“Everyone can achieve what they want”

Inspiring people

21/11/2016

Asha Miró (Nasik, 1967) was one of the first adopted children to arrive in Catalonia in the 1970s. Her story exemplifies determination, effort and sacrifice as she gradually achieved everything she set out to do. In addition to teaching (her childhood dream), she is a writer, illustrator and TV presenter. Her life is inextricably linked to art, culture and volunteer work, primarily as a way of giving back what she received. She met us in the interior courtyard of the Hotel Alma in Barcelona. A little green oasis in the heart of the city.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DCBxaM8AJPM

Your first book Daughter of the Ganges brought you recognition. What do you remember of that time and how has your life changed since?

It was a lovely time. First of all, when you write a book about your life, you remember everything. You try to be as honest as possible. And then seeing the impact it made was like a gift.

I imagine you were incredibly busy...

Yes, I worked a lot during those years. What makes me happiest about that time is that talking about adoption is no longer a taboo, as it was back then.

What do you remember about arriving in Catalonia and about your early life in India?

It was pretty tough. I came from a country full of light and color, and Barcelona was a very gray, cold city in 1974. I'd never worn a coat and shoes before. Also, the streets were empty, and I was used to seeing streams of people everywhere.

You were disappointed...

I thought the country wasn't lively enough, but over time I realized it is a wonderful place.

You were six when you arrived... What do you remember about your years in India?

I remember them being quite sad, because I was in an orphanage with a lot of other girls. It was a place where you had to grow up fast and find your own way to get what you wanted. When I was five, I discovered the existence of something called parents and realized how absolutely amazing this was. That day I thought, I want parents, and I didn't stop until I got them.

In other words, you did everything you could to find parents?

Exactly, I did the process in reverse. I wanted parents, and after a year and a half, I found them.

And you wanted them to be from Barcelona...

Yes, I kept focusing the search. Sometime earlier, a sister of mine at the orphanage had been adopted by a family from Barcelona, and I wanted the same thing to happen to me.

When you arrived in Catalonia, adoption wasn't as common as it is now. Do you think it is easier to be an adopted child nowadays?

Being adopted is much more common now, but we're faced with other more worrisome factors that didn't exist before, such as racism or school bullying. New technology is a decisive factor in this.

So you had it easier then?

I think so. Kids face far greater challenges now; it isn't easy.

What comes to mind when you hear the name Miró?

A painting by Miró full of light and colors. I can't live without colors. All of the Mirós are artistically inclined and very creative.

Now I understand where the writer and illustrator in you comes from...

Yes, it is all quite contagious. My family also loved music, and then you gradually realize you can't live without it. Music is what keeps me going.

Did your first six years in India shape your personality?

Yes. I always say you're born in a place, and that place, your homeland, stays with you forever. Genes work that way. I realized this when I went back 20 years later. I realized I needed to see colors, burn incense at home, have moments of peace. It's part of my DNA.

I suppose they also influenced your understanding and approach to life.

Definitely. When you go from having nothing to suddenly having everything, you realize you can't go through life with indifference. You feel this need to give back. I'm so fortunate to have this life, and I believe so many people deserve to have the same opportunity. That's what I'm fighting for.

You are fortunate to have the life you do, but you also worked for it.

Sure, that's true, but the mere fact of having access to education makes a huge difference. For many children having the same opportunity would change their lives completely.

You waited 20 years before going back to India. Was that intentional?

It was a complete coincidence. I went back at 27 as a work camp volunteer. I wanted to go back, but I also felt the need to contribute some of what I'd learned over those 20 years.

When did your commitment to aid work and the rights of children begin?

At a very young age. We're not born with an innate sense of solidarity; it is something we learn. In my family, we always wanted to help others. Growing up with that kind of a perspective on the world increases your commitment. To give without expecting anything in return is wonderful.

More and more families are adopting children. When is the best moment to explain to them where they come from? Do you think doing so is necessary?

It's only natural. Children start asking when they’re very young. They need to understand the reason for their existence. It is nicer and more logical to explain it to them from a young age. It's like a fairytale or a story that you keep adding to. Tell them without fear and always put the truth first. Also, parents need to help the children love their country of origin.

In your case, India. What does the country mean to you?

It is my second home, and I always need to go back. At first I struggled when I went back, but now I love it.

Do you go often?

Yes, I have family there, and I need to stay in touch with them.

Let's talk about your work as a writer. What drew you to writing books? You once said you'd never be a writer...

My mother told me from a very young age that I had to write every day. She made me write. When I returned from India at 27, I was asked to write an article for a newspaper. I did it, and they liked it. That's when they suggested I write a book. It was a challenge, so I said yes.

A big challenge...

Yes, absolutely. It took me two years to write the book. I poured out so many emotions and feelings. I cried every day. It was a catharsis of sorts. As I wrote, I was healing all those old wounds.

And you've kept going...

I love writing; I need it. You're given the chance to explain how you feel, what you think. You breathe life into characters. You become the little god of their stories and lives. It's wonderful. For me writing is like being the conscience of others. My books always have a purpose. A message. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense.

One of your novels, Traces of Sandalwood, was turned into a movie. What was it like to see one of your stories on the big screen?

It was a gift—seeing what you have written leave the page, allowing people to visualize and enjoy the story through cinema. The film helped people understand what it means to live in the West and the East. The two countries have a lot in common even if it doesn't seem that way at first.

Is there any part of your life that you regret having written about?

No. Life is all about learning from your mistakes. Without mistakes you’ll never grow as a person.

What do you want to write about next?

So many things! There is no shortage of stories, but they have to move people.

Your story has definitely been inspiring...

My story is one of many, some of which are even more moving, but what matters most is knowing that everyone can achieve what they want. Whatever you long for can become a reality.

 

A Brief Taste

Do you like wine?

Yes, I love it.

What is the best moment to enjoy a glass of wine?

Any time. But especially before dinner.

A song to accompany a good wine.

Anything by Van Morrisson.

A place (city, village) to get lost in.

Plaça Sant Felip Neri, on the terrace of the Neri Hotel.

If you could be reincarnated, who or what would you be?

A better person. Nelson Mandela, for example.

What do you do in your free time?

I have a garden. I love pampering my plants. I also like reading and drawing.

A flaw.

I'm very impatient.

A virtue.

I'm forgiving, and I try to love people as they are.

What did you want to be as a kid?

A teacher.

And when you're older?

I want to give my time to others. Do things that are good for my soul.

Categorías: Inspiring people