Warrior Women: Mom

Warrior Women

Warrior Woman Pic Credits: Tejaswi Bonda

20 years ago, It was 6 in the morning, Supriya was already juggling between cooking, waking up the Charlie’s angle trio, packing the bags for the day. Her precision, speed and comfort in managing these multiple tasks all at tandem are communicating years of her practise. After the clock ticked almost an hour, which would feel like ages if watched in slow motion, her sharp ears could sense the bus approaching. She managed to find the missing sock of the elder one, filled up the water bottle of the second and gave a peck on the cheek of the youngest just in time before the bus reached the gate.
A sense of accomplishment sparkled her face as she managed to get them inside the bus on time. She celebrated the triumph with a flavoured filter coffee while checking out the news of the day. She loved those few moments of solitude and which she wouldn’t trade for anything except for her daughters. She quickly moved to the Shares page where her eyes landed right on her recent bet. As she saw those 3 digits on the paper, her lips curved up and her brain was racing faster than a calculator to arrive at the exact profit she made in a weeks time. With great pride she moved on to her other holdings and made a mental note of the instruction she wishes to communicate to the broker.
She gradually picked up and sorted things to clear off the mess the girls left behind. She then packed evening snacks for the kids and left notes for the elder one. She then rushed to finish her chores before she locked the door and sped on her scooty well over the speed limits to reach her work place in time.
Not all her days were as picture perfect as this one! With her husband being away on work most of the days, she always handled the show single handedly at home. Like an expert juggler she managed house hold chores, cooking, grocery purchases, her job, 3 growing kids,  their education, health and safety needs. She had her good days and bad days too.
Being brought up in an affluent family, with a doting father and two brothers, she was never trained to play these multiple roles. She was the apple of her mother’s eyes and teachers’ pet. She was a bright student, who surrounded herself with multiple hobbies and great friends. She was a natural leader who was nominated and unanimously elected as the college leader by her classmates while she was away taking a Hindi exam. Besides her other academic achievements, she was the first girl in the family to obtain a bank job through competitive exams. Her friends and teachers always thought she would reach a pinnacle in her career and they would one day be proud to have known her.
But things changed. Things changed with her marriage at a young age of 18 following the social norms. She was married off into a family which was not comfortable with their women taking up jobs outside home. She struggled for 4 years on a daily basis to keep her job and sanity intact through 2 child births and 3 transfers owing to her husband’s job. There were days when she stayed alone miles away from her 6-month old kid to keep her job. There were days when she had to travel across states to reach her parents home  to get some medical assistance. There were days when she had to reason with the whole family which questioned her priorities. Besides the hardships, she also made great sacrifices in terms of her professional progress by rejecting promotions [just to have the flexibility to tag along with her husband’s transfers].
Her persistence and patience won her the life that she now enjoys. Her Charlie’s angles have turned into beautiful, intelligent and smart professional women. She is their inspiration and continuous source of energy. She made sure her angles don’t face the same problems she did. She may not have made the professional progress she deserved but she continues to see the reflection of her spirit in her 3 daughters!
More power to “Women of Courage” and more power to “Changing times”
Author’s note:
This story has been written for the Warrior Women Blogathon. Women’s Web & Juggernaut Books invite you to join us on an exciting blogathon, inspired by the warrior women of history.
When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis. Check out this new historical novel Empire (http://bit.ly/DeviEmpire) with a warrior woman, Aremis at the heart of the novel.
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Yourstory coverage of AND Consulting

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Glad that my venture is covered by  Your Story Telugu. For the benefit of my friends and well wishers who can not follow Telugu, I translated the article into English. Please read and spread the word! The original article can be found here

With two Women.. a startup consultancy

It is an appreciable trend that lot of youngsters are taking risk to Bootstrap. In India the echo system to support these startups right from the idea stage is not developed yet. There is a lot of pressure on the startup founders to work both on their core value proposition and also fund raising. “We are here to support you in your fund raising activities”, say these women. Besides fund raising they provide other critical startup services like technology, digital marketing, legal and accounting services through their associates.

There is an increasing trend of traditional business people and HNIs looking towards startups as part of their investment portfolio. Unlike other investment activities, the return on startup investments can be quite high if chosen and managed well. “We take up this responsibility of identifying and managing startup investments for these HNIs”, says AND Consulting.

AND Consulting’s work style

AND Consulting supports startups right from idea to Series A stage. If an individual is keen on pursuing an idea he/she can engage AND to assess the market potential of the idea. If a startup needs strategic support, AND can play the role on a retainer basis. And if the startup intends to raise funds, AND can support the startup right from the preparatory stage to the completion of funding round.

Value proposition of AND Consulting for Startups

The startups supported by AND consulting will benefit in the following aspects.

  1. Identifies partners / vendors

It becomes extremely difficult for a startup to identify a reliable partner / vendor. The impact of an unreliable partner on a startup could be extremely taxing on a startup. AND supports startups by introducing reliable partners who are trust worthy and professional in their operations.

  1. Improvising the Pitch

Funding is a key challenge in today’s market. Investors are skeptical and are thinking twice before investing in any startups. Therefore the responsibility of the startup has now increased from merely communicating the idea to ascertaining the market potential and the return on investment. AND assists start up in improvising their pitch to address the concerns of potential investors comprehensively. This not only improves the success rate but also shortens the investment cycle.

  1. Reach to potential investor

Founders who have managed to raise funds end up spending 30-40% of their time in Fund raising. Lot of time and energy gets spent on identifying a potential investor with interest in their specific business. AND Consulting reduces this effort considerably by taking up the task of initial reach to suitable investors. “Our founders get involved in the process only after there is initial interest expressed by the investor”, says Sowjanya

 Team

Kirti got her MBA from Bengaluru University and she has over 5 years of experience at Big 4 Consulting firms. She specializes in Business strategy and Market research. She is an expert in every aspect from planning to execution. She has worked on many international projects across Singapore, Malaysia, Ghayana and Ghana.

Sowjanya did her Computer Science Engineering from College of Engineering, OU and then pursued her PGP from IIM Ahmedabad. She has about 9 years of experience in Finance and Business consulting. She also co-founded an ecommerce company along with her Husband and was part of founding team of a infrastructure consulting firm.

Key Challenges

“Identifying startups with potential is our key challenge”, says Kirti. Lot of founders are coming up with “Me too” ideas. Identifying startups which suit investor requirements is a risky affair she says. “That is the reason why we thoroughly evaluate and refine the startups’ strategy before we kick start fund raising”, she says.

“From the investor point of view the challenges are very different”, says Sowjanya.   She says, “Investors’ key concern is to realize return on their investment at the end of the day”. They brainstorm with investors and identify their focus areas and help them plan out their investments to maximize returns.

Competition; Future Plans

There are a lot of Consulting firms and Investment Banks focusing on startups with Series A funding. There are very few consulting firms focusing on startups right from idea stage.

We intend to support startups in each and every challenge they face in their early stages. We target to expand our services to all the support activities that a startup needs. They aspire to make AND Consulting the go to name for any business challenge that any startup faces.

Pursuing Passion – New year resolution

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Life is too short to keep thinking. So one fine morning in January I put down my papers and started AND Consulting to put my passion into action. (Primary reason for not being able to blog). My previous startup stint made it obvious to me that there is abundant investment on one side and there are enough potential startup opportunities on the other. But there is a lack of a common language between them.

Kirti and I started AND with an intention to bridge this gap. We help first time investors identify potential investments. We help startups / SMEs raise early funds (debt / equity).

A little about us at yourstory.com !

Happy Ugadi to all. If you want to explore startup investing in this new year get in touch with us at sowjanya@andconsulting.in

 

 

What shall we leave behind for our kids?

Not so long ago, on becoming a father Mark Zuckerberg  decided to pledge 99% of his fortune for social good. Among all the convoluted propaganda about his personal agenda behind the move, I still see a parent’s concern to ensure his kid lives in a better World. I know that feeling because, when I became mom for the first time I realized how polluted the air is, how contaminated the water is and how fertilizer loaded the food is. I did what I could – I made sure my son traveled only in a car, shifted houses when there was a construction next door, bought RO system for water purification  and started the practice of salt water cleaning of vegetables besides opting organic foods.

Despite all these measures, my son still suffers with respiratory problems and falls pray to many infections. He is paying the price for my misdeeds, our kids are paying the price for our misdeeds. Yes I dare to blame each one of us (including myself) for our life styles which are causing all the interference with the nature.

Look at what struck Chennai last week. Is it not a man-made disaster? Why blame Government alone? Shouldn’t we (ok atleast partially) blame ourselves for chocking the drainage with  non-degradable waste – read PLASTIC? We didn’t leave water any outlet, it was left to erupt out of our floorings into  our living rooms.   In Chennai water could eventually find a way in to the sea. What would happen if such rains hit land-locked places like Hyderabad?

So the big question we need to pause and ask ourselves is what do we want to leave behind for our kids? If we want to leave a pollution free planet here are somethings we can do:

  • Minimizing / avoiding usage of Plastic. Please keep a bag hand whenever you go out.
  • Segregating our waste. Buy 3 colour coded bins and practice waste segregation today. If you can then buy and distribute these bins to every flat in your apartment.

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  • Talk to your raddi wala and ask him what could be done to help ease his work. Do read this article on hyderabad’s garbage journey.
  • Try composting your organic waste.  If not composting atleast see if there is any incineration center near by which could take this waste. This will reduce the waste being sent to dumping yards by 50% -> 50% less emission of green house gases
  • Try and use public transport / pool your rides to the extent possible.
  • Put up a rain water harvesting facility in your home / apartment

I know writing this is easier than implementing this. I will update my experience once I try my hand. Please do share your experiences in this journey. I am sure the road ahead is not easy and we could benefit from each others experiences

 

#chennairains The skies are falling down but the spirits are flying high!

Since two days I am very restless. My cause of restlessness is my inability to reach my friends in Chennai. I sat down to write about how I feel when I started browsing the internet to see what is going on in Chennai.

I must say, I am impressed with the way people are using internet and social media in their rescue missions. There is only useful information floating around. Some of the links I thought might be useful are:

All information / contacts  collated

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Xd5cAD-LGI0CFoFDsxEsJ29A0W2BTrCCWNQHPEJFK3c/pub

A Community of volunteers – Approach if you need rescue / if you can offer help

https://www.facebook.com/ChennaiRainRelief2015/?fref=ts

List of doctors / hospitals

http://prac.to/chennaifloods

Chennaites be safe – my prayers with you!

Here is to sum up the scene in Chennai

The skies are falling down but the spirits flying high!

I am sharing a poem by  Deepan Ramachandran – which aptly describes the spirit of Chennai at the moment – 

It’s raining in Chennai.
And it’s not just the skies that have opened up…

Many homes are letting in water, but quite a few are letting in guests.

The First floors are embracing the Ground floors.

Malls are welcoming footfalls, and that too without wallets.

Movie halls are counting box office numbers differently.

Hotels are giving out foods that aren’t leftovers for a change.

Marriage halls are solemnizing more marriages of souls than ever before.

Social Walls are tearing down their Civil counterparts.

140 characters are travelling faster than a ‘108’.

Taxi services are plying boats, MTC buses are plying like taxis.

Religious differences are being doused in a relentless downpour.

Politicians are knee deep in water and politics has sunk.

But Leaders are being born at every waterlogged junction.

Soldiers are being born at every dangerous turn.

And humans are being born at every deserving instance.

It’s raining in Chennai.
And it’s not just the skies that have opened up.

‪#‎chennaifightsrains‬ ‪#‎proudofchennai‬

 

 

Deserting mother (land) over sibling rivalry?

Aamir Khan, I am one of your many fans. I am neither the crazy watch-every-movie-first-day-first-show kinds nor the my-hero-is-far-better-than-yours kinds. But I am a fan who watched your sensible movies like lagaan, rang de basanti, taare jameen par, 3 idiots, pk etc. I have also made it a point to watch most of your Satyameva Jayathe episodes and I really hold a very high opinion of you.

mgwa5bdifjcsi

You made a difference in my life. So, when you say that growing intolerance is making you think about leaving the Country, I trust you. I want to hear you in detail and understand the cause of your concern. Is there something we can do as Citizens to improve the tolerance levels? Let us all try and make amends where possible.

But please do not say you are considering leaving this Country. Lot of people are leaving the Country (we call it Brain Drain) for a lot of reasons. Most of us who decided not to leave the Country would have considered leaving it at some point of our life for our own reasons. We would have loudly cribbed about many things from pollution to traffic to lack of civic sense /security to increasing incidents of women harassment. And would have quoted xyz reasons for wanting to leave the Country. Kiran’s dialogue with you (as mentioned by you at the RNG Awards function) sounded to me as one such out burst.

I would like to remind you that influencers like you considering leaving the Country, especially for the reason quoted, will reflect badly on our Nation. We run a risk of a lot of your fans following your footsteps. Even worse is if the International media catches a whiff of it, God help our innumerable startups waiting for funding. What to do, Celebrities like you are curtailed of your freedom of speech some times.

Let us just forget about the impact of your statement for a minute. All I want to ask you is, ” Do we desert our mother (land) over sibling rivalry?” If not then why do we need to give it a thought and air space?

I request you to ignore all the vitriol going on and live up to your image.  In Rehman’s words lets join hands and do the class act.

To all the trollers, please watch the video before you do what you do the best. There is a context to the statements made.

 

Does God seek revenge?

With God’s grace and persistent reminders from my uncle, after 5 long years of our wedding, we could finally perform the Satyanarayana Swamy Vratham at our residence. The pooja went on well under my parents’ guidance and help. We felt really peaceful and happy having undertaken the Vratham.

swamyBesides the pooja we were happy to host our extended family for lunch and we thoroughly enjoyed the family gathering. So, all went well except for 2 minor hiccups which are the cause and reason behind this blog post.

For those unaware, this pooja is sacred and is performed once a year by many Telugu house holds. It includes a detailed pooja procedure followed by 5 stories narrating the history of the pooja and the power of the God.

These stories, to my utter bewilderment, indicate that the Lord gets angry on anyone who vouch to do the Pooja and couldn’t undertake it. He goes to the extent of effecting the health & wealth and even causing death to the kith and kin of the person who vouched. I strongly deny to attribute these qualities to my Lord. I am sure my Almighty can never be so revenge-seeking. His motto can not be chasing every non-abiding human being into living-hell. If it is so, can we really treat him as the Supreme Power?

So these stories must have been invented by our ancestors. But for what purpose? Shouldn’t devotion be born out of sheer love? Will the fear induced Pooja process serve any purpose?

The second glitch was that at the beginning of the Pooja, we were allowed to give only the names of my in-laws. The reasons quoted by Pandit ji for denying the names of my parents  were in-comprehensible. Don’t I have the basic right of praying for the peace and prosperity of my parents?

Aren’t these practices the root cause of some problems in the Society today?

PS: I am not an atheist. I believe in Almighty. My faith is my strength and my guiding factor. My problem is with customs and practices.

 

Inspiration! – Ishita Katyal

I always loved Ted talks but this one by Ishita Katyal, is just out of the world. As a child my single big worry was performing well in exams. I was in a hurry to grow up because that was the only way I would get a real World opportunity to perform. Even today a lot of people I talk to think they got to gain more experience before they could actually experiment. Look at this girl, in 4 minutes she managed to invert this thought process.

This 10 year old girl, attended a Ted talk when she was a 7 year old. She innocently says, ” I didn’t understand the topic  but I loved the attention and appreciation the speaker received “. Her ambition to become a Tedx speaker and her resolve to not wait till she grows up is something that inspires me. This is that seed of thought she tries to communicate in her talk – “You don’t have to wait till you grow up”. The opportunity is today and now.

I call her an inspiration because she is neither a gifted child nor a child prodigy. She is a simple, self-made girl who is well-nurtured and encouraged by her parents. She is like you and me. Her courage, resolve and focus are the attributes that helped her make a difference.

Ishita Katyal keep going girl. I am one of your fans and will keep following you to see you succeed in all your endeavors. God bless you.

My view on ‘Can I have a chocolate milkshake?’

I would have been awed by this book, if I didn’t have the fortune of knowing the author “Capt. Rajat Mishra” personally. The inspirational element of the book is intact for me but the inquisitiveness part of knowing the next course of events was lost because I already know what happened in reality. With this disclaimer I will try to give a balanced view on the book.

CIHCM

Yes this is a very inspiring book. It helps one realize the inner potential one could count on. It nurtures the self-confidence and never-say-never attitude. The USP of this book is its simple language and its capacity to inspire without being preachy. It is just a plain simple story of a common man who dealt with all that the life had to offer and managed to evolve as a successful individual. The fact that this is a real life account adds the necessary trust factor.

The account on NDA & IMA experience is just in the right dosage so as to inform and inspire aspirants rather than scare them away. The aspect of dealing with a bad-breakup is maturely handled. The ISB / IIM-A stint is aptly described and invoked a lot of nostalgia. The infinite energy and unending support we receive from our parents and family is duly accredited. Above all the hope that drives Sidhanth through out the thick and thin (Sin curve?)of life is something to emulate.

Some references to blog posts and other published material on the author were so tempting that I felt torn between finishing the book and looking up the references.

Personally having gone through similar situations (of a nasty accident, an inter-caste relationship and a heart-wrenching breakup before its culmination into a marriage,) I know how challenging it could be to target, focus and clear CAT.   I felt the modesty of the author has interfered with communication of the determination one needs in order to achieve this. It is no easy feat to stay focused while in the middle of the puddle. It would have been lot more useful if there was special focus on the strategies employed to stay tuned. The NDA modified DNA helped Sidhanth but not everyone is fortunate enough. Rajat, may be one more book some other time?

All in all, I recommend this book to every NDA aspirant, to every MBA aspirant, to every competitive exam aspirant, to every broken heart and to every human being who wishes to lead a happy life.

I should be afraid of street men not street dogs

This Diwali has been so much fun at my parents home along with cousins. After an exhaustively engaging evening followed by a heavy festive supper me and my husband decided to go back home. We intended to be well planned and decked up for the loaded day ahead.

At 12 in the night, we expected a nice, serene, long 12 km drive back home. But that was not to be. Thanks to our street men.

We were on a main road when we saw a small flame flying towards us. We were surprised and were searching around to see if some one was foolish enough to through a cracker on to the road. To our horror what we discovered was that there were 6 men on two bikes a little ahead of us who decided to celebrate Diwali while driving on the roads. Yes! they were holding crackers in one hand and fire in the other and continuously throwing ignited crackers behind them. They were in no mood to check if there was some other vehicle behind them. Guys you may not care a dime about your lives, but please understand that you have no right over others lives.

As if this incident alone was not enough for a night, there was more to come. There were these 2 pedestrians crossing the road. Suddenly for no reason they speed up to us and act as if they were going to pounce on to me. My husband was taken-a-back a bit and the bike did skid before he could gain back his control. These idiots just ran away as they see my husband apply a sudden break with an intention to give them a earful. I am surprised at their recklessness, do they even realize that we could have been hurt severely if their little prank turned out to be an accident.

I did hear about street dogs chasing and causing accidents. I could still understand that because, the light beam or honking could have disturbed the dog and it would have just gone by its instincts. But what is wrong with these people? Are their brains so under-evolved or they just do not care? Where are we heading?

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