Introducing Fairy Dharawat
Fairy Dharawat is a cat-loving lassie who writes and draws while diving headfirst into the wonderful world of comics, admiring their adventurous plot lines and intricate illustration. She’s also gearing towards meditation and learning about the many joys it brings.
Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.
Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.
Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 112.
Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.
Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Fairy Dharawat. Fairy is a cat-loving lassie who writes and draws while diving headfirst into the wonderful world of comics, admiring their adventurous plot lines and intricate illustration. She’s also gearing towards meditation and learning about the many joys it brings. Welcome, Fairy. We’re so glad you’re here.
Fairy: Thank you. Thank you. I’m really happy to be here.
Liam: Fairy, we’re delighted to have you on the show. Thanks for coming out into our hallway today. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, please?
Fairy: I’m actually a writer. I’ve been a writer for more than six years. I like to write. Now I’m moving towards different kind of stuff to read like comics. I’m really trying to do new things, and that’s the exciting part. I think right now, I’m trying to read different things. That’s what I’m doing.
Tara: Would you tell us more about the comics that we talked about when we introduced you? I’m really curious to hear more about what type of comics and what you love about comics.
Fairy: I’ve always been more of a horror fan. I never knew there’s an entire huge world of horror comics. Once I got to know that, that there is actually adult novels for people like me, I was hooked. So there is this comic illustrator called Junji Ito. He’s Japanese. He is actually a manga artist. He draws and he writes intricate stuff, like so detailed, so layered.
So I was hooked onto his work. I was so into it that I finished all his work, all his horror manga comics in a span of three months. I know, three months may sound a long time, but I was doing a lot of other things. But I was so invested, and I really wanted to write more about comics, and how it really helped me to see things differently. Like reading is different. And reading comics is different because you consume the art as well. It’s not just words. Those illustrations are a story. Every panel has a story, every panel goes ahead. And that’s so fascinating.
Liam: That’s interesting that you’re deliberately – I don’t want to say transitioning, but expanding – from reading books to consuming comic books. How did that happen? Did somebody share a comic book and said, “Hey, Fairy, check this out? Or did you pass it in the shop and say, “Oh, my gosh”? Tell us about that.
Fairy: I never started with Japanese manga artists and comics. It was always more DC. When it comes to Warner Brothers and DC, that was part of a childhood while growing up. In between, we just lost it. It wasn’t before like all these Marvel and movies came. This is before that.
I mean, I was surrounded by nerds. Not geeks. There’s a huge difference. So there were naughty boys, and they were so passionate about it. And like, “Okay, I am interested in these DC comic books.” One guy actually, shared way too many comic books without me asking – and I do have it with me – but I know I found that motivation to go ahead. It was more action-oriented. If you know DC, it’s beautiful art, but I wasn’t really that much into it, but I had it. I mean, when you get stuff easily, I don’t think you value it. So I had those comics with me.
I have a huge collection, enviable collection with me right now. I didn’t have to do anything. It just came up. I just said to this fellow that, “Hey, this sounds interesting. I think it’s good,” and he just gave it to me like that. Then I just had it. And I was just clearing my system and I found this folder, like, “Let me have a look.” It had so much comics.
Then I found because I like horror, I mean, I would always watch horror shorts or horror movies and I stumbled upon Junji Ito, and I saw his work. I finished that book in a considerably less time. Then I thought, “Hey, I have these comics. Let me check it out.” So that’s how then I went back to comics. So basically, that’s how it just happened. Yes, I did meet people who were early into it and that just propelled me into that direction. I’m really happy to make that transition, honestly. And I think more people should really consider it not as children’s things, thanks to these blockbuster movies.
Liam: I have two questions for you. One is, you started as a writer, and now as an illustrator as Tara read about you, have you started considering your own comic book line? Two, maybe a bigger question. Encouraging others to get into reading comic books, what would be the number one value or a big value of getting into comic books from a perspective of a writer or a reader who’s not used to that? What would you say to people?
Fairy: I guess at first, I did attempt it. There is something on Comic-Con. Comic-Con is a global community for all comic nerds. We had it in Mumbai also. I did attend one of the workshops where I did make a superhero that makes everyone sleep.
Liam: Oh, I like that superhero. I think that made my life pretty regularly.
Fairy: It was basically about people being so overworked and they cannot rest. And there is this person who has a lot of problems, and whenever she gets problems people sleep. And this is the thing she’s living in, which is a metropolis city, and people sleep when she complains. Now there’s a bank robbery happen around, and no one can do anything. I don’t know why. But no one can do anything. They just bring this person who goes on complaining about life, and everyone sleeps. And she just saves the day without really intending to save the day.
Tara: That is so creative. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to read it. Really brilliant. That’s really, really great.
Fairy: It was funny. I illustrated this thing also and I should probably take care of my art. I mean, this happens a lot to all writers. I think every creative…not even creatives … everyone. Whatever things we like, we tend to not keep it with us in a proper way. We’re just “huh we did this, okay.” We need to take care of any kind of art we do.
What is creativity? It’s something that you create from nothing. That is creativity. So even tech, I mean, why do we …I’m a newbie when it comes to technology, but whatever you create. — code is poetry, right? It’s amazing. I love that line code is poetry. That is art. Art and creativity it just…Everything is art, I mean, even think about it in a way. It’s a very long conversation on it, but it’s just that we don’t respect art and theater as we should be doing. Coming back to the second question, how do I make people read more? Just repeat the question again.
Liam: Yeah, absolutely. It was around what would you say to encourage readers or writers who read a lot to what would be a biggest takeaway or biggest value from transitioning into or exploring comic books from a readers perspective?
Fairy: Oh, that’s such an enriching beautiful world. Right now, as a professional who works in a corporate job, my life is so restricted. When I read comics, it broaden horizons in totally different way. It a little wide to articulate it. But what I’m trying to say is when you watch a movie, it’s there. It has a limitation. A movie has a limitation like a two-hour movie and you’re done with it.
If it is a series, come on, you’re going to binge-watch it for a day or two and then it’s done. But when it’s comics, it’s different. It makes you think. I think that’s the most beautiful part of it. It makes you think. And you do really have to consume that entire comic book. Like, you know, this happened. Because the last comic book that I read, that is DC comic called “Hush.”
Honestly, I find reading comics a little more difficult than watching the movie. The “Hush” movie was just released in July. You can check it out. It’s a good movie. But the comic book is so much better because it has written illustrations, which is very difficult to replicate that into a movie. I mean, those details are not possible, the production cost and all those things, generally, it shoots up the budget. So the makers generally simplify it. They cannot afford to bring the rich, layered illustrations on your screen.
That is one of the reasons I love comics. Because if you love art, I mean comics is way to go because the artists are crazy. I mean, that must be detailing, I’m awestruck. Because I love to draw and I do enjoy good stuff, so I know how difficult that is. And to see these people create masterpieces, wow, I’m blown away.
I think from a different perspective. I’m not saying this as a writer, but as a reader, perspective is very important that readers should change. You should change the kind of books you read to broaden your perspective. And why not comics? It’s also easy and it’s also difficult. As I said, I find reading comics and little difficult because I want to consume each small, tiny thing the artist has drawn and add it with that thought bubble that it command and the storyline. It’s fun. It’s interesting. I would really love everyone to read more comics.
Tara: I love hearing more about that. Thank you for sharing that. You are located in India, in Mumbai?
Tara: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you have become a writer and what’s led you here to this occupation as a writer?
Fairy: I do not have actually a formal degree in writing. I just like to write. I graduated in the year 2009 when the recession hit big time globally. I didn’t get a job as a writer. I just took a job as an HR consultant. I kept on writing because I really wanted to express myself and writing really help me. I really do not remember what exactly made me just continue apply in places as a writer, but I just got a job as a writer, as a journalist, which was in b2b magazine. Those people were amazing because they trained me on the job and groomed me to become a writer to research and write stories, which is how actually I started my career as a writer.
I think as long as I remember, I’ve always been a writer. I finished 10 years working in the corporate job. And out of that, six and a half years is I spent as a professional writer and getting paid for stuff that you write. It’s a really good feeling.
Liam: What do you write professionally? What kind of content are you producing?
Fairy: If I have to really say, it’s marketing stuff that goes into your spam folder.
Tara: That’s a special skill. That’s definitely not your goal.
Fairy: Not at all. So marketing stuff basically. I write stuff that makes people buy things. I write for lifestyle. I write for retail. I write branding communication. I write blogs. Anything that is online. So my forte has to be more into long-form writing that is essays. Because I’ve written so much marketing stuff like buy this, take this, it’s too capitalistic. I think right now I can take decisions to write more or find it’s pieces. I’m looking forward to writing more pieces in technology and how it affects humankind and more into experience-oriented lifestyle articles.
Tara: Is this how you’ve encountered WordPress is through your writing and how you use WordPress?
Fairy: Yes. I met some really good people who encouraged me to look at this platform. And I was like, “Really? No. Yes, I do like to talk, but on a platform? Are you kidding me? No.” But then it was good support. I mean, people really believed in me that I have something to say. I took a dive. And since 2015, I’ve been associated with WordPress. I’ve been volunteering with WordPress to organize WordCamps, and it’s been a really nice journey. I never knew that it’s going to be such a long journey, honestly, because it just happened.
Liam: How did you go from hearing about WordPress as a writer and “Okay, I guess I can maybe put it there” to getting involved with the community the point where you’re actually involved organizing WordCamps? Are you involved with the organization of WordCamp Mumbai?
Fairy: Yes, I am as well. I’m handling the writing bit. So whatever you’re going to see on the website is me. I think good people are really important. One of the reason I like WordPress community is because people are very helpful, and they really make you feel at home. They really do so.
I have one of my best friends who is a solid supporter and who keep saying that you can do this, and it’s okay to make mistakes. I have never heard that anywhere that, yes, you can make mistakes. And when you have a community who gives you permission, I hate to say the word permission, but yeah, we have the subconsciously that we cannot make mistakes. But when there is a community where you can make mistakes, I think that the way you can grow is limitless. So I think that really attracted me a lot. And that’s the reason I’ve been associated for the longest time.
Liam: Yeah, that’s a great observation. I don’t think I’ve heard the WordPress community described in that way but that’s entirely accurate. So thank you so much for sharing that. That’s wonderful. I’m going to put that in my little pocket of how I described the WordPress community.
Fairy: Thank you. Thank you. That’s lovely.
Tara: I love that too. I just saw something recently, maybe we spoke to somebody, it’s just very top of mind for me that breaking things is a good way to learn. And that’s a very much a sort of programmer approach to things is that you have to break it and break it apart in order to learn more about it. So that is embraced for sure. And maybe that translates into making mistakes and moving forward. I love that about WordPress, and I hadn’t thought about that before either.
What are some of your challenges that you face working with WordPress or in your community there, or with whatever part of your daily life? What challenges do you find that you face that you can share with us?
Fairy: When it comes to WordPress, I would love to be more technically sound. I really struggle with technology. Before this, I really struggled. The first time, Tara, when you sent me the video link I was really struggling, “Okay, how do you use Zoom?” I know, so embarrassing? So yeah, I would love to be more technologically sound. And that’s why I’m having all my friends who are very techie. Like all my friends are techie, so I hope that rubs on me as well and I’m more technologically sound.
One of my friends suggested that I learn code, and I honestly do not know if I’ll be able to do that. But I would love to be more technology-oriented. I’ve use the word so many times. But that’s one of the weakness I want to work on.
Challenges as a writer, I think for a writer to write anything they really need to know a subject inside out. If you don’t know that, I don’t think you can justify writing about it. So I don’t think it’s kind of a struggle, but it really limits on how much you can do. I would love to write about technology and artificial intelligence. But for me to be a subject matter expert, I have to put in a lot of work. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m the right person because I’m not surrounded by that kind of talent who can guide me to write something that I want. So I had to really be mindful in how I learn about something. As a writer, it always brings new challenges.
So if you’re thinking about writing one topic, you need to know it inside out. You need to know right people to ask questions. You need to know which way you want to go, how you want to go because when you write, it’s there. You’re putting something from nothing. You’re putting it into something tangible, which people might read, and it is so important that it is well thought out and well-articulated. And you back by it, because people might say that this is not right, but you have to say, no, you have given you 100%. So there is that skill, basically. The research part needs to be very, very thorough. I think for a writer, that’s one of the things that really is a challenging part.
Tara: Fairy, we love talking to people from other parts of the world. Most of the people that we have on the podcast are based in the United States like we are. So it’s I love seeing what’s happening especially I’ve seen in India a great community of women using WordPress, and it seems like it’s a very connected group. You speak English so well. I wanted to ask you a little bit about sort of your worldwide community and using your language versus using English, talking about even in your comics, I’m just curious to know how you interact internationally from India with the WordPress community and in general.
Fairy: I have really started reaching out. I didn’t because it took a lot of work for me to be this person, to be outgoing and all. And in one way is WordPress is really important facilitator. I write in English. I think in English. So I think speaking in English is natural. I mean, if you can believe that because I studied in English language. But of course, it has strong influence of Hindi, which is Indian language.
We have a lot of influences on language. I mean, I can talk a lot about languages. If you have a specific question, trust me. Because language is beautiful, I love languages. And that’s one of the reason I became a writer because it’s where you can just do anything. You can express yourself in different languages. And because I studied in English, I thought of this will be the language. And since we were children, we knew that to be successful, you need to know the global language. And English is prevalent. Like everyone where we attend, speaks in English. Even our community currently, we mostly do speak in English. So I don’t think language was ever a barrier for us.
Tara: We ask all of our guests about advice. And if there’s any advice that you have received, that you would like to share with us that’s really been impactful in your life.
Fairy: It’s to reach out people like me because I have always been very anxious to try and I would not reach out to people. So I’m not only part of WordPress community, but also different communities. The reason that was, because, in college, I was told that I should reach out to people like me. Because when I do that, you build confidence. And when you build confidence, you make things happen.
So it was second year of my college and my professor said that, that you have potential, and you should try it. Because there are not many people like me, they said, there are people like you. Don’t think that you’re alone and reach out to people like you. I think that was truly a game-changer.
I subconsciously started trying to at least meet people who were like me – people who have some shred of creative ability. Even if they’re not working in a creative field, they are working in accounting department or something else, but I find some spark in it, which I thought they’re like me, and it truly helps. It really helps to be seen. I think to be seen for what you are I think that’s very important. So reach out to people like you, they are people like you. Just reach out to them and you’ll find them.
Liam: It sounds like when you say “like you” that’s a pretty open-ended funnel, right?
Liam: Fairy, anybody who’s creative, there could be a lot of differences between you and that person. So I like that. It’s almost in a sense it’s…I’m kind of almost hearing that as reach out to anybody. Not in a blind kind of way, but appreciate that connections are practically everywhere if we want them to be.
Fairy: True. True.
Liam: I’m going to ask you another question, and it’s a question around success. We ask this of all of our guests. I’m very excited to hear your answer. So the question is, how would you define success? It can be a mixture of personal definition, maybe a professional definition? Or Fairy, maybe for you it’s a mixture of both.
Fairy: Professionally, I’m a writer, and writers truly need to be pampered. So for me, as a good writer, I want emails. I want DMs telling me…I’m really active on Twitter. Twitter is amazing because you can reach out to just about anyone, just with 280 characters. I don’t think people are utilizing it at its total potential. They should. So when you are really open about stuff that you are passionate about, people reach out to you.
I have reach out to so many people, and they have reached out to me. So when I put out something and they say that this is good, it really resonated with me, whoa, that’s success for me. So whenever I create something and I get feedback, yes, that’s really makes my day. That is success for me. It is work-related. It’s writing. It’s work-related.
When it comes to personal, good health, compassion and being content – being satisfied. We think we want to be happy, but we can’t always be happy, right? It will be too exhausting, honestly. So I would like to be more content. That’s my definition of success.
Tara: That’s a good one. It’s very thorough. I’d like to ask you a little bit about the feedback. When we seek out feedback now with social media, we get answers right away. We can get validated on social media, or you can feel the opposite sometimes if you’re going to see how many people liked your tweet or didn’t comment at all. Do you find a balance with that? Do you pay a lot of attention? Do you take it personally? How do you deal with sort of the lack of feedback to on social media, especially?
Fairy: It is a double-edged sword. I only trained myself to only focus on the positives but how can I ignore negative comments, right? So you really need to build your filter. Someone said something, is it adding value? If I imbibe what they’re saying, is it going to make anything better? For example, if someone said that what I posted…I wrote an essay, and they said the essay is shit, I’m going to say like, “Okay, why?” And if they’re not giving me any reason, then I don’t think I need to pay attention to that comment.
Negative feedback also means to be productive. And I think you need to build a filter where you can realize which critique is important, and which needs to be thrown into the garbage. That’s how I try to function.
Tara: Yeah, that’s good. You make it sound very easy. Is it easy? You find it easy?
Fairy: No, it is not. But it’s good hope to work on it. Also, if you’re in the profession of writing, it’s good to have a writer buddy who gives you a perspective on what is right and which feedback to focus on and whatnot. But when it comes to Twitter, people don’t give you an explanation, and that’s why it’s better to focus only on the positives and not negative one. I block people right away if I find them trolling. So I don’t have that much patience or threshold. So that helps a lot. Just block if anyone is disagreeing you just for the heck of it. Yeah, so that helps.
Tara: That’s good advice and I appreciate you sharing that with us. I wish we could get even more from you. But we are, unfortunately, out of time already. It’s gone by so fast. I know it’s late there where you are so you’re probably ready to go to sleep. But your energy is great. And we really love chatting with you today. Fairy, can you tell us and those who are listening where they can find you online on Twitter and wherever else?
Fairy: Yes. I tend to change my handle name a lot because it’s just a quirky habit I enjoy. But my name is Fairy Dharawat, and you can just find me there right away. If you want to know what my handle name is it’s @hibernatingbear because I need to go out more often. I’m not going out. Bears are really cute. I love bears.
Liam: I love it. I love it. And where can people see your illustrations or your comics? Do you post those?
Fairy: Yes. I have my Instagram and there again it’s Fairy Dharawat. It’s a page. I call myself @theradicaldoodler because it’s radical.
Tara: I can’t wait to see this – the superhero that puts people to sleep. I love it that idea.
Fairy: I would love to do it again then.
Tara: Thanks for joining us so much. Hope to meet you in person sometime.
Fairy: Would love to. It was nice. Thank you. Thank you.
Liam: Thanks, Fairy.
Fairy: Thank you. Bye-bye
Liam: Bye for now.
Liam: Thanks for listening to the show. We sure hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Tara: If you like what we’re doing here – meeting new people in our WordPress community – we invite you to tell others about it. We’re on iTunes and at hallwaychats.com.
Liam: Better yet, ask your WordPress friends and colleagues to join us on the show. Encourage them to complete the “Be on the show” form on our site, to tell us about themselves.