It is always tough to write about yourself. We women especially (and this is a very personal observation) tend to brush our achievements and our journey aside pretty lightly. Which is why I would like to thank Anjali Gulati of Back to the Front, at the outset for having given me a chance to write a little about myself, for a change.
And writing is what I do. I call myself a writer. It took me a while and a lot of courage to call myself that – but there it is – I AM a writer. I write many things under various guises : magazine articles, website features, blogs, research reports and anything else that may need the benefit of words. Currently, I am the editor of a website for and by women: www.mumbaimom.com. This website was created for the intelligent, aware, social media savvy and well-connected urban Mumbai mother who is up to date with current trends and current affairs in equal measure. Our focus is to discuss, debate and contemplate things that go beyond the ambit of motherhood. Motherhood is great – but there is so much more to a woman than just being a parent. Mumbai Mom focuses on the person behind the parent.
Here is a very short background of how I got here – and many of you may read your own story in it. My early twenties were spent going the graduation, MBA, job in a new city route. I graduated from MICA with a specialisation in Marketing Research and started my work life with the Nielsen Company. A few years later, post my wedding, I moved to Mumbai – and working in the city of dreams was quite an education! Long working hours, commuting through the city and catering to the demands of a newly married life took its toll on my health and I was diagnosed with PCOD – an all too common stress related disorder.
This is when I decided to slow down a little and I started taking freelance research projects. And this worked out ideally for me because my husband travels a lot for work and we actually moved quite a few times across cities and continents, in the early few years of our marriage. I loved the freedom that being a freelancer afforded me – yet it also taught me a lot about self disciple, marketing myself and networking.
One of the most important and heartening things that happened to me as I started taking on projects on my own, was the support that I received from my ex-colleagues – especially and almost always women. And this is something that has stayed with me – women supporting women make each other stronger.
Somewhere down the line, motherhood happened and life changed – as it is supposed to! I started frequenting parenting blogs, online communities and other parenting forums. And even though I had given blogging a shot before – becoming a mother unleashed the urge to write, share and interact with other women and mothers even more. The rise and rise of the internet generation has made parenting and mothering such an interactive and involved process that I found myself overwhelmed after a while. This is when I started thinking of starting something to remind women of themselves, of the person behind the parent – the woman who does it all yet finds time to think, joke, cry and laugh uproariously while doing it all!
That was the genesis of Mumbai Mom, and believe you me, ever since its launch there have been so many people who have come up to me and concurred that – yes – they needed something like this. It is this validation that makes all the difference and is the encouragement that I need to take even bigger and bolder steps, going ahead. Which is why Mumbai Mom will soon be starting a very special and tailored service for mompreneurs – and I am so excited about this.
Finally, I was asked to mention the challenges that I faced in my journey. And after much thought, all I can say is that the biggest challenge I faced was self-doubt and undermining myself and my abilities. And once I realised that, that was what was holding me back – it was so much easier. This may seem like a truism but in order to let opportunities in – one has to open the door first. It is up to us to open these doors and let the rest just flow from there.