As she strode effortlessly in her elegant maroon attire and walked into the room, she looked every bit royal. Belonging to the Nilagiri Princely States of the Orissa States Agency, I had the luck to interview Miss Prakriti Kumari. Humble and polite, she exuded an aura of warmth about herself. She is a patron of traditional art, culture, and cuisine. While simultaneously exploring the corporate field, she manages to set a precedent for what she believes in to achieve a fine balance in life. What struck me was her emphasis on being a good person rather than a great one.
Q. To begin with, please talk about yourself, your hobbies, interests, etc.
A. I am a sensitive person who seeks strength in becoming emotionally intelligent. My interest lies in reading, writing, and watching credible TV shows. I try to gather as much knowledge as possible, be receptive to new experiences, and keep myself updated with the happenings of the world. I love tending to street dogs and have adopted one as well. I believe consideration for people and animals makes one humble and grounded. Given the constant rush of the world, where everyone aims to go for the best and seeks instant gratification, it is important to live in the present and live gratefully.
I work as a coordinator in the international relations team at a prestigious institution in Bhubaneswar. My interest lies in the fact that communication makes people come closer, and I strive to use my skillset to the best of my abilities. Coming from a royal family, I am fully aware of the prestige that comes along, and I don’t believe in relying on that silver spoon. I strive to break this stereotype about royal lineage.
Q. What was your life like while growing up, as a child from a royal lineage?
A. One of the most prominent facts I got acquainted with, was how I lived in a protected atmosphere. Where I hail from and the value system I inherited don’t motivate me to go out and do what you call ‘party hard’. It is imperative to keep in mind the image and reputation of the lineage while keeping our individuality intact. I believe that there should be a fine balance between experiencing new things and retaining who we are. I acknowledged and accepted who I was with pride and, hence, never questioned my identity. Furthermore, if anything, it has only inspired me to go above and beyond and take steps to be a good human and humanitarian. Be it tending to the stray dogs, helping the needy, or encouraging my house-helps to further inspire their children to study hard and do well, I feel it all counts as goodwill.
I believe that to be even worthy of preaching, one has to set a suitable precedent. If my people respect me, I make sure that I give them a reason to do that, and not just my lineage.
Q. What is one observation from your young days that you now see as an essential takeaway?
A. I was born in Delhi, brought up in Bhubaneswar, and have met people from all walks of life. While in school I had friends from supposedly the higher strata of society, while in college I befriended people from not-so-affluent households. The point is, I learned a lot from both diversities and in-betweens. Every individual has something or other to bring to the table; we’ve got to see what fits our belief system and subsequently make room for more beginnings and novel takeaways.
One aspect that enables us to become familiar with different personalities and places is travelling. I love to travel and encourage others to pursue it as well. I believe travelling is something that opens our minds and makes us more privy to the vastness of the world, hence humbling us. Once we notice a change in our perspective, be it that of acceptance or a revived sense of being, it shows that travel has indeed changed us.
Q. Who would you take as your inspiration? Someone you look up to?
A. My father. My grandfather used to encourage my dad to go beyond the royal realms and explore possibilities in the corporate field. He urged him to take a leap of faith, believe in himself, and make a mark. Hence, my dad began his journey at the tender age of eighteen in the fields of hotel management and liaison, and later becoming the Vice president of the Reliance Group in Orissa, continuing to work there for eleven years. Moreover, his corporate duties never gave him a reason to neglect his heritage role. He tends to our ancestral Palace in Bhubaneshwar and even keeps coming up with innovative ideas for its maintenance. The fine balance that he brings to being a responsible parent and diligent son to the family is admirable to me too. His willingness to get out of his comfort zone and prove his mettle with no support whatsoever is what makes my father my inspiration, and my role model.
Q. Do you believe that there are stereotypes or certain opinions about Indian royalty in today’s times? If yes, what would your insights on that be?
A. India is a land that had a rich princely past, the royals of which still exist today and are revered and respected a lot. I feel the narrative of what does and what does not begin with oneself. Though I haven’t come across any misconceived notions about my lineage as such, I could say that royalty has come a long way. Indian royalty is more ‘real’ now, for we have learned our ways beyond the princely world and into the real one. The only difference I witness is that of a good one- how everyone is making efforts to make their mark in this world, whatever be their family background. Maharani Gayatri Devi ji for instance, knew from the very beginning, how and what it was to bring about a balance in defining oneself while keeping the label of royalty intact. One can have their own rules while still following traditions, right? Be a rebel, but, of course, with a cause.