Rupi Kaur On Her New Book, Healing, And The Power Of Community
Filing home body under self-care
Internet’s favourite poet Rupi Kaur’s third book released last month, and is anyone even surprised that it’s debuted on New York Times as a bestseller? home body follows suit with her earlier works – milk and honey, and the sun and her flowers – it will have you leafing through illustrations and short poems. Read on for an exclusive interview.
ELLE: Besides working on home body, what has kept you occupied lately?
Rupi Kaur: I’ve been well and busy throughout quarantine, spending time with family. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading, baking, cooking, eating and learning new types of art. Recently, I’ve been occupied with the farmer’s protests in India. As a member of the Punjabi diaspora, my community and I are deeply connected to our people back home, and our ancestral land. After a protest a few weeks ago, my aunt called and said, ‘They can try to take what we have. They’ve tried for generations to wipe us out – but our spirit will never extinguish.’ As Punjabi farmers marched towards Delhi, I thought of what she said. I thought of what protest, resilience, and resistance means to our people. How it’s a common thread through which we’ve resisted one oppressor after another. I’ve been spending most of my days in the last month talking to protestors on the ground and organising efforts locally.
ELLE: home body debuted at #1 on the NYT list. How did you celebrate the success?
RK: Once my city comes out of lockdown, I hope to get together with my friends and celebrate with them – but god knows when that will be! I just want to be with the people who helped me finish this book. In the meantime, I’m celebrating by taking things slowly.
ELLE: Your work is around ‘nature and nurture’; do you enjoy gardening as a hobby?
RK: Indoor trees are magical, and my favourite plant at home is my fig tree. My parents garden, a practice that’s close to our culture. They plant everything from tomatoes to basil, mint, and peppers – everything!
ELLE: How do you heal yourself?
RK: Healing is a practice – there is really no finish line. It’s everyday work. I meditate and do therapy when I need to. I also practice mindful breathing. Journaling and art help me a lot, as well. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle, putting your phone away, and spending an evening reading.
ELLE: What would you say to those who struggle with making peace with themselves? Where and how does one start on this journey of embracing the self?
RK: I want them to know they’re not alone. Finding peace and maintaining it is very difficult. And the irony of it all is that it’s when we feel the most down, that we’ve got to remember that our potential is truly limitless. And I think meditation is a powerful tool. For me, it’s been the most powerful tool when it comes to learning how to embrace myself and manage my anxiety. Spending time having conversations with my friends about these struggles also helps. We can’t heal alone. We need our community around us.