Building an Early Foundation:
Being in the armed forces was my dream. I was an Under-officer Army NCC cadet who had represented TN directorate in Delhi in a Leadership camp and therefore I always dreamt of being an army officer and don the Military uniform. Finally, my hard work paid off - I was selected for the Indian Navy instead and got my specialized training from the Indian Air Force. I got the best of all the three services and I consider myself lucky.
While in the Navy, I discovered the adventure freak within me. I did open sea swimming when I had barely learnt swimming and was part of IN women sky diving team. Post retirement in 2017, I joined my husband in a country in Europe where he was posted on deputation and it was there that I realized my life means much more than looking after my household and my family. It was there, I started taking self-development classes for foreign teenagers. In addition, I made a bucket list for myself in my moments of epiphany.
My bucket list is big and it not only has what I want to do in my span of life but also how I want to leave behind my legacy. Participating in a beauty pageant was something in contrast to my life until then. For once I wanted to wear stilettos instead of the boots, the evening gown instead of ceremonial uniforms and the crown instead of peak caps. Life was adventurous in the Navy and so was participating in an international pageant like Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide. It was held in the gorgeous city of Thessaloniki, Greece.
During the competition I got to do some work for cancer patients and especially abled children. I was groomed by industry’s best stylists and groomers. I was also fortunate to have got personally trained by Bollywood anchor, stylist, and Coach Ms. VandanaVadhera. It is said that “Every new challenge in life demands a different you.”, so the pageant not only demanded a different dimension of me but also transformed me to a great deal in the process. As of my crowns as Mrs. India worldwide pride of nation-2019 and Mrs. India goodwill ambassador-2019, it is a responsibility to act in full consciousness in highest self towards a greater good of humanity.
Beyond the Barricades:
My father always advocates creating a balance in all the aspects of human life i.e. career, spiritual, social, family (relationship, love), financial, intellectual, health and fitness. I make it a point to give proportionate attention to all the aspects of my life. Being a parent is a gift. I am so fortunate to be a mother of two beautiful children with whom I grow into a better human being every single day. I try not to land in a situation where I overachieve in one area and compromise on the other.
This wisdom and serenity comes when I connect to my inner self often which is by meditating every day. The day I skip it, is a day not spent well. I am a marathoner and I love running. However, in the lockdown situation I am sweating out minimum of 30 minutes at home and make my entire family of four do it too. When it comes to work as a motivational speaker and a life coach 4-6 hours of uninterrupted work from home apart from my bit of household work, children and their activities is all that I have to do. I have a domestic help at home because of which life is a less chaotic affair. However, there have been situations when we had to do without any external help and we did it by dividing our jobs within us as a team. My husband is a great support. All it takes is focusing and preparing your to-do list within a few minutes of waking up in the morning.
Finding the Work-life Balance:
I was an air traffic control officer in the aviation branch of the Indian Navy. My job role as an ATC officer was very exciting but one which has potential to pose massive health challenges; even after catering to your shift you got to be present on one call, it being a defense services. It is quite a balancing act when you have additional responsibility of your family apart from your quintessential professional responsibility, not to mention the frequent adjusting and settling down process with transfers from one station to another. However, doing justice to the family is a possibility only if there is some kind of support system existing, be it from your family or from organization.
Future of the World post Pandemic:
Today every business is hit by the consequence of present covid-19 virus. Adversity is the mother of transformation. We learn a great deal from history and it is repleted with the fact that adversity has given rise to number of inventions. The best examples are countries which were massively destroyed as after math of World war-II. They worked hard and became one of the most powerful economies of the world known today. It is very important for the new businesses to keep the sudden change in mind.
The consumption pattern is changing. The education sector is going digital, the speaking and coaching industry is going online. Work from home is becoming a new norm. Every individual in the company has to bear the brunt of salary cuts not just the lower rung of the hierarchy. The customer behavior is changing. The scenario is very unpredictable. Adjusting quickly to the demands of the present situation is the matter of survival. Remember what Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest who survives not the most intelligent it is the one most adaptable to change.” Keeping the present needs, demands and the limitations in mind the businesses can incorporate and adapt to the change and can survive this lull period and remember after every fall there is a rise.
Life Mantra for Aspiring Women Leaders:
The biggest challenge women leaders’ face today is the confidence to act in higher roles. Even if women rise to accept such roles most men are not used to seeing them holding their own and standing tall. Women in our country are raised in a society where we are so used to seeking validation from a male figure. This is so primitive and no longer serves our society. It starts from how a father raises his daughter, whether he makes her one seeking approval of a man her whole life or self-dependent, self-respecting and a courageous one.
Our country has come a long way in granting extended period of maternity leave. Further, incorporating paternity leave and encouraging men to avail it will help ease pressure on women employees. It will enhance the overall productivity of women employees and will help foster gender equal society. Also gender sensitization should be made a part of initial training in places where both men and women work in equal numbers. Any act of misbehavior with women employee to be nipped in its bud by instituting a formal system in place. Having said that, I still feel very lucky to be born in India.
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