Anuja Kapur graduated from Delhi University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, prior to taking up a counseling position at Delhi Public School. Her fascination with criminal psychology led her towards academic excellence in that domain. She finished her postgraduation in criminal psychology, followed by a degree in forensics, from the department of anthropology at the University of Delhi.
Today, she is a full-time entrepreneur, counselor and social activist, whose role was significant during the Asifa rape case earlier this year. The team at The Times Blog is pleased to engage her in a candid chat about her life, her career choices and what lies ahead.
This is an exclusive interview with Anuja on The Times Blog, as a part of the #TimesStories initiative.
What was your family’s reaction towards your decision to become a criminal psychologist and an entrepreneur?
The word ‘entrepreneur’ is reflective of ‘challenges’. In my early days, my family frowned a lot at my decision to dive into a world that was so messed up and predominantly full of men. The task was uphill, and I had little support from my personal and professional spheres. But I always believed in putting my best foot forward, and that has worked out for me. Life has been kind. I am proud to say that I am self-made.
How important is customer service in your line of work? How did you go about setting up your USPs?
Every field has a target audience. Even those who seek assistance with criminal psychology. I have a group of customers who will definitely benefit from, and accept my unique service offering. They will do it because I go deep and figure out the exact intent behind a crime, in addition to burying those who have conspired to commit it. Timing and availability are crucial in my line of work, and I always ensure that I am available for those who need my help, day in and day out. Victims deserve justice, and I am committed to make that happen. My highlights are being special and being different in my overall approach to work. I want to build a safer country and my audience appreciates that sentiment.
Was there ever a time when you felt overwhelmed with work and unable to run your practice? What made you continue? What kept you motivated at your worst moments?
Oh yes! There were many factors which kept pulling me down - my personal health problems, the burden of being raised in a family dominated by men, my personal experiences with sexual harassment - but I never let go of my zeal and my positivity about life. I’ve always pulled through, and always made the best of a bad situation.
Who are you most influenced by, and what is your takeaway from their words/actions?
If this makes sense to you - I am influenced and motivated by the pain that victims of hate crimes endure. I have been touched by the stories of acid attack survivors and rape victims. They inspire me to seek justice on their behalf. It is a basic right for which I am ready to fight.
What advice would you give to your ten-year younger self, if given an opportunity?
- Don’t ever compromise your future on the basis of your gender, and never look back at a decision you have made already.
- It is never too late as life goes on. You will survive.
- In the pursuit of unparalleled adventures, never compromise on your basic happiness.
- You have to put up a fight with your bad days in order to make way for the good ones.
- Eventually, age is just a number.
Any advice to aspiring criminal psychologists?
- The right dynamism, strength and critical thinking skills are the very essence of this job.
- Learn to work hard. If you are an aspiring lawyer, be prepared for some seriously tough competition ahead of you.
- Learn how to analyze things and take advantage of any mock trial, debate, etc. Learn how to engage in appropriate arguments.
- Persistency is the road to becoming a lawyer. It may take a lot longer than you expect, but perseverance will get you through.
- A strong sense of intuition is important, as the truth is never completely black or white.
- Always be analytical and observational, because people speak with their reactions and interactions with their immediate surroundings.
- Problem-solving is a key skill, because you will never fall short of analytical problems in this journey.
- Have patience and develop empathy for victims. Learn how to console their families when the need arises.
Is there anyone whom you want to thank?
The acid attack survivors I worked with in my early days, are the main reason why I do what I do today. I thank my family members, for putting up a good challenge when I wanted to do my own thing and then eventually turning around. I thank my team, that has always been by my side.
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