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Everyday Heroes
Anita Contemplative writer, student of human nature, dedicated humanitarian, passionate outdoorswoman. Sprightly imp, self-effacing comedienne, mischievous joker, self-described provocateur. She is known as Spike. more ... ]

Everyday Heroes 

Anita Iyer -- 'Anita the Dove'
-- by Mark Jacobs

Contemplative writer, student of human nature, dedicated humanitarian, passionate outdoorswoman. She is known as Anita the Dove.

Sprightly imp, self-effacing comedienne, mischievous joker, self-described provocateur. She is known as Spike.

These are merely two of the many facets of Anita Iyer, the complex, charismatic woman who has crafted several of the volunteer profiles on the CF website. A freelance journalist for The Times of India and Bombay's Free Press Journal by day, spinner of fiction by night, Anita's energy never seems to ebb. When not beating deadlines at her keyboard, or giving her time to one of many CF projects, Anita can be found in the old-age homes, cancer wards, and slums of Bombay, lending an empathetic ear to the less fortunate and assisting them in finding the social services they need. When she is able to find time to herself, Anita finds release in the creative process. She paints and writes short stories.

Newly weds: Anita & Satya

Above all else, Anita loves trekking in the hills of Maharastra and dancing. For Anita, dance is her 'lifeline,' a way of expressing joy and beating back sadness. It is not surprising, then, that one of her most memorable moments was letting loose in a spontaneous solo ballet on a mountaintop in Matheran. "There was no one around -- it was 2:00 in the morning -- just me, the earth, and the sky! It was raining and there was lightning, and I felt this inexplicable connection to the world."

With all that she does, when does she find time to sleep? "Not often," she says. "My grandmother calls me bramharakshashi, which means something like the devil who never sleeps in Sanskrit."

Despite her busy, active life, Anita has the energy and intelligence to excel in all she does with seeming ease. After finishing first in her class at Bombay University, she was rewarded with a post-degree scholarship in journalism. Since embarking on her career, Anita has covered everything from the emergence of collectivist societies to celebrity interviews. But she saves her most thoughtful writing for her short stories, which capture the feel of wild landscapes and reveal the subtle, magical interplay of people from different backgrounds. As a character in one of her stories says, "One always carries with them what they are born with." And yet, Anita is always looking to break down the barriers between people born into different circumstances, and to explore aspects of her potential that may not be native to her.

Perhaps a hybrid between her scholarly joy in the written word and her rascally playfulness, Anita has made a couple of forays into theater, tackled with her typical aplomb. Her first starring role was in a touching parable concerning a mouse and a lion. The details of the performance are a little sketchy, because Ani (as the theater-going public called her back then) was only 6 at the time. More recently, she stitched together a one-woman show from pieces of her stories and performed it at a college drama festival. She won the jury grand prize, naturally!

Anita is already knee-deep in her latest adventure: relocation from Bombay to California with her husband (and CF volunteer!), Satya. Which Anita turned up at San Francisco International Airport? All of them!

[ email anita ]

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