A love affair between psychology and literature

Hello! This week we are in conversation with Krishnaa and Maroushka, founders of Autumn Leaf Magazine. Read on to find out about their annual magazine full of fascinating and well-researched psychological articles with a literary flair!



3 years ago | 7 min read

Hello! This week we are in conversation with Krishnaa and Maroushka, founders of Autumn Leaf Magazine. Read on to find out about their annual magazine full of fascinating and well-researched psychological articles with a literary flair!

What inspired you to start this magazine?

The initiation of this magazine was purely due to mutual personal interest in Psychology and Literature. We wanted to provide a platform to writers and artists who aspired to explore this particular arena and reach out to people who share a similar interest.

What is your vision for this magazine? What is the kind of stuff that you want to put out there?

Ours is an annual magazine that sits on the intersection of psychology and literature, but in no way is limited to the stereotypical domain of literature and psychology, as we are not here to represent the classic medical side of things but give voice to niche areas that highlight psychology’s role in everyday lives. Like in one of our articles we focus on the issue of masks and why some people refuse to wear them, we take note of the cognitive bias and heuristics of how people react to such a traumatic event and defy the rules. Through our medium, we hope to give a platform to writers, illustrators, and everyone willing to question the default and talk about the things otherwise not discussed in a traditional classroom setting.

Our main idea is to tell people that psychology is not restricted to mental health or therapy or clinical psychology like people usually connect it with. It's so much more than that! And to explain that, we have articles that emphasize economic behavior and choice architecture. As far as the literature aspect is concerned, we have a deep love for the subject and we realized there are no platforms that kind of look into these aspects together. We aim to make the content accessible to everyone, someone who is a first-time reader and also someone who knows this field. This is why while we were starting out, our one advice for the writers was to not be heavy on jargon, and we have made sure to provide definition as a means to increase readership and create better understanding.

What kind of target audience do you seek for readership?

As for the audience, we don't have a niche target audience. We don't plan on restricting the magazine to any certain groups based on age or occupation. We intend to reach out to as many people as possible. However, specifying the content and pieces, we think it might be more relatable to the student community, especially +2 students, college students, and even students doing their masters, who need to manage their mental health and successfully evade the anxiety and achieve their dreams.

We can’t help but think that there’s a metaphor behind the name of your magazine! What does “Autumn leaf” signify?

The changing colors of an autumn leaf signify change and growth, gracefully evolving with time. As they say, change is the only constant! And by chance or not, it was also autumn season when we were working on our first issue before we finally published it in November 2020!

In the prologue, you mention that this magazine was conceived along with many other babies in this period of the pandemic. Can we say that had it not been for the pandemic you two would have been pursuing different careers and doing different things?

Maroushka- I think maybe if there was no pandemic, we would have not been on this journey to create ‘Autumn leaf’. I believe that we would have maybe worked on it separately, in different areas but definitely not in this way together.

Krishnaa - Given my self-awareness, I know for a fact that I would have ventured into the area of magazine writing and graphic designing, as during my bachelor's, I had been the editor of the club and had some sort of experience in this direction. We can say that the spunk of creating a magazine was always there and so when I saw this opportunity to create this magazine with Maroushka, with whom I have been friends since college, I immediately seized it.

Also, would you like to highlight any of the struggles that you had to get through while putting out this magazine?

Maroushka - I don't think I will call it a struggle but a process. However, one major concern for us was getting all the writers on board and asking them to meet the deadline was somewhat tough. Also, I am new to editing so I found it a bit challenging.

Krishnaa- I believe that everything you do for the first time is a challenge. Especially given that we were doing it independently, without having a college institution to guide us. Initially, I wanted to hire professional graphic designers but then realized that the creative freedom that comes along with doing things on your own is irreplaceable. So, I handled that part on my own, the process of which was somewhat challenging.

Would you like to tell us something about your team? How did you meet them? How do you motivate each other and take time to check in on one another during these tumultuous times?

We are still in the nascent stage, so we don't have a big team. Our team consists of six members, including four writers; they are cheerful and optimistic souls, and we share similar purposes. Three are our juniors having the same educational background and the fourth one is a schoolmate of ours; needless to say, their belief is serving pretty much similar requirements as ours. We all have the same values and ideologies regarding these topics and a similar idea of making it available to everyone interested. We have always tried to maintain symbiotic relations, disregarding any power hierarchy, thus enabling us to have flexible communication and an ample and friendly workspace. We have had bonding sessions before to get to know each other well and motivate one another. And being an annual magazine, we don't have such exhaustive schedules; this helps us more efficiently. We have never had any significant disagreements; we consider all opinions and try our level best to put the most insightful content for our readers.


In your first article choice architecture you talk about nudge theory and how certain beneficiaries tend to subconsciously influence our decisions, now since you are a psych graduate do you no longer fall for amazon sales? What kind of role does knowledge play in it?

Maroushka- I don't think so, it's not like we don't fall for it, It's like saying a doctor cannot fall sick. It's just that we are more aware of it. Being a psychology graduate has definitely provided us with an understanding of how to cope up with things and the self - awareness.

Krishnaa- I believe once you are aware, you do realize how much of your psyche is being used against you and how you can weaponize it for yourselves while communicating with somebody else. For eg- I have been on Amazon and so I try to refrain from walking into such traps, and I have been successful. But you are not always aware because there are 100 other things going on in your mind. I have made efforts and I have been successful half of the time; so yes knowledge and awareness do help but given the pandemic, a lot of shopping in my household has inevitably shifted online because it is not safe to venture out which limits your options.

Most of your articles revolve around the issue of mental health and behavioral science, according to you what is the state of Indians when it comes to mental health awareness?

We’re pretty sure that there has been an upsurge in this area recently. Before, people used to acknowledge their mental health only when they go through a breakdown or at the edge of burnout, which is not correct. It would be best if you acknowledge it every day. We suspect a tremendous increase due to pandemic; more people are reaching out for help and talking about these critical unspoken topics and are more aware now. People are now becoming more aware of how human psychology and behavioral science are helpful in various fields like economics, market research, and corporates. They are now more informed about it and more comfortable talking it out. They have understood that it is not just related to mental health; it is beyond the medical aspect.

Among the so many topics that you were able to touch through your magazine and your blog which is the one, you are most driven about? Or have you experienced any of these issues? If yes, are you still in recovery?

Krishnaa- I have been personally most interested in parenting because it is fascinating to see the impact one’s environment can have on what one grows up to be. There is a famous dialogue in psychology that goes- Nurture works on what nature allows. We are born with certain genetic hardware but it is the environment around us that can limit or facilitate our growth. Another thing which I am quite interested in, and also hopefully will talk about in the next edition is ‘Agents of socialization’, i.e., how everybody and everything influences you into becoming who you are. To take your example, you have a community that revolves around gratitude, and how that has touched people’s lives.


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