 Pachnanda, who runs a blog titled Lawyer with a Poetic Soul.
At around the same time, she rekindled her childhood interest in poetry, and began writing poems on topics such as the meaning of happiness, how to create your own destiny, and so on. She would recite these 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 says.
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.”
Pachnanda’s following grew from 200 to over 20,000 in a very short time, and she 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’,” she says.
The success of the poems also triggered Pachnanda 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 says.
The young lawyer sees challenges as opportunities for growth and a means to fix patterns within her own life. “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.First published in eShe