As part of FII’s new Meet the Team series, we are featuring former and current employees who have worked with or are working with us currently since the inception of FII. Feminism in India as a digital intersectional feminist media platform would not exist if not for these incredible individuals who have helped build this organisation to make what it is today.
Today, we’re chatting with Adishi Gupta, who is a Gender Studies graduate from Ambedkar University Delhi. Currently, she works as a content editor with Mad in Asia Pacific. She founded Letters of Kindness in June 2019. Her interest lies in advocating for mental and emotional well-being for a more sensitised world. She believes in the potential of kindness and empathy as counter-forces against the widespread hatred and insensitivity. She joined a mental health awareness initiative online called Mental Health Talks India in May 2018 as the co-founder. Her writings on gender and mental health have appeared on various platforms, both online and offline.
FII was more or less the beginning of her writing journey. Adishi joined FII in 2016 as an editor and was part of the voluntary team before FII formally started operations. Let’s find out more about Adishi’s journey at FII!
FII: Which fictional character do you identify with and why?
Adishi: Somehow I have not felt seen by a lot of fictional characters, not entirely anyway. There are bits and pieces of characters that I have found myself in, but mostly, I find it easier to identify with people and their stories in non-fiction narratives (specifically, memoirs). It was in the way Jeanette Winterson wrote about her sense of absolute un-belongingness and neglect in ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal’ that I felt belonged for the first time as a young adult, just as it was in Tara Westover’s complex navigation and negotiations with her education, her personhood and her family in her memoir ‘Educated’ that I felt a reassuring nudge that I am not alone.
FII: What is something that you’re tired of hearing?
Adishi: I am tired of hearing that our mental health struggles are somehow the result of some innate faults we may have as a person like it’s a personal failure. I am tired of the absolute removal of our mental health realities from our social realities as people existing in an oppressive world.
FII: Tell us about a particular incident that happened to you at work that you will always remember.
Adishi: I fondly think of the day we made posters for the #IWillGoOut march in the office and also the 8 March International Women’s Day marches. They would always fill me with so much hope! I also think of days when we used to work out of cafes in CP, a time there wasn’t really a physical office space.
FII: Do you remember when and why you decided to work at a feminist organisation?
Adishi: I had been a reader of FII long before I went ahead and decided to become a part of it. I remember reading one of the published pieces and finding some grammatical errors in the piece. I spoke to Japleen about volunteering to edit the submissions received and that was the beginning of my journey.
FII: If you had a talk show, which feminist icon would you call and what would you ask them?
Adishi: I have always been greatly influenced by the work of Toni Morrison, especially ‘Beloved’. I read it for the first time around 5-6 years ago and I am still in awe of the layered complexities that that book carries. I think I would just keep blabbering about how much I love this book and would also somehow try to know how she came to conceptualise it and put it down the way she has.
FII thanks Adishi Gupta for her timely and valuable contribution to the organisation. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our team and appreciate her for her deeply insightful work.