I studied hard for my 10th grade (equivalent to GCSE) and got good grades which got me admission to a good college, namely N.M. College of Commerce and Economics. Most of the time in college was spent missing lectures and going out to daytime socials (disco) as we weren’t allowed out at night.
During this time one of my challenges was that I had to jump in to finish what my dad had started…
My dad had a very troubled working life. At one point in his life he was rolling in money but that all came to an end when all his 3 shops burned to the ground. There was no insurance in India in those days, I am talking about 1970s. Suddenly from being one of the biggest traders in his industry to nothing, my dad NEVER recovered from this loss and then just kept moving from one disaster to another. (Now thinking back, I can only assume that he had lost his SELF BELIEF).
Although we were never without a roof over our head or food on the table my mum had to somehow run the house with the little money that my dad did managed to bring in. My sisters and I would always feel the pinch as our friends were all from affluent backgrounds and lived in big, lavish apartments, drove good cars and seem to lead a ‘normal’ life.
One of my dad’s many projects was to start up a DOCTORS directory. He started on a high but he could execute the project. My dad was getting threatening letters from the doctors to return their money or they would go to the police. My younger sister and I took it upon ourselves to complete the project.
At the time we were in our late teens but we felt we had the confidence of completing the project. So we did and my dad was so relieved. That was my first taste of being a Business woman…
I also had a go at becoming a Fashion designer and somehow managed to get admission in one of Mumbai’s best fashion design colleges, S.N.D.T. I made a brilliant start on the course, but left it a few months later as I got influenced by the wrong people telling me that I don’t really need to formally learn how to design clothes and that it just comes with experience. So I joined one of my aunts who was running a ladies boutique and started working for her for a very small amount of money.
As the money wasn’t enough I trained to be an aerobics instructor. I took classes in the morning and evenings to earn bit more pocket money on the side. Life carried on but I was getting a lot of pressure from my parents to get married…It wasn’t easy to find the right person as all the men my mum introduced me to were SO NOT MY KIND…I was petrified of getting married to a really traditional man where I would end up just having kids and being a kept woman all my life. It was emotionally a really stressful time for me as I had to stand my own ground in the face of my parents and the rest of the family trying to get me married
off to someone I did not approve of.