As a young girl growing up in Rourkela, India, Sweta Vikram loved signing autographs on her school books, then covering them with standard brown paper. Vikram continues to sign books, albeit as autographs on published books sporting her name.
“A Piece of Peace” is Vikram’s new book, which will be launched September 21. Her latest effort comes after 12 earlier books that have covered topics including poetry, yoga, multi-culturism and wellness. While the themes may be diverse, there is a common thread that runs through them all – women empowerment. Vikram’s books focus on teaching a more holistic approach to creativity, productivity, health, and nutrition.
“A Piece of Peace” is about Vikram’s personal struggle with a near-fatal disease. It is an autobiographical account of her fight for survival and her subsequent victory. The book is about her journey back to wellness, through mindfulness and Ayurvedic healing. It exemplifies the true resilience of the human spirit. In the book, she shares her vulnerabilities, recommendations, interviews experts, and reminds us, that our response to a situation, determines our path in life.
Vikram credits her dad for encouraging her to a path of writing. He possessed the dual and somewhat differing qualities of being an engineer and a poet. His idea of gifts – were and has been – books. Vikram slowly began to appreciate these gifts, even if they were not toys or dresses.
She recalls, “He got me into reading and introduced me to the world of stories. I didn’t realize at that time what a gift that was for a child. He reminded me of the importance of stories and words.”
After a few years of living in Libya, Vikram’s parents realized the potential of their young daughter and so sent her to Oak Grove, a boarding school in Mussoorie, back in India. There, Vikram discovered her artistic inclinations, and soon became the chief editor of the school magazine. The school also played its part in molding her into a successful writer.
“The number of people that have graduated from my school and have gone on to join films, television, production, and other creative fields are innumerable,” she says. “There are hardly any doctors or lawyers from my batch. So school also had something to do with it.”
After completing the first of many post-graduate courses in sports nutrition, Vikram started working for Kellogg’s in Mumbai, India. The writing bug followed her to the U.S., where she moved in 1999, and where she continued writing, while either studying or working.
“I have three master’s degrees and have never stopped studying,” she says. “My creative journey was going on at one side and my wellness story was percolating on the other.”
While working on her degrees, Vikram also spent time improving herself as a writer. This involved attending writing classes, speaking to other authors and joining communities to hone her skills. She found time to do all this at the end of her day job.
“My husband was very supportive in all of this, ‘cause obviously this did not leave me anytime for dal, chawal and tadka,” she says. “He encouraged me to focus on writing.”
Vikram is not only an accomplished author, but also an international speaker, a trained yogi and a certified Ayurveda health coach committed to helping people thrive on their own terms.
She credits her mental strength and her ability to wear numerous hats to the yoga and meditation she practices.
Vikram explains, “I realized that yoga and meditation was not slowing me down, but were channeling my energies in such a specific way that it made it possible for me to juggle my studies, my work, and my writing, all at the same time.”
The yogi, through her books and talks, promotes the importance of wellness and how essential it is for everyone in today’s high-pressure world.
Vikram realized that anxiety, diet, and lifestyle are essential parts of anyone’s success. That’s when she began employing her knowledge of yoga and Ayurveda, to design routines for entrepreneurs, corporate professionals and creative personalities. In 2016, she launched NimmiLife – named after her mother, who passed away six years ago.
Vikram remembers her mother saying, “We try to save the world, but we cannot save the people we love the most. My mother was known for literally bringing people back to life and back from hospitals, through just her cooking. Now that I know Ayurveda, I realize that the kitchen is the easiest access to the apothecary.”
Vikram implores women to pay attention to their health and well-being. Her definition of women empowerment calls for prioritizing yourself and putting your wellness above all else. Her message to all women is “Your empowerment does not exist, unless you are taking care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you heal your family, your home, and your community.”
As a best-selling author, Vikram’s nugget of wisdom to all the budding writers is First ask yourself why you want to write and then take out the time to write on a daily basis. Write, not when you have a muse, but be consistent and show up every day.”
“If I am going through something, I write. It is like my self-induced therapy or healing. My writing is very much centered around wellness, creativity and giving women a voice.”Sweta Vikram on what motivates her to write each day
Vikram’s books have interesting and intriguing titles: “Wet Silence,” “Louisiana Catch,” “Saris and a Single Malt,” and “Beyond the Scent of Sorrow.” She explains the thought process behind the selection of each title.
“Anything that I write depends upon what I am feeling at that moment. Mostly, the stories pick me. A lot of my poetry books have been about women who didn’t have a voice, so I shared their stories. It is also about my experiences, like in the case of ‘A Piece of Peace.’”
Vikram lives in New York City with her husband, and works with clients across the globe. When she is not busy penning down her thoughts on paper, she finds time to teach yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as to incarcerated men and women.