Footprints from Formative Years
The biggest truth about life is that it’s constantly changing….Night turns to Day….Seasons change, Moments become Minutes, and I am no exception.
In my early years, I was extremely self-conscious of my short stature and did not believe that I was capable of achieving anything grand. My height was my biggest challenge!! It was one of my teachers, who encouraged me to discover my innate value and potential, and not be swayed by those who wrote me off as being short and incapable. The exact words which inspired me to change my life were “Do not make anyone’s opinion your own reality. What matters is your own opinion of yourself!” These words proved to be the catalyst for me to appear for the Army Medical Board competitive exams, which I cleared with flying colors. I joined the MNS Corps of the Indian Army in 1977, stood first in the All India Merit list and was awarded the President’s Gold Medal along with the Air Force Station (Bangalore) trophy as the best cadet. I was one of the first lady officers from Himachal Pradesh in the MNS Corps. Once I wore my uniform, the same people who used to laugh at me, changed their opinion about me. I managed to prove it to my critics that it does not matters what lies between your head and feet, but what lies between your head and neck that matters. It’s what fuel you inject inside your brain that matters. So Think positive and believe in yourself.
Invigorating experience at Indian Army
Getting into the army was the best thing that ever happened to me. As a civilian teenager, I had never learnt the meaning of routine, but in army, ‘D” is the biggest word – discipline, determination, dedication and drive. I was taught time management, life management, self-management and of course emotion management along with my regular studies of MNS. It really wasn’t easy back there. The training was rigorous, so much so, there were many girls who left the forces midway. However, I stuck on one thought which was “Success doesn’t really come easy, and to get into the Indian army is like cracking a tough nut.” ‘Give- up’ is a word that doesn’t really exist. We were taught that, if one has to achieve what they want to in earnest; they have to ready themselves to take on the challenges that are going to be doled out. After all, difficulties only makes one stronger and more accepting to the flip side of success. My hard work paid, as I stood first in All India Merit List during all three years of my training. It was not only the biggest achievement for me, but for the entire unit of CHAFB. Never in the history of the unit did someone do so well.
Finding the Passion-fueled Purpose
Back in late seventies, people were not as much exposed nor felt the need to enhance their image. Academic qualification was the most important thing which was taken into consideration. However, as people started globetrotting and commerce hit the international market, it becomes crucial to get out of the shell and match up to the global standards in every possible way. This included personal packaging as well. During my training in the army, all officers had to go through a special course called OLQ (Officers like Quality), the curriculum also included all kind of etiquette and social graces. I loved the subject and always dreamt of starting an etiquette and personality enhancement program after I hang my uniform. I took voluntary retirement in 1982. My journey goes back to 1984 where I started training people on personality development with just six students onboard, which has now spread worldwide with countless students who’ve been trained by me. I have also ventured into Beauty Pageant coaching, where I train Boys, girls, and kids to enter the pageant world. I am proud to say so many of my students have brought laurels to the country.
Beyond the Barricades
To who I am today, I majorly give credit to my critics who had written me off. I thank them for hurling stones at me. I made a bridge with those stones, cemented them with faith and self-belief and now I stand tall over the bridge. The urge to prove to the world that life comes in all shapes and sizes, and that short people can do anything tall people can do too, pushed me to my limits and beyond. I blocked out and became deaf to all the negativity in order to pursue my goals. So, once again I thank my doubters, my critics. I couldn't have done it without them.
People still call me short when I stand next to my six feet tall models, I just smile thinking inwardly “I may appear short to you, but I am as much under the ground as I am above it….so I am much taller than you…. hahahaha”. Yes, I wanted to be Miss India, Air hostess, Model, Actress, but Almighty has been kind to fulfill my dreams indirectly. I am now creating them!
Changing Lives with RIGAHAUS
Over the years, and now with so many digital platforms, glamour has become the buzz world. Personality Development is an important skill required in image building and that’s where students from far and wide approached me. This is when RIGAHAUS was born with a tagline-“From Person to Personality”
My aim is to reach out to students in the remotest of villages too and polish their personality. Hence I have authored a book, “The Beauty Pageant’s Greenroom -An ultimate Grooming Bible”. The essence of the book is to provide the reader a plethora of life skills and everything they would like to know about enhancing their personality, polishing social etiquette, being articulate, perfecting their style of dressing, etc. to project an image that unanimously stands out in the crowd. The book is a gamut of the nuances of life skills for everyone who wishes to shine and glitter by grooming themselves just by holding a book and not having to go through the rigmarole of attending grooming workshops.
My advice to those who are troubled with low self-esteem is to understand that no one is perfect. We are all perfect in our imperfections. Accept yourself as you are. That’s your uniqueness. No one can be you and that’s a fact. Love yourself! When your opinion of yourself goes up then you’ll stop trying to get so much validation and attention from other people. You become less needy and find an inner stability and strength even when your world might be negative or uncertain at times. The increasing level of self-esteem and self-worth also makes you feel more deserving of good things in life and so you’ll self-sabotage less and go after what you deep down want with more motivation and focus than ever before.
Finding the perfect balance
Balance is not about better time management, but better boundary management. I try to keep both my personal and professional life separate and stick to the time lines. Weekends are all for the family and I switch off my professional phone after 6 pm. On the other hand working from home is all about creating Team work. We all follow our set of duties. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.
Supreme Diversity of Events
A mother is fond of all her babies. All her kids are favorite to her; similarly, all events of my life have been the best! Even if they have been traumatic, they have taught me a lot. However, if I had to choose one event out of all, I would describe my life in the armed forces as the best. The training I received, the disciple, dedication and determination I learnt, unconditional service to the nation and the glamour of uniform, I miss it all.
A message to our readers
The wisest, most loving, and well-rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have been shattered by heartbreak and failure. Yes, life creates the greatest humans by breaking them first. Their destruction into pieces allows them to be fine-tuned and reconstructed into a masterpiece. Truly, it’s the painstaking journey of falling apart and coming back together that fills their hearts and minds with a level of compassion, understanding, and deep loving wisdom that can’t possibly be acquired any other way. Life is too short to let fear make big decisions for you. He knows the water best who has waded through it. Failures make you stronger; Don’t ever be afraid of being broken.