Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs In India8 minute
"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."
Entrepreneurship has always been considered as a man’s job, but long gone is that era where women were only restricted to play the role of a home-maker and rear children. Today’s women have not only broken these stereotypes but have also taken a step into the men’s world, who are doing an excellent job for themselves and are reaching greater heights. Here are 10 successful and rising women entrepreneurs in India who have accomplished to make their start-ups as successful companies:
Shopping can get very tiring, and especially shopping for make-up. We girls are so particular about the exact lipstick shade, the nail polish colours, the make-up brands that we want and sometimes we end up not finding it in the stores we go, your go to solution is Nykaa. Nykaa is an online beauty platform for all the women out there, Falguni Nayar is the Founder and CEO of the company. Falguni is an IIM Graduate and has 25 years of work experience in the financing arena for different companies. She started NYKAA in the year 2012 and within no time the e-commerce beauty app had become very popular and created a lot of hype amongst the women, the brand already had partnership with famous brands like L’oreal, Uniliver, P&G etc. Today, the brand has made a name for itself such that it is preferred by most girls, women and now even has a men’s store. The app has made shopping much easier for women and now all the products are just a click away. Nykaa has become offline as well, for those people who prefer buying it in stores.
Zivame is an online lingerie store which caters to the variety of lingerie options open to women. Richa Kar is the founder and CEO of Zivame and it was launched in the year 2011. We all are hesitant to buy lingerie in stores because of judgy looks given to us by the salesperson and sometimes we aren’t able to convey what exactly we need, which is where Zivame comes into the picture. The main idea was to save women from the embarrassment and unwanted attention from the opposite sex. Zivame has made lingerie shopping so much easier, with the un-numerable varieties that they have to offer in the products as well as in different sizes. Zivame is one of a unique company in its domain and manages to dominate lingerie shopping than any other company. Today, Zivame offers more than 5,000 styles, 50 brands, and 100 sizes. So, the next time lingerie shopping? Just Zivame!
Most of us here love travelling, and anyone who loves travelling will be very familiar with Yatra.com. Yatra was co-founded by Sabina Chopra and two other members- Dhruv Shingri and Manish Amin in 2006. Yatra is an online travel agency and search engine which provides travelling services to people.Yatra.com offers a variety of packages with all charges covered and has a user-friendly interface. Sabina being the co-founder of the company has quite some experience in the travel domain, before Yatra.com Sabina had worked in companies like, eBookers which is Europe’s leading travel company and has also worked in the BPO sector in Japan Airlines. Sabina knew quite a lot about the protocols and how the online travel companies’ function, which is why Yatra.com was introduced in India because the online service for travelling still hadn’t developed by then. Sabina was honoured in the second annual Women Leaders in India Awards, 2010 and was declared the winner in the Travel & Tourism group. Today, Yatra is one of the leading travel companies in India and has many loyal customers.
We all travel and meet new people at new places and tend to buy something from there as a souvenir back home. Indian souvenirs had become boring with the usual monuments and handicrafts and that is when Chumbak was born. Chumbak was founded by Shubra Chadda and Vivek Prabhakar, because they wanted to bring in a modern and quirky touch to the India souvenirs. Chumbak was started as a souvenir store but now has become a whole new brand and a successful company owing it to its products. The main objective of Chumbak was to bring out another side or meaning to India’s craft and products, the funky and eye-catching crafts have made chumbak what it is today, Chumbak has become a very popular brand especially amongst the young Indians and can be seen in almost all the shopping malls across India. Today this quirky brand has over 120 retail stores all across the country and Shubra Chadda is one of the most innovative women entrepreneurs in India. The next time you something funky and cool, you know where it is from.
We all are a big fan when it comes to food and FreshMenu has managed to become a household name today. Rashmi Daga is the Founder and CEO of FreshMenu and it was started in the year 2014. She is an IIM Graduate in MBA, and has worked in companies like IBM India, Johnson and Johnson, Ola and BlueStone. Today, we all have a variety of restaurant apps delivering food to our houses but a few years back the number of restaurants delivering food were very limited which is when Rashmi thought about coming up something new and FreshMenu happened. FreshMenu is an online kitchen serving people cuisines from around the world. It was first started in Bangalore and then went on to Delhi and Mumbai. FreshMenu has many satellite kitchens every 5 kilometres within the city to cater to the cravings of people. FreshMenu was first started as an independent delivering app but today we can also see it on other delivering app platforms like Zomato and Swiggy. The company approximately makes an annual revenue of $17.6 million dollars.
Suchi Mukherjee is the Founder and CEO of LimeRoad.com. Suchi is a master graduate in Economics and Finance from the London School of Economics. Suchi has worked for Lehman Brothers Inc and Virgin Media on the front. She wanted to create something of her own which would create an impact on the society and this is when the idea of creating a platform dominantly for women struck her and she came up with LimeRoad. LimeRoad is a platform used by women to share and buy clothes and accessories, they keep up with the latest fashion and trends, share their personal experiences and most importantly buy clothes. The main aim of Suchi was to create a platform for selling products at an affordable price. LimeRoad is unique in its own way and is loved by most women across the country.
- Shop Clues:
Radhika Ghai Aggarwal
Radhika Aggarwal is the co-founder of shop clues which is also known as the “India’s Online Bazaar”. Radhika Aggarwal has been the most successful women entrepreneur in the recent years and she also refers to herself as an “accidental entrepreneur”. She believes in “making her today better than her yesterday, by taking small steps towards it”. She started her career with Fashion Clues and then became a co-founder of Shop Clues, having an experience of 16 years in various industries like E-commerce, Advertising, Lifestyle, PR and Fashion. Radhika is a great entrepreneur who also believes in women empowerment, she urges women to fight for their rights and demand an equal pay as well. She recently joined the Unicorn Club. Shop Clues has recently launched an AD Zone, which helps sellers in getting visibility and as a platform for business amongst them. She believes that “Hard work is an outcome of passion. If you’re passionate, you will work towards achieving results and success will follow.”
Upasana Taku co-founded Mobikwik with her husband Bipin Preet Singh. Upasana holds a MS in Management and Science Engineering from Stanford University, US. She started her job in HSBC and then later on shifted to PayPal and learnt more about payment gateway. Upasana wanted to go back to India and do something there, hence she shifted back in 2009 and was on the lookout to start a business in India. At that time, India didn’t have a cashless society and all the payments were carried out in the form of cash, this idea initiated in the forming of Mobikwik. Mobikwik is payment gateway app which first started off as a recharge platform and then took shape into a mobile wallet. The concept of mobile wallet was new to the country and mobikwik was the first of its kind. Today mobikwik is used by millions of people to use, collect and transfer money. She has always believed in one thing, that is ‘Kick up a storm or die trying’
- Social Samosa:
Ankita Gaba is a social media strategist, consultant, lecturer and most importantly a successful entrepreneur. She worked as a social media strategist and also a co-founder in SuperChooha. They collaborated with famous companies and brands like Idea Cellular, Ponds, Mahindra, Colors and Zapak. She is currently the co-founder of Social Samosa. Social Samosa is basically an inventory that consists of thoughts, ideas, case studies and the social media functionalities. Today, Social media has no limits and is reaching greater heights with the passing days, The main aim of Social Samosa is to have things that are usually put up or scattered on various social parts of social media to be combined and put into one platform that is free and easily accessible to all. Ankita Gaba has been listed in the Global Top 100 Social Media Agencies and Consultants 2012-13, and also in 50 Indian Women to Follow on Twitter.
Menstrupedia was founded by Aditi Gupta and her husband Tuhin patel. Aditi hails from a small town in Jharkhand namely Gharwa. Aditi created a Hindi comic book with her husband, illustrating and educating girls about menstruation. Menstruation is still considered as a taboo in many parts of Rural India where girls are asked to follow certain restrictions when they are on their period like no entry to the kitchen, the temple or even the house; where they aren’t allowed to cook, or even come in contact with men, and have no clue as to why they are being shut-out by their own family. This behaviour had a direct impact on the girl’s mind and health. Aditi Gupta was also born in a conservative middle-class family, and even she was subject to all this. The unawareness of menstruation and the taboos surrounding it in Rural areas is the main reason behind the creation of Menstrupedia.com. The main objective behind this was to educate girls about the process of menstruation, the importance of menstrual hygiene and tips to remain healthy during menstruation. Aditi has taken a huge step forward with menstrupedia and has even managed to bring in changes not only in India but throughout the world.
Things to do with your Gal Pals5 minute
Our BFF’s is the best thing that has ever happened to us, we love hanging out and being around with them. They understand the unsaid things running in our mind that not even our boyfriend would comprehend, they complete our incomplete sentences and songs for us, they know what is right and what is wrong for us especially if it’s drunk-dialling your ex. They always have our backs. Creating memories and tons of memories because there’s nothing like a lot of memories with them, here are a few things that you should do at least once with your Gal Pal-
- Buy twinning clothes-
Having matching clothes like t-shirts or onesies is so awesome. Maybe you can colour co-ordinate on the days you meet or for any special occasion, anyways having matching clothes should definitely be on your list of things to do together.
- Go abroad on a vacation together –
Travelling with your best friend can get really crazy, with having lots of fun to going on a shopping spree and most importantly exploring new places together with them. Going to your favourite destination or her favourite destination and enjoying yourself out there in the company of each other, Oh what more could you ask for.
- Get matching tattoos together –
Another thing that you should have in your list of twinning is getting tattoos done together, you both can either share the same tattoo or get a tattoo that has a meaning to your friendship. Either ways, you both will be tattooing something on yourself for the rest of your life that means something to you and this will only create a strong bond.
- Netflix and Chill the entire weekend –
Who said Netflix and chill is all about sex and boyfriends? the most amazing part of Netflix and chill is when you and your best friend hang out with each other and binge watch your favourite series or an entire series for that matter with lots and lots of food to eat. Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!
- best friend capsules –
This might seem really crazy, but trust me creating your own best friend capsules is an adventure of its own. Imagine few years down the lane when you’re growing older and you find your best friend capsule. You reminisce the good old days back and cherish the memories that you’ve had with them. A best friend capsule should definitely be on your list because it is going to be one hell of a memory to look back to.
- Have a tradition of your own –
Making traditions for yourself is a really good idea, it can be as small as going out on every Friday night or watching a series together, it can be as big as a mapping your fingers through the world with your eyes closed and the place you stop becomes your next travel destination. Having a tradition of your own will make the friendship stronger and also both of you will feel attached to each other even though you might not be staying with each other.
- Go on a road-trip –
An empty road, loud music with your favourite playlist and your best friend by your side…Now that is hell lot of fun. You should definitely go on a road trip with your best friend at least once because the feeling of travelling on road is really different. The wind flying through your hair, the road karaoke sessions, mapping and re-mapping the routes but still ending up lost and finding new routes and finding new places. It is one of the best kinds of adventure as well as trip one could as for.
- A relaxing spa day –
Who wouldn’t love a spa date with your best friend? After your hectic daily schedules, making time for yourselves and going to the spa together sounds soothing and relaxing. Getting a hair spa, manicure and pedicure, a fruitful facial and finally ending it with a great massage. Isn’t it already tempting? So, the next time you’re stressed and want to take a break, you know what to do ladies.
- Go to a concert –
Going to a concert and shouting your lungs out while your favourite band is playing sounds magical. We all have a favourite band or artist, and attending their concert has been our dream, but what if you and best friend loved the same band? That would be endless singing sessions and crushing over the same artists. If you want to do something more than that, you can always surprise her with concert tickets.
- Go on a double date –
This might seem very weird, but it can be turn out to be really amazing. Going on a double date or setting up each other on blind dates can sound ridiculous. You both can go out with your dates, and if at all you don’t like them then you have the company of each other that will keep you entertained for the rest of the evening. If you all really hit it off then you’ll most likely be going on couple dates together.
- Playlist of your own songs –
We usually do not show our crazy and wild side to anyone except our best friend, and only they know how weird we are. You and your best friend can have a playlist of your own, like Arijit Singh songs when you’re depressed to hardcore Punjabi songs when you’re happy, From Ed Sheeran songs of love to Michael Jackson’s dance hits. Your own playlist of songs according to your mood, this is something that every BFF should do for each other.
- Own a Polaroid and create memories –
Polaroid cameras are something we all love because of its instant photos. We all should own a polaroid camera and create memories with our best friend. You will be creating tons of memories that you will hold dear for the rest of your life. Maybe you can have a separate corner in your room and hang up all of pictures that you’ve shared with fairy lights sounds magical. A definition of a best friend’s room!
- Go on best friend dates-
Going on dates with your boyfriend is okay, but best friend dates? Hell yeah! You and your best friend should totally hang out and spend time together. You can have endless gossip sessions, stalking random people on Instagram, eating like you just don’t care and lastly because you love each other so much. Sometimes, best friend dates can be very therapeutic and you can completely be yourself when you’re around them.
- Create your own set of bucket list-
All best friends should have their own set of bucket lists, something that they want to do together. They will create a lot of memories and explore a lot of new things on the way to fulfil their bucket list. We definitely recommend all you BFF’S out there to have you very own personalized bucket list because they are personal to you and things which mean a lot to you.
Do tell us what you think about these must do things with your girl bestie, and if you have any experiences or more ideas then do write down to us in the comment section below.
How To Develop A Positive Attitude5 minute
“The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.”
― Roy Bennett
Positivity is something that we all should inculcate in our daily lives that keeps us going through the day. Smile more, worry less, more love, less hate are all the things that one will feel when he/she learns to develop a positive attitude within themselves. In a busy world like today, the idea of having a positive attitude is not considered important because many of us consider it not important and hence, it is left completely neglected. There are many things to follow for a positive attitude to build up and develop, the process is gradual but the results are amazing.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain a positive attitude:
- A Positive Morning-
We all love our beds so much that mornings have never been our best friend, Mornings are an important part of the day and it is very essential to start the day on a positive note. Early morning routines should be something that you should enjoy doing, something you would love to do like going out for a walk, making breakfast or a long hot shower. This way mornings become a relaxed therapy and there is no hurry to start the day, this gets us pumped for the day and having a good and positive morning leads to having a positive day ahead.
Practicing meditation in our day to day life has a lot of benefits, meditating helps us to think clearly and maintain a calm composure even when in crisis. Most of us perceive meditation as something that is related to yoga, but not many of us know that meditation has a lot of benefits that help us get through hurdles in our everyday life. It gives us clarity, focus and of course a lot of positivity.
Today’s generation is so busy in their 9-5 jobs that they completely forget about their physical health. Why is physical health important for having a positive attitude? Let me tell you why, exercising and maintain your body is as important as it is to take care of your mental health. When we exercise, we boost our physical and mental energy in relieving stress, energizing your mood and also has a positive impact on your cognitive skills. Therefore, exercising has an impact on us directly or indirectly in some form and keep us pumped throughout.
- Laugh more-
We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we are happy because we laugh. - WILLIAM JAMES.
They say laughter is the best medicine and it indeed is, being humorous or having humorous conversations lifts up your mood instantly in any situation. Many times, we tend to crack lame jokes to make serious issues or topics to be taken in a very light hearted manner. Laughing and embracing humour is very important as it helps you deal with many obstacles from your everyday life which can be as simple as a grammatical error and as big as a messed-up project or presentation. Laughing at times can get us into serious trouble sometimes, nevertheless people who laugh more cope up easily in from a crisis as their mind remains calm and composed throughout, whilst they come up with a positive solution for the problem. Laughter is very contagious, hence keep spreading smiles!
- Have a Hobby-
Sometimes, work or college can be very hectic and totally exhausting and that is why it is important that we all should have at least one hobby or thing that we want to do in our free time. As the saying goes, An empty mind is a devil’s mind, keeping ourselves free leads to negative thoughts creeping into our mind and the unnecessary thoughts taking control over us, which is why we should keep ourselves busy by doing something that we love, by doing something that not only teaches us about the thing we are interested in but also the learning and fun that goes into it. This way we learn to love ourselves even more.
- Learn to Accept Rejection-
When we succeed in something, it gives us immense pleasure and we celebrate but at the same time when we attain a failure, many people just cannot accept it and sometimes end up taking harsh steps. Learning to accept rejection is very necessary, because we only teach people to win and succeed but do not teach them to accept failures the same way in which they accept success. Rejection brings in a lot of negative emotions and going through it with a positive attitude will give you a positive outlook in life whenever you fail. Turning your failures into lessons is another positive attitude that one can develop because rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.
- Talk positively about yourself-
We all are different and unique in our own ways, and there is no one perfect in this world because everyone is flawed. The words that we use have a lot more power than we think. How you talk about yourself is how you will turn out to be. We often degrade and put ourselves down, we tend to make ourselves look and feel perfect but that is far from reality and accepting ourselves the way we are is important, not for anyone else but for us, for our own body. Always stay positive, talk positive and Glo positive!
- Have a little Me-Time-
We all forget how consuming our everyday routines can get and how it has a toll on us, not only mentally but even physically. Amidst all our hectic schedules, having a little me-time and self-care is a must. Most of us are so busy in our jobs, working non-stop, meeting deadlines, interacting with people and what not… becomes a very tiring process right? This is when you take some time out for yourself and pamper yourself. It can be a hot long bath with scented candles with slow music, pampering sessions, cooking for yourself, going out for movies or just staying home and sleeping. All the people out there, cut yourself some slack and go get some me-time for yourselves.
- Maintain a Gratitude Journal-
There are a lot of things that we do in a day, some can be bad and some can be good. A Gratitude journal is maintained to write down all the positive and happy things that happened to you in a day. We obviously cannot forget the negative ones, but making mistakes is a way of life and everyone learns from their mistakes, similarly the main aim of having a gratitude journal is to include all the positive and small little things that gave you happiness. A gratitude journal helps you in to remain positive because you mostly tend to ignore the things that effect you and only focus on the things that bring you happiness and a good vibe. So, to all the people out their thinking about how bad your day was, stop thinking and start writing.
- Surround yourself with positivity –
Last but not the least, is surrounding yourself with a positive environment that consists of a lot of positive people. There is no point of just you having a positive attitude whereas your surrounding is filled with negative vibes, we should be around people who themselves have a positive attitude and believe in spreading it to everyone, not only will your perceptions about things change but how you think and talk about everything will gradually turn positive , Nothing makes us happier than spreading smiles and wearing one too!
Everyone has their own ways of being positive, these are a few from our side. Tell us more about how you maintain a positive attitude right below in the comments section.
GLADYATOR: Meet the twins making a mark in the sustainable fashion field.3 minute
In a time where Climate change is being debated upon, there is a company which takes the most used thing, and makes it safe for the environment, your clothes. Coral Doe was started in 2018 by Aqsa and Tuba Sajjad to make comfortable clothing that is sustainable and ethical. They intend to be 100% sustainable by the end of 2023 and are working well towards it.
The company and the team intends to go a step beyond and create awareness among its users about the need of the hour, sustainable fashion.
We spoke to Aqsa, Coral Doe’s co-founder, and here is her take on being an Entrepreneur and her aspirations.
- Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
For me, it's about getting to do something I love every single day. It may sound cliche but as a person who suffered from depression, anxiety, and mental health issues, it was very important to my well being to have a reason to wake up and work hard every single day. Coral Doe has brought meaning to my life and has given me something to work for.
Plus, the thought of working for someone else's dream has always been suffocating. It only made sense to become an entrepreneur.
- What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
Gary Vee. He's a huge motivation and encourages you to focus on all aspects of your life: professional, personal, and all others.
- What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Growing my business to 2000+ customers in under a year has been the most rewarding experience. Sometimes, I truly can't believe we did this.
- What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
I read somewhere: These 5AMs will make you a legend one day.
This has stuck with me since the day I read it. But it's important to take it with a grain of salt. Sometimes, hard work and waking up at 5AM isn't the way to go about it. Sometimes, you have to work smart rather than hard. Also, another good advice is to keep at it and to try to sustain your business in every way if it's something you love. But also to know when to quit. Not all businesses are sustainable and the world isn't ready for every idea yet.
- What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Word of mouth is always the best way to market your brand. Instagram content and ads have also been great for us.
- What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well.
Every sale and every customer matters, as a small business owner. It's always lovely to see customers going out of their way to support, review, and comment.
- Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe.
Gary Vee's videos are a brilliant resource.
Any tool that'll keep your finances organized is important. Invest in a good accounting software. Finances are everything.
- Have you faced any failures? How did you overcome that failure and what did you learn from it?
Everyone faces failure. You either learn from it or you go backwards.
- What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I go to the gym and I read a lot of books. When you have your own business, it's hard to draw boundaries with work. Work never stops. It's always important to force yourself to take a break from work.
- What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
Expanding into new markets.
Learning more and more business literature.
Diving deeper into sustainable manufacturing and trying to move other brands towards it too.
- If you were to give an advice to a 16 year old you, what would you say?
Find a supportive circle of friends. Invest in people and friendships. It'll go a long way in life.
- How can I be a good leader?
Put your team first. And lead with compassion.
- The last question, what keeps you up at night?
The thought that maybe I should be doing more and working harder (Not a healthy thought at all. I always have to remind myself to give myself credit)
20 Ideas To Celebrate Random Acts Of Kindness Day 20204 minute
How is that a day such as Valentine’s is glorified to an extent that the biggest hollywood celebrities engage in it so very eagerly but a day that is dedicated solely for the purpose of making the least bit difference and giving back to society barely makes it to the holiday calendar?
Random Act of Kindness week starts on the 17th of february every year and gives you 7 sweet days to do something nice (for a friend, for the society or even for the environment) in a way that not just creates an impact, but multiplies your effort by driving people to do nice, be kind often and remember that deeds are superior if performed for the collective good of people.
20 of the SIMPLEST Ideas to celebrate Random Act Of Kindness Week:
- Compliment a Stranger. A simple “Woah, cool sweater!” could literally make someone’s day, and you would lose nothing.
- Cook for someone who feeds you everyday (Ideally your mom/dad or cook). Every great cook is so used to feeding other people’s bellies everyday and deserves to be pampered with food too- the smile on this person’s face when you cook them a meal will make your day along with theirs.
- Lend a friend one of your favorite reads. It’s a great way of saying “Here’s a piece of me, thanks for existing” - without actually having to say it.
- Write a review. What are the 10 best places to get some kickass biryani? Or which are the most pet-friendly places to visit in your city? Any knowledge is great knowledge - get it up on the gram, or you know, on Glo. I’m sure you’ll at least help one person decide on his next outing.
- Call a lonely relative and attempt to make them laugh.
- Donate Blood- thousands out there need blood. If you don’t know where to begin, look up https://scoophub.in/top-10-best-blood-donation-organizations-in-india/.
- Repost your friend/following’s businesses to spread the word. If they get one extra follower because of you, you’ve succeeded.
- Pick up litter that you didn’t throw out.
- Spend a day at an old age home. Been there, done this and the joy on their faces will bring you happiness that’s truly unmatched.
- Send colouring books to children at an orphanage/ sick children at the hospital. Dunzo it (use a local delivery service) if you can't physically go there.
- Take initiative to make breakfast and get your whole family together on the dining table. Make it a whole event. Indulging in family time is a wonderful act of kindness.
12. Leave your waiter a generous tip.
13. Help a neighbour/friend clean their room. Or backyard.
14. Use your savings to fund a child’s education for a whole academic year. You’ll be surprised to know that it’s quite the pocket-friendly deed.
Click to know just how easy it is: https://bit.ly/37BfaCw
15. Get a haircut. Donate your hair after: Way to turn an act of kindness into a cute makeover!
16. Be kind to the environment. Walk/Cycle/Carpool to work instead of taking a cab or an auto
17. Make a kindness pledge/list- one that is flexible and can be practiced at least once every week.
18. Pay for a co-worker’s lunch.
19. Do something kind for yourself. Read a book. Watch an old favorite movie. Eat healthy, gut-friendly foods. Write a letter to your future self. Take a leap you’ve been meaning to.
20. Let people know of the day. Celebrate Kindness.
Coronavirus Heroes - Being 8 Months Pregnant Didn’t Stop This SHERO From Delivering COVID-19 Test Kits To The Nation2 minute
In the battle against coronavirus, India has been criticised time and again for a poor record of testing people. Amidst all of this, there is change set to be brought about, a large part of which is accredited to the one and only virologist - Minal Dakhave Bhosale.
Ms Bhosale headed the team that designed the coronavirus testing kit (called Patho Detect) in India and is also the R&D chief of Mylabs discovery, Pune. She had just been informed of a pregnancy complication in february, right after which despite personal circumstances, willingly took on the assignment of designing the coronavirus test kits.
Up until now, India had to import COVID-19 kits from Germany at Rs.4500 per kit, but the molecular diagnostic company has been successful in creating a kit that is now able to test 100 samples and costs Rs 1,200 - literally a quarter of the cost of COVID-19 testing kits that were being imported.
Besides being relatively much lower than kits imported from outside, the team also achieved COVID-19 testing in just two and a half hours compared to other tests that took no less than 6-7 hours.
What is most fascinating about her story is that Ms Bhosale managed to complete her assignment on time and while being 8 months pregnant, only a couple of hours before she delivered her baby daughter.
In the words of Ms Bhosale (to BCC) : “ It was an emergency, so I took this on as a challenge. I have to serve my nation”. A true inspiration to women across the world and a real team player - a thousand salutes to the women who put her nation first in the most critical of situations.
Minal Dakhave Bhosale- A real life hero, A SHERO, as one may say.
Re-Defining Menstruation3 minute
Your monthly visitor. Aunt Flo. Code red. For decades, learning the secret language of how to tell someone you’re on your period has been a rite of passage as much as getting your period itself. And the kids these days are getting creative. Ever heard of shark week? Arts and crafts week at Panty Camp? There are a million and one ways to tell our friends, family, boyfriends, and colleagues that we’re on our period. But why? Getting your period is a natural, normal thing, and we should be talking about it in clear, direct language.Here’s why you should say, and say it proud " I’M ON MY PERIOD"
What is a period/menstruation ? It is when blood and tissue from your uterus comes out of your vagina. It usually happens every month. During your menstrual cycle, hormones make the eggs in your ovaries mature. When an egg is mature, that means it’s ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. These hormones also make the lining of your uterus thick and spongy. So if your egg does get fertilized, it has a nice cushy place to land and start a pregnancy.This lining is made of tissue and blood, like almost everything else inside our bodies. It has lots of nutrients to help a pregnancy grow. If pregnancy doesn’t happen, your body doesn’t need the thick lining in your uterus. Your lining breaks down, and the blood, nutrients, and tissue flow out of your body through your vagina. Voilà, it’s your period.
For millions of women worldwide, menstruation is seen as a mark of shame. Many are told not to discuss it in public, to hide their tampons and sanitary pads. The stigma is universal, rendering women and girls vulnerable to health problems and gender discrimination.The many stigmas around menstruation weigh heavy on female identity and are one of the core issues to discuss in regards to perpetual gender inequality.Menstruation stigma is a form of misogyny. Negative taboos condition us to understand menstrual function as something to be hidden, something shameful. It’s interesting that so much embarrassment, awkwardness, and shame surround a natural bodily function experienced by half the population at some point in their lives. We don’t hide toilet paper away, yet some women still get flustered if a tampon drops out of their handbag, or we might buy a floral-patterned tin to hide our sanitary pads.The stigma and its myths carry with it an oppressive notion that menstruating women are unclean. What perpetuates this are the hushed tones around menstruation, the euphemisms for it and the shortage of education and open dialogue about it.
While the global move to have sanitary pads easily accessible to the under-privileged shines a spotlight on the issue, and how it infringes on girls and women’s human rights, while demystifying sexual reproductive health and menstrual health management, there’s still room for a broader conversation. The stigma around periods and the lack of proper information means many girls rely on what their family or friends tell them, which is often inaccurate and can perpetuate menstrual myths. While we continue to keep silent on the subject of periods, women and girls will not be able to get the facilities and support they need to be able to deal with what is a normal part of life, hygienically and with dignity and hence, we all need to play our part in opening up the conversation.Speaking about an issue is the only way to combat its silence, and dialogue is the only way for innovative solutions to occur.Normalising menstruation as just a healthy, positive part of the female life cycle is really important.
Bhasha Mukherjee - Miss England 2019 Gives Up her Crown, Resumes Work As a Doctor2 minute
A selfless woman who has returned to medical care to cure coronavirus patients. Her crown hangs in the air as she is among the doctors working tirelessly to save the world from a pandemic.
Bhasha Mukherjee took a career break as a junior doctor to compete in the Miss World pageant, in which she represented England. She has returned to the UK to resume her medical work as the country's cases of coronavirus continue to rise. The contestant, who was crowned Miss England in 2019, will return to the UK to continue her medical work.
Miss Mukherjee was struck by the coronavirus pandemic during a humanitarian trip to India. She told CNN that she was in India as part of a some social work for which she is an ambassador when she began sending messages to workers on the front lines who were in trouble because of the health crisis. As the coronavirus situation at home in the UK worsened, she received a message from her colleagues at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, England, telling her how difficult the situation was.
Mukherjee arrived in India in March as the coronavirus situation in the UK began to worsen. "I felt that wearing the Miss England crown was wrong at a time when my colleagues were at the forefront of the fight against coronaviruses. We kept them informed of the situation and how it was progressing, "she said.
Mukherjee contacted the hospital's management to tell them she wanted to return to work, immediately.
"Even in humanitarian work it felt wrong for me to wear the crown of Miss England while people around the world were dying of coronavirus and my colleagues were working so hard" said Bhasha.
After an adviced period of self-isolation, she is now ready to help her colleagues in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 as an emergency doctor at the Royal London Hospital in London.
Personifying selflessness, Bhasha Mukherjee proves that fame does not stand a chance against her duty to the nation.
Gallant Captain Swati Raval Rescues Stranded Indians During Coronavirus Pandemic2 minute
What did Captain Raval do to get the attention and appreciation of even PM Narendra Modi himself?
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the Prime Minister's complete lockdown initiative, hundreds of Indians have been left stranded in different parts of the world. On 22nd of March, AirIndia released a statement claiming that they will be pulling out all stops to evacuate those Indians who happen to be stranded in different locations hit by the coronavirus pandemic. One among the determined crew set to take out this rescue mission was Captain Swati Rawal.
Mother of a 5-year-old and commander of Air India 777, Captain Rawal flew 263 Indians from Rome, Italy- the current epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic - back to India, putting her very own life at risk. She is also now India’s first women pilot to have operated a rescue flight.
Swathi Rawal has been a commercial pilot for over 15 years now, although her initial dream was to become a fighter pilot- something that was not widely encouraged for women to be at the time. To the nation, Captain Rawal will always be viewed as a true fighter.
The Prime Minister and other senior leaders of Air India also took to social media to share their thoughts on the rescue and evacuation of Indians from Rome. A number of other members of the Indian air force who evacuated Indians shared tweets of encouragement as well, and for all the right reasons.
We salute you, Captain!
#LETSFIGHTCOVID- Understanding India2 minute
“This is a time for domestic solidarity and unity. I encourage the Government to draw on India’s vibrant civil society to reach out to the most vulnerable sectors of society, to ensure no one is left behind in this time of crisis”, concluded the High Commissioner.
Amidst the worldwide pandemic that we are fighting today the need to analyze the upcoming and present challenges put forth before India is of vital importance. We all are aware of the severe health sector crisis and resource drain that is happening in the present times. Not to deny the fact that India is taking some bold measures to ensure the virus spread doesn’t happen at a community level. Hence, the World Health Organisation has stated that India’s decision for a nationwide 21-day lockdown is robust and comprehensive.
India is a country which hosts one-sixth of the world’s population hence it goes without saying that fighting a pandemic isn’t a cakewalk therefore we need to discuss as to what are the different possibilities to be identified when fighting an epidemic.
Firstly I would talk about the threats that India is having presently. Scrolling through those horrific crowding images we must have come across a lot of skepticism against India’s planning and execution strategies. However, what needs to be understood is that enormous population of the country is a major issue therefore rapid ground level realization of relief is also becoming a farfetched idea.
Secondly, the lack of resources and moreover the limited access to them at various outlets is a major cause of concern. According to an article of BBC, “Many believe India is also testing below scale because it fears that its under-resourced and uneven public health system could be swamped by patients. India could be buying time to stock up on testing kits and add isolation and hospital beds. "I know mass testing is not a solution, but our testing appears to be too limited. We need to quickly expand to restrict community transmission," said K Sujatha Rao, former federal health secretary and author of But Do We Care: India's Health System.
We haven’t taken two minutes to think before condemning the abrupt crowding at the bus depots by the migrant labourers. Today we need to step into their shoes and analyze their plight during such havoc. Nearly 52% of the migrant workers in our country belong to the unorganized sector hence lack enough legal and financial backing to sustain their lives. Instances of extreme exploitation such as beating and spraying disinfectants on these people lead to further stigmatization leading to heightened atrocities.
In a nutshell, in this aggravating situation the need for better resources and ground level realization in India are important however nothing is impossible with the constant support and cooperation of the civil society. Hence I would quote Swami Vivekananda “In the heart of things there is Unity still.”
Tina Dabi - IAS Officer Saves Bhilwara From Becoming The Epicentre Of COVID-19 In India2 minute
One Of the youngest officers in Bhilwara, 26-year-old Tina Dabi and her team saved their district (and possibly the country) from the deadly coronavirus spread. Here’s how:
To prevent Bhilwara from becoming the coronavirus hotspot of India, Tina says that she and her team were instant to act upon the situation.
On the 19th of march, Bhilwara saw its first positive case, traced it back to Brijesh Banger Memorial Hospital, a private hospital that could emerge as the epicentre of this deadly crisis. After having tested the doctors and staff positive, the district administration decided to completely shut down right away, much before the nationwide lockdown had been declared on the 25th of March.
As soon as the order was passed by the collector of district Rajendra Bhatt, Dabi said that she and her team went around the whole city, shutting everything down and even convincing and scolding some people. It wasn’t an easy task to request people not to panic due to such an emergency, but it had to be done.
“We had just one mission in mind and we had just one target that we just need to stop it … We were sitting on a ticking time bomb where it could reach any number. There was actually a possibility of massive community spreading,” says Dabi in an interview.
Despite some problems on the ground level, the Bhilwara model was a success because it was implemented well. The administration made sure that essential supplies were running and delivered to people at their doorsteps.
Admitting that this could possibly have been one of the biggest challenges Tina would have to face in her lifetime, she says “We never get this opportunity to serve so many people to handle a crisis of this magnitude. I think the Learning experience that is going to come from it is going to be very rewarding for me throughout my career and I am looking at it as a matter of pride.”
A woman that sees challenges as opportunities to face head-on, Officer Tina Dabi’s approach to handling extreme situations is truly commendable.
6 Countries That Witnessed Flattening Of The Coronavirus Curve: All Women-Led3 minute
The coronavirus pandemic has had a grip across the world and the countries efficiently handling the situation to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread all have one thing in common: they are all led by women!
It is said that women are better at handling crises. And these women leaders of all the below-mentioned countries are the strongest examples. Some facts to think about:
Headed by Angela Merkel, Germany seems to be beating the coronavirus curve with a ratio of 95% recoveries of the total closed cases.
Merkel urged her people to practice social-distancing as early as the first week of March. Germany is approx. testing 500,000 people per week, a number far more than any other European country and is also boosting the supply of ICU beds and ventilators.
A New York Times article mentioned how Merkel addressing the press "was a reminder of the woman who for much of the past 14 years has been the rock in European politics. She is the leader who reassured savings account holders during the financial crisis; who held the euro area together in the sovereign debt crisis; and who was celebrated, at least in many quarters, as the defender of liberal values after she decided to welcome over 1 million migrants in 2015."
Led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand has also seen a significant drop in the number of cases reported. A headline from the Washington Post goes something like this “New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve. It’s squashing it.”- and this explains a lot.
Jacinda Ardern’s policies relied on a single powerful statement: “Act like you have coronavirus” - to convey to the nation, the importance of staying home. She told them that “Every move you then make is a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think. That’s why the joy of physically visiting other family, children, grandchildren, friends, neighbors is on hold” that brought in a powerful perspective on how the virus must be dealt with.
New Zealand was one of the very first countries to force arriving travelers into self-isolation and to ban large gatherings which contributed immensely to curb the spread of the virus.
Although the number of cases hasn’t slowed down in Belgium, their death rate has significantly reduced to 50% and they currently have a recovery rate of 67% in closed cases. Headed by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, there was strict lockdown enforced as soon as the death toll reached 10 which led to stopping the spread of the virus on time, if not early.
"Citizens are asked to stay at home to avoid most contacts, except for going to the doctor, to shop for food, the post office, a bank, pharmacy, petrol station or to help someone in need," she said. She also issued a warning, "Businesses could be fined if they break the new rules, and foreign travel that is not "indispensable" is banned until at least April 5."
With similar precautionary actions imposed in Finland, headed by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the daily death rate has dropped since April 6th. Out of 300 closed cases, it has seen a recovery rate of 88%. The government has even banned public meetings of more than 10 people and imposed the complete closure of public services until the 13th of May to fight the novel coronavirus spread.
In Iceland, the efforts of Katrin Jakobsdottir have seen a solid 99% recovery rate with 688 recoveries out of 694 closed cases and have also successfully managed to flatten the curve considering there has been a drop in the number of daily cases in April 2nd - a number that ought to be commendable by all other nations. The country has also introduced emergency measures worth 8% of the GDP to combat the impact of coronavirus.
Even Denmark, headed by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has flattened the curve of COVID-19 spread and recorded a drop in the number of cases (from 390 to 233 on 9th April). They aim to gradually relax the lockdown by opening up daycares and schools initially instead of all services at once.
Denmark's response to the COVID-19 pandemic was applauded worldwide as a supreme example, especially due to its numerous economic measures.
6 women representing 6 different nations to fight the same cause. And all seemed to have succeeded. We guess it’s true what Michelle Obama quoted in a speech once, not so long ago: “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”
All You Need To Know About Health & Fitness Week2 minute
Glo.community has officially announced the commencement of #HealthAndWellnessWeek starting the 27th of April in response to a lot of people’s interest in the same. Did you know that while the lockdown has several benefits to your health, a lot of adverse effects can easily be witnessed as soon as you step out of your homes once the lockdown is officially lifted?
This is the sole reason for experts urging you to build up your immunity while you’re at home. Besides, sitting at home can really take a negative toll on your food habits, eating and sleeping patterns, and everyone’s current nightmare (well, besides the novel coronavirus, of course) - submitting to the lifestyle of a “couch potato”.
For all of these reasons and more, Glo has decided to bring to you: The Health & Wellness Week.
We have some very interesting conversations with health experts going live on our Instagram and a bundle of tips, titbits and articles launched each day to keep you up-to-date and answer all your health and wellness related questions.
Some of the topics covered in these questions would be: At home workouts, tackling stress and anxiety, dealing with a lack of motivation to do things, mental health and women, eating disorders, the importance of healthy eating, and lot more.
If you wish to publish an article of your own, make sure to do so on our website.
Until then, here’s some grandma verified gyaan on how to build immunity, that has seemed to work for a lot of people we know:
- Garlic. Tastes disgusting but garlic bread is great, right?
- “Haldi Doodh” AKA turmeric milk never goes out of style
- Exercise, every day. Mopping floors has seemed to work for me
- Drink pomegranate juice
- Sleep for 7/8 hours - not more nor less
We hope you folks are staying home and keeping safe.
The Story Of A Breast Cancer Survivor2 minute
We’ve all heard of or witnessed at least one case of cancer around us. Why do people think of cancer as a battle? Well, because it is. A significant part of surviving cancer is displaying the qualities of bravery - just like on a battlefield.
The story of this 55-year-old woman says it all.
Meena Bijlani, a woman, a wife, and a mother of two living in New Delhi had detected a lump in her breast on July 1st, 2013. The very same day, after consulting with her partner, she rushed to the doctor to get it checked.
After the reports came in, she saw her worst fears unfold in front of her. She had a 2.3 cm long cancerous growth in her breast. Now, her instant response to finding out about her illness was very naturally a wave of sorry followed by tears. But she knew she had to immediately start surgery and get rid of the problem because cancer demands immediate action. She had witnessed this first hand as she personally knew of two other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had been cured of it too.
On 19th July, Meena had an operation to remove the cancerous lump followed by 6 chemotherapy sessions. It was not an easy 7-month journey, she admitted. Her husband and sons were more than alert at all times and helped her get past the difficulties of chemo. They would stay at home on weekends to avoid plausible contraction of any other viruses/infections due to Meena’s now low immunity and together, look forward to someday having the same life that they all once did.
And naturally, 7 months later, Meena was completely cured. In her own words, the secret to success in the battle against cancer - “Go to your doctor as soon as possible. I want to tell any woman who finds a lump to not feel scared but deal with it immediately. This is a curable disease.”
South-East Asia alone has over 1.7 million new cancer cases every single year. Cancer of the breast and cervix are the most common ones reported among women. Reduce this risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle - avoid smoking and drinking, exercise every day, and eat a healthy balanced diet.
Masterji, and her Legacy3 minute
We have all tried matching steps to Madhuri Dixit’s ‘Dola re dola’ or ‘Ek do teen’ at least once in our lifetime. The wind beneath Madhuri Dixit’s wing, Saroj Khan, fondly known as ‘Masterji’ leaves the mortal earth and now will teach the angels how to dance.
Let’s know the lesser-known story of this most famous Choreographer the country has ever seen.
Masterji broke the shackles of patriarchy and carved a niche for herself in the man’s world. She was born as Nirmala Sadhu Singh on 22nd November 1948 Her father Kishanchand Sadhu Singh and mother, Noni Sadhu Singh migrated from Pakistan to India during the partition in 1947. Saroj Khan worked as a child actor in the movie Tarana when she was only two years old.
After making her debut as an independent choreographer in Gulzar's Mausam (1975), her first breakthrough came with Subhash Ghai's Hero (1983), but it was Sridevi's nagin dance (We have all tired that, haven’t we?) in Nagina (1986) where she was noticed for her talent, followed up by Mr India. Next, she worked with Madhuri Dixit in 'Ek Do Teen' number, Tezaab (1989) and later in Khalnayak, where she choreographed the 'Choli ke Peeche' number. Masterji leaves behind a legacy of 200 movies and her students who vouch for her immense talent. She has won Filmfare Best Choreography Award eight times, and National Film Award for Best Choreography thrice.
She was mostly trained in dance by B. Sohanlal. She embraced Islam before getting married and stayed a Muslim all her life. At the age of thirteen Saroj Khan married B. Sohanlal, 41 years old, already married and had 4 children and who was a well known dance master at that time. At the age of fourteen she gave birth to her first child Hamid Khan, who is now a famous choreographer by the name of Raju Khan.
In 1965 she separated from Sohanlal, but kept working as his assistant. They reunited again when Sohanlal had a heart attack. Saroj Khan had another child from Sohan Lal, her daughter Hina Khan. Sohanlal then moved to Madras leaving behind Saroj and two children. Afterward she married Sardar Roshan Khan and she gave birth to a daughter named Sukaina khan, who now runs a dance institute in Dubai.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Saroj Khan choreographed more than 2000 songs. She started her career as a background dancer at the age of 3, and got her first break as a choreographer with Geeta Mera Naam in 1974. Some of the iconic dance numbers choreographed by her include Hawa Hawai from Mr India, Ek Do Teen from Tezaab, Dhak Dhak Karne Laga from Beta and Dola Re Dola from Devdas.
After dominating the scene through the ’90s, Saroj’s fortunes suddenly took a rude jolt with the emergence of young dance artists like Farah Khan and Shiamak Davar. With films like Dil To Pagal Hai and Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar, Saroj’s demand began to ebb. Even Rajshri Productions did not opt for Saroj in Hum Aapke Hain Koun.
Saroj’s lasting legacy will always be the manner in which she could utilise the facial expressions of her dancers to craft popular, fast-paced songs. With younger choreographers, energy, verve and a degree of athleticism would be their hallmark. Masterji was cast in a different dye - while her works fell within the ambit of populist framework, she left enough scope for the camera to lovingly capture the expressions of her lead dancer. Hence, her dances spoke; they were not merely visual treats.
In her memory, here are a few of her beautiful work which will always be remembered.
Here’s to everyone who wants to learn her famous expressions from the ace herself
Your legacy will live on Masterji, dance in peace.
Financial Planning for Women – All you need to know5 minute
“If you don’t take care of your money, your money won’t take care of you” – Mac Duke, The Strategist.
Life is not a straight - clear - challenge free pathway and there comes a time when everyone faces some form of financial turmoil. Such was the case with the co-founder of AIB, Tanmay Bhat. In a recent podcast, Bhat recalls how during his Boards, his father was laid off and the family struggled to make ends meet. It was essentially his mother who saved the day and sustained the family for the next 6 months with her “secret” savings and investments despite a mediocre paying job at the bank.
Women empowerment is also about financial freedom. Financial knowledge need not be complicated rather it is about guidance from the right people and resources such as Nisary Mahesh, the founder of Hermoneytalks-India's first one-stop women's financial platform. It aims to provide women with financial empowerment by connecting women to financial institutions and experts.
In this video, she explains how can you choose Financial Freedom without getting overwhelmed by financial jargons
Women are an absolute natural at better financial planning than men, reveals a study conducted by the Spectrum Group. They are predisposed to undertake favorable investments and plan better to fulfill financial goals. Over the years, unfortunately, Indian women have had very little to do with the financial decisions of the house thanks to social conditioning and patriarchal traditions.
But now is the time for women to challenge the age-old taboo and take a big leap towards financial inclusion with changing social norms and freedom to earn. And we can finally see this happening around us.
In October 2019, Scripbox surveyed around 400 women (of which 54% millennials, 56% non-millennials) to understand their investment quotient. A majority of 44% of respondents confirmed that they needed financial advisors and are willing to accept additional help in financial planning. Nearly 25% of respondents admitted to not having a financial goal in mind.
Another survey was conducted by Scripbox in February 2020 with over 600 women (of which 70% millennials, 24% GenX, rest over 50 years age) across India to find out how they deal with their earnings. The survey revealed that 68% of the respondents either manage their own finances or had an equal say in family financial decisions. A solid 80% of the women confirmed that they are disciplined with monthly savings, with more than 20% saving nearly half their monthly income.
The surveyed women seem to be going in the right direction as it is highly advised, especially for single women, to save more. The reasons why women need to save more are - gender pay gap, career breaks, and a longer life span. According to the Monster Salary Index Report 2019, women in India earn 19% less than their male counterparts. The gap is more at the executive level at 45%, while the gap is 25%- 30% at entry level. In India, women are more prone to taking career breaks for- taking care of children or sick parents, relocation due to marriage etc. This in turn has a direct impact in form of losses in forced savings like PF, downturn in career progression and foregone investment. As per the Global Health Observatory, female life expectancy on average is 6 to 8 years more than male means more money required to sustain longer life.
Now that we have a little background on the ‘women and finances’ equation, let’s get to the crux of the matter and explore the key ingredients of the below master recipe:
Warren Buffet, a billionaire American investor and philanthropist advises people to stick by a simple rule - Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving. The first step towards giving life to his advice in your life and knowing how to manage your money is - to chalk out a plan for money utilisation.
Step 1 – Track cashflow:
Expense tracking makes you cognizant about where you are spending your money instead of wondering where it went. It is important that you record ALL your expenses - even a pencil! Once you have all the data, you can then group your expenses in cost categories like – food, stationery, maintenance to get an overall picture of your purchases.
Step 2 – Set goals:
Setting a saving goal is a stepping stone towards efficient money management as it gives direction to your plan. You can begin with deciding what you want to save for - it could be a dress, a vacation, a home or your child’s education. You can divide your goals into short term – under 1 year, medium – 1 to 3 years and long term – over 4 years. Set easy and achievable short term goals. The resulting small wins will motivate you to align yourself better for the demanding and practical long term goals.
Step 3 – Build budget
Once you are aware of the nature of your expenses and the goals you want to achieve, you can start building a budget to develop a structured road map to reach your goals. Budgeting helps you figure out where your finances stand.
The popular 50/30/20 budget rule is a simple way to budget where you spend 50% of your after-tax pay on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on savings or paying off debt.
You can tweak this rule as per your circumstances and preference perhaps even come up with a fourth leg to the proportion - Investments. Additionally, Indian women who live with their parents should take advantage of having to spend bare minimum on their necessities and try to save as much as possible.
After you’ve made the income allocation rule that suits you, start building your budget.
- First apportion your income to the savings fund or any other fund (like emergency fund, debt pay off fund, online course fund) you’ve created, as per your rule.
- Then apportion the remaining money to a planned expenses .Classify your cost categories into fixed expenses (rent, EMI, domestic help’s salary) and variable expenses (order in, shopping, fuel) to know which cost are discretionary and non-discretionary.
- Record actual expenses against the planned expense to arrive at the difference.
- The difference recorded in the final column is planned expense – actual expense. The difference can be favourable or unfavourable depending on how much you’ve underspent or overspent. Your aim should be to keep it favourable or your savings will take a hit!
Following is a basic view of a personal budget:
4 – Cut expenses
Tracking your expenses will make you realise that you’ve probably been indulging in lots of impulse buying on Instagram thanks to the Instagram ads while mindless scrolling or you could learn that the most expensive thing you consistently spend on is a ₹380 coffee.
When thinking of cutting down expenses, it usually makes sense to first pay credit card bills on times in order to keep your credit score in check and pay off the debt that charges the highest rate of interest if you have taken any loans and. It is also good to keep in mind that the Indian Income Tax Act allows for various tax deduction and exemptions on interest expenses and/or principal repayment for education loan under section 80E and for home loan under section 80C and 24. However, there are no specific sections mentioning tax benefits on a personal loan.
Then you must focus on if there is anyway fixed expenses could be worked around. This is usually difficult, but you could consider a few following suggestions –
- changing your monthly wifi or mobile plan to a more sustainable one
- cancel expensive subscriptions/memberships to apps and clubs whose services you don’t use often.
- curb the power consumption in your house by – using a programmable thermostat to automatically change temperature at home, lowering the temperature on the water heater so that it doesn’t not have to maintain a store of warm water at a high pocket burning temperatures, utilizing power strips and power timers to turn electrical devices on and off or consider a prepaid electric bill plan. Also try to curtail water bill by using water judiciously.
- moving to a less expensive but safe area for a while and carpooling to work to save on your fixed rent and fuel expenses.
The next thing is to find all the ways you can curb your variable or discretionary spend. This involves a little hard work, the will to put a cap on your desires and the skill to talk yourself out of buying something. Here are a few suggestions you could consider:
- Cook and pack your meals at home. Sometimes you can make extra dinner so that you can use it for lunch the next day.
- Wait it out and only buy the big items like fridge, laptop, washing machine when there is a sale going on. Always ask for any discounts/offers wherever you shop. At the same time be aware to not blow yourself out at a sale unnecessarily.
- Spend smart, for example – buy a combined Netflix plan with friends rather than paying for an expensive single subscription, compute the cost-effectiveness of zero interest EMIs by looking at hidden costs like processing fees.
- Checking your bank balance regularly will give you regular reality checks instead of a shock at the end of the month. And spending in cash will make you more mindful and keep you in control of your finances.
- Leave the item for 24 hours before making the purchase. If you are still thinking about it the next day and can afford it, then you could go ahead and buy it.
- Change your surrounding that makes you spend. Mute certain pages on social media that have too much-promoted content, avoid a few party nights and try to channel your energy and time in productive things.
Finally, if you are about to spend more than 10% of your monthly salary on a single item then ask your self these questions:
- Can I live without it?
- Based on my financial situation, can I afford it?
- Will I actually use it?
- Do I have the space for it?
- What is my emotional state in general today? (Calm? Stressed?)
- How do I feel about buying it? (Happy? And how long will this feeling last?)
Step 5 – Review
In the last step, at the end of each month you must look back and reflect on your progress. Revisit your plan to incorporate any changes in the future and update your goals every few months. Repeat Step 2 to Step 5.
At this point, I would like to introduce you to Kakeibo ( translates to household financial ledger), a Japanese method of saving money. It is more or less the same as the above steps that we discussed, but what sets it apart is that it doesn’t have any technology involved - only a notebook and a pen. It emphasizes the importance of writing things down. When financial goals are penned down, they become more concrete. Statistics show that people who put their goals in writing have an 80 percent chance of achieving them.
What is more important about the Kakeibo technique is that it places immense emphasis on mindful spending and incremental changes. It makes you to think about your purchases and what motivates you to buy them and makes you honest about your needs and wants. In short, it induces awareness and discipline in handling money. Most of the above suggestions to curb variable expenditure and the questions you must ask yourself before making a big purchase are inspired by the fundamentals of Kakeibo. This method is for you if being tech-savvy is not your cup of tea!
“A penny saved is a penny earned” – Benjamin Franklin.
Any act that is done consistently shapes our life and so is the case with savings. It is vital that you are consistent with your savings even if your brain is tricked by YOLO or FOMO. Thankfully, there are plenty of options where you can safeguard your money and even multiply it.
Savings account – This type of account allows the holder to deposit money at her convenience and even earn interest of 4% - 6% on the same. It is best suitable for folks with a steady income and short-term financial goals. There is usually a limit to the number of transactions permitted per month and a minimum balance to be maintained in some accounts.
Banks like ICICI, HDFC and Axis have special women’s savings account and offer various benefits like – personal accident insurance cover, a cashback per month on the usage of debit cards across key segments, 50% discount on locker rentals and processing fees on loans, unlimited free transactions. Few banks also offer zero balance
Fixed Deposits – These are popular saving vehicles for the long term with the highest maturity period up to 10 years. FDs comparatively offers higher interest rates of 6.25% to 8% than savings account where your money is locked in for a fixed tenure and premature withdrawals are not allowed. Although you can break the FD in case of emergency by paying a penalty
Banks also provide a Sweep-in facility on term deposits, that interlink the depositor's savings bank account with a fixed deposit account. This facilitates the auto-transfer of surplus amount from savings account to the FD account and earns FD rates on your savings account. The other benefit is that FD will automatically be broken by the bank in order to fulfill transactions for which there are not enough funds in your account without affecting the full deposit amount or the interest on it.
Bajaj FinServ, an NBFC, rated FAAA by CRISIL offers a lucrative interest rate of up to 7.60%, which can go up to 7.85% for senior citizens with a minimum deposit of ₹25000. It offers various benefits like – loan against FD up to 75% of FD value, flexible tenors between 12 to 60 months.
Endowment Plan - Endowment plan is a life insurance policy which offers both - an insurance cover and a savings plan. You pay a higher premium compared to a conventional life insurance policy since you get best of both worlds. The premiums you pay are essentially periodic savings for a stipulated time period of 10, 15 or 20 years at the end of which (i.e. when policy matures) you receive a promised lumpsum. However, in case of sudden death of the policyholder, the insurance company will pay the sum assured to the nominee of the policy. Some policies also pay out in the case of critical illness.
There are different types of endowment plans: Unit Linked Endowment holds units of insurance premiums under specific investment funds chosen by policy holders and gives out amount along with earnings from the fund attributable to the policy holder. With Profit Endowment gives out the assured amount along with bonuses that are announced from time to time by the company. There is also Non-Profit Endowment with no extra bonus or profits. Unlike normal life insurance policies, under endowment plans you don’t have through any medical check-up.
Voluntary Provident Fund – Every month a certain amount of money is deducted from an Indian employee’s salary as PF (provident fund). This is done for the Employee Provident Fund (EPF), a retirement savings scheme mandated by the government where a minimum of 12% of the basic salary is deposited in the EPF account. For a woman employee on her first job, the EPF contribution is capped at 8%.
Now, the Voluntary Provident Fund is the contributions made by the employees that are beyond the minimum contribution to their EPF, to earn returns. The current interest offered on VPF contributions is 8.65%.
To make a VPF contribution, all you need to do is inform your employer that you want to increase your EPF contribution. The employer will then deduct the sum that you wish to invest as VPF from your salary. This is a risk-free way of saving money as it is back by the government and this fund can also be transferred across all eligible employers.
Public Provident Fund –PPF is a tax-free savings scheme that earns an annual interest where the government revises the rate every quarter. The minimum annual contribution that can be made to a PPF account is Rs. 500 while the maximum is capped at Rs. 1.5 lakh. There can only be 12 contributions per year. The lock-in period is 15 years, although one partial withdrawal per year is available after the 5th year or 7th year (which is tax-free) depending on your bank and a loan can be availed against the PPF from the 3rd to the 6th year.
National Savings Certificate – Just like PPF, NSC is also a fixed income investment scheme that can be accessed at any post office. This scheme is for Indian “individuals” only and offers guaranteed interest and capital protection. The certificate earns an annual fixed interest rate, currently, 7.8% and this rate is revised by the government every quarter. The interest earned is compounded annually ad reinvested by default. The minimum amount required for the certificate is ₹100 with no maximum limit, but the maximum tenure is for 5 years only. NSC certificates are accepted as collateral or security for secured loans in Banks and NBFCs.
Sukanya Samriddhi Account - You can save in this scheme only if you have a girl child. The account can be opened for a maximum of two girl children any time after their birth till they turn 10. The current rate of interest is 8.4% which is revised every quarter and compounded annually. The minimum annual deposit is ₹250 and the maximum is ₹1.5 lakh. The amount must be deposited in this account for 15 years but the account matures after 21 years or whenever the girl gets married whichever is earlier. This means that there are no deposits between the 16th and 21st year.
And the final good news of this section is that all the above-listed savings options are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80C of Income Tax Act 1961 up to ₹1.5 lakh. Endowment plans are eligible to further benefits under Section 10(10D). But the Fixed and Recurring Deposits are eligible for tax rebate under section 80C if held for a minimum of 5 years although the interest earned on these deposits is taxable.
Investment is the last element of our financial stability equation. Aya Laraya, a certified securities representative says “When you invest you are buying a day you don’t have to work”.
Investment is not as straight forward as the act of saving, it means putting your money out there and exposing it to risk of market fluctuations. Your investments will grow and be secure if you have - a) patience b) understanding of your risk appetite (i.e. willingness to tolerate loss of investment) and c) market knowledge.
Let us understand what a mutual fund is. A mutual fund is a type of investment vehicle consisting of a portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. It gives individual investors access to diversified, professionally managed portfolios at a low price. A mutual fund thrives on the idea of not keeping all the eggs in one basket. Investors typically earn a return from a mutual fund through:
- Distribution of income that the fund makes via dividends on stock and interests on bonds.
- Distribution of capital gain that fund has by selling securities whose prices have increased.
- Selling their own share of the mutual fund in the market.
Below are the types of mutual funds and their make. Open-ended mutual funds are available for subscription throughout the year whereas close-ended mutual funds have a lock-in period and a maturity date.
Some of the investment options that are related to mutual funds are:
Systematic Investment Plan - SIP is an investment route where one can invest fixed small amounts r weekly, monthly, and quarterly in a chosen mutual fund scheme. A minimum of ₹500 can be invested in mutual funds in India. SIP offers various flexibilities in terms of investing such as withdrawing amount at regular intervals and transferring funds from one mutual fund scheme to another
Equity Linked Savings Scheme – ELSS are tax saving mutual funds that mainly invest in equities. They have a lock-in period of 3 years. These funds give high returns if you stay invested for a longer time period. Qualifies for tax exemption of ₹1.5 lakh under Section 80C.
National Pension System –NPS is a scheme initiated by the Indian government seeking to provide retirement benefits. A subscriber can contribute regularly in a pension account during her working life, the pension fund grows until retirement via contributions and market-linked returns. On retirement or exit of the subscriber at least 40% of the contribution is utilised for the procurement of lifetime pension via the purchase of an annuity. The remaining funds are paid to the subscriber in a lump sum.
Moving on from mutual funds, following are the main platforms and items you could consider putting your money in:
Secondary Market- This is where you can trade - stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, options, and various other individual financial instruments. You can open a DEMAT account online and start trading on exchanges like NIFTY, BSE, MCX and so on. It is highly recommended to get a financial advisor before venturing into the market. Most people blindly invest in financial instruments based on random tips by peers or self-proclaimed experts that lead them towards financial ruin.
Gold – This is the oldest method of investing your money which running in Indian households from generations. Fun fact – the value of gold in 1990 was ₹3200 per 10gm and now in 2020, it is around ₹49500 per 10gm. Therefore, investing in gold is a golden option that will not disappoint.
Gold investment can be done in many forms like buying jewelry, bars, gold exchange-traded funds, gold funds, sovereign gold bond schemes and so on.
Gold ETFs(Exchanged Traded Funds) is similar to buying physical where the gold bought is stored in Demat (paper) format instead of going through the hassle of storing it physically. On the other hand, in gold funds investment is done in the form of gold bars in gold mining companies.
Sovereign gold bonds are issued by the Reserve Bank of India in the form of digital gold offering an interest of 2.5% with a lock-in period of 8 years. The bonds are denominated in units of grams of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram. The maximum investment one can make is 4 kg. These bonds have an exit option from the 5th year onwards.
Coming to the last segment of this blog. Here are some of the top-rated apps in India that could help you with planning, saving and investing your money – Qykly, Walnut, Chillr, Wally, Clarity Money,ETmoney and the free app Mint. Appealing features of some of these apps are –
- Expense tracking and ability to analyze expense and income graph
- Automated bill payments and reminders
- Bill splitting facility amongst your group
- Enables tax-saving and reimbursement categorization
- Provisions investment in mutual funds and other savings account schemes
- Ability to analyze existing investments
- Generates transaction summary on a monthly basis
Managing finances may not be easy but it is no rocket science either. Simple changes in your lifestyle can help you save more. Plus, with plenty of support and information available on the internet from banks, government bodies, investment platforms and trusted websites, one can create a win-win situation between current spendings and future savings.
Disclaimer: The author and publisher of Glo.community have used their best efforts in preparing the article. They make no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this article. The information contained in the article is strictly for educational purposes and we do not endorse any product mentioned in the article. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in the article, you are taking full responsibility for your actions.
21 Must-Know Laws for Indian Women6 minute
Women in our nation have reached great heights of success, yet most of them are still not aware of the most common laws for Indian women laid down by our government.This article attempts to help educate about the laws for Indian women.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Women in our nation have reached great heights of success, yet most of them are still not aware of the most common laws for Indian women laid down by our government. Whenever a wrong is done, often we let the matter slide because we don’t want to deal with police and courts. If each one of us knows our rights, instead of being terrified, we could actually fight the wrong. This article attempts to help educate about the laws for Indian women. The term Police itself is so misunderstood by us. POLICE stands for Public Officer for Legal Investigations and Criminal Emergencies.
Ever partied too loud or too late for the police to come and intervene? Or have been in a situation where the traffic police have threatened to take you to the police station? Well, they can’t!
- When women interact with a Police Officer- Women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. If arrested, they have to be presented before a Magistrate within 24 hours and should be kept in a prison separate from the male prisoners. The arrest and search of your body can be made only by a female officer.
- If any form of questioning is required with the Police: If the police officer wants to do any investigation or question you further about any complaint you may have filed, he needs to come to your home and do such questioning at your residence. The police officer cannot call you alone to the police station or any other place of his choice.
- When Woman endures sexual harassment or a sexual assault at the workplace: Each one of us has had that sneaky boss of ours eyeing us in a manner that made us uncomfortable. Or in an interview, a sexual favor was demanded in exchange for the job. Whether verbal or non-verbal, such action is not acceptable. All such complaints are to be filed within three months of the occurrence with the Internal Committee at your workplace. If there is no Internal Committee, you can file all such complaints with the Local Committee in the town where you work or reside.
- Women have a right to Equal Pay: There should be equal pay for men and women for the same work done by them in the same position. For example, Two team leads with equal experience, should receive the same salary irrespective of their gender. No gender discrimination can be made even during the hiring process. This has also been guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.
- When a woman works night shifts- There should be proper security measures taken by your employer if your job demands night shifts. This includes your travel to and from work. No woman should be made to work alone in a night shift and has to be necessarily placed in a group.
- Woman’s right to say No and Sexual Assault: When you are touched sexually without consent, or forced or coerced to establish any form of physical relationship, it is sexual assault. If any form of threat is made to you to get the consent, it is not consent. Stalking, eve-teasing, Voyeurism, acid attack, outraging a woman’s modesty, showing pornography etc. are all considered to be sexual assault and sexual violence.
- Woman’s Right to Privacy: The identity of a sexual assault victim is to be kept confidential under all circumstances. Your statement may be recorded by before a Magistrate without being overheard by anyone else. Even in the judgment, the judge refers to you as the ‘victim’. All the Bollywood movies where cross-examination is done in open court, it is only entertainment purposes. The reality is very different.
- Medical Examination in the event of rape and sexual assault: A medical test to establish rape should be conducted within the first 72 hours of the incident. It is to be performed by a female doctor. The test establishes any sexual activity performed on the woman and helps to detect the rapist if any semen sample is found in the victim’s body. Rape is a crime and not a medical condition.
- FIR in case of Sexual Assault: There is no time limit to report rape or sexual assault. A case may be filed in any police station that the victim wants to, in the presence of a female constable. This is known as the Zero FIR. Section 375 and 376 of the IPC deal with rape. In certain cities like Delhi, a woman may report a sexual assault online or through a registered post letter to a senior police officer.
- Woman’s Right to Free Legal Aid: When reporting a sexual assault, if you do not have a lawyer present, you may ask for legal aid and the police officer has to provide you with it.
- Right of Abortion: Abortion is the right of a woman. Hence, no parental or husband’s consent is required to abort. Under normal conditions, until the 20th week, the woman can abort and if there is any risk to the life of a mother, abortion can be done until the 24th week.
- But without the woman’s consent, abortion is illegal and a punishable offense. During pregnancy, under no circumstances can any test be performed to find out the gender of the baby. This is a crime.
- Right against cyber crimes: With the advent of technology, it has become much easier for criminals to hide behind their digital screens and harass women. Cyber Stalking, Identity theft, Online Defamation, Morphing pictures, pornography, etc. are all crime.
- Cybercrime complaints may be filed online at https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ or in your nearest police station. You may file a complaint anonymously as well.
- Rights of a married woman: The Supreme Court in India has said that every married woman should be treated with dignity and respect. You are entitled to live in the same house as your husband and to be maintained by him. Any act of bigamy on the part of your husband is a punishable offense.
- Woman’s right Against Domestic Violence: If your husband or any other man in your house hits you, you can file a Domestic violence case. This may be filed with or without simultaneously asking for Divorce.
- Right to Property and Streedhan: All the gifts received by you before and after marriage ceremonies or during childbirth, is your personal property and no one can take it away from you, not even your husband. You have an equal right in your father’s property as well. Similarly, you also have a right in your husband’s property after his death.
- Woman’s right to give divorce: Divorce is always a second chance at happiness and everyone deserves to stay happy. If any cruelty is being meted out to you, you can ask for a divorce. Adultery, Bigamy, religious conversion, insanity, missing for over 7years, or non- consummate the marriage, are divorce grounds.
- If your husband has committed rape, bestiality or sodomy; on any other person, it may be a ground for divorce provided you can prove it. Marital rape is considered in India only when the age of the wife is less than 18yrs.
- Note: It may be noted that the marital laws in our nation differ with respect to the caste and faith of a person.
- Right to Maintenance and Alimony: In the event of judicial separation or divorce, a woman is entitled to maintenance from her husband for herself and her children, as long as she does not remarry. The amount depends on your lifestyle under Section 125 of CRPC and decided by a judge. Alimony is a one-time payment of maintenance.
- Right to Child’s custody: Ideally for a child below the age of 5yrs, the mother is the natural guardian and the child should remain in the mother’s custody. A female minor child is usually placed in the mother’s custody always.
- A right to Maternity benefits: Becoming a mother is one of the best feelings in the world and it should not stand in the way of your success and career graph. Every expecting, adopting or surrogate mother has the right to maternity benefits. It may be claimed for up to 26weeks and post this, if the nature of the job permits, you can opt for work from home. During the period of maternity leave, you cannot be fired or demoted. Even if the mother dies during childbirth, your heir is entitled to the payment of any maternity benefit that is due. Even at instances of miscarriage, it is supposed to be paid. Some common queries were answered by the Ministry of Labour & Employment which may also be helpful- Maternity Benefit Laws
- Woman’s right to Live-in relationship: Any sound woman above the age of 18yrs has the right to choose her partner whether to get married or be in a live-in relationship with. Live-in relationships are legally recognized by the law. And children of such couples also have legal rights against the father.
- Right against Dowry: Both giving and receiving dowry, whether in the name of gifts or anything else is strictly prohibited. If you are being tortured by your in-laws in the name of dowry, you may seek divorce and legally imprison your husband and his family.
National Commission For Women
The NCW is a government body in India that aims to voice the rights of women in our country. It has advocated and fought against archaic laws. It strives to ensure the safety of women, both inside and outside their houses.
If anyone of you have any further questions regarding your rights, you may click the link below to seek help for all such matters: http://www.ncw.nic.in/helplines
The website also provides the space to ask your questions online as well. http://ncw.nic.in/
The National Women Helpline number is 181.
My Personal Experience:
Being a lawyer, I have encountered many women who wanted to file for divorce or get an abortion or wanted to file a complaint in general for any atrocity meted out to them. But more often than not, they would not go through with it despite living horrendous lives. Their biggest fears involved only one question- What will the people think? Log kya kahengey! And how would they support themselves and their children after the incident? But all these fears are unnecessary as there are enough laws in our nation to protect the interest of women.
India, the land of Durga, Kali and Saraswati, ironically is famous for being one of the most aggressively dominant patriarchal societies in the world. But since Independence, one step at a time, an attempt is made to bring change. The laws though abundant lacks awareness.
Women have traveled a long way from being uneducated and married at the age of 10yrs to now becoming the CEO’s of some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Battles are being fought day in and day out in against patriarchy but most battles are yet to be won.
Once the rights are identified, it shall become increasingly easy to get these rights implemented. One step at a time and we shall be in an equal state with the men in our society if not superior. This is where feminism begins. This article hopes to be a step in the direction of achieving that.
FOITO- Transforming lives with the right career path3 minute
I recently came across a book called ‘Ikigai’- The Japanese secret of a long and happy life. And the secret to a long and happy life is to find a career which gives you a purpose to wake up to every day.
As a child, whenever I was asked “what do you want to become”? the answers changed every 6 months. So I had a plethora of choices starting from a doctor, to astronaut, a comedian, a robotics expert, and whatnot.
But then little did I realize that what we dream of and what we end up doing can be stark opposites. As we step into higher education we get into peer pressure or family pressure and eventually choose a career which is “Trending in India” and finally fall into a spiral of gloom and despair when we realize halfway through that we do not like our career path.
Owing to the immense competition, we are still stuck in a maze where it is almost difficult to get to know ourselves. But it is important to note that embarking on a path to the right career without a thorough analysis of your own self is a horrible mistake and, as a consequence, all of us may eventually be left in a state of absolute misery!
Therefore, before planning out our future job opportunities, our main focus would be to better understand ourselves. It means developing our latent talents, finding things that really attract us, searching for experiences that give us an adrenaline rush, recognizing work that doesn't make us feel drained and helps us to reach our highest potential.
This seems quite daunting for us being in a country where only rhetoric learning is given utmost importance and there is less scope for developing skills that match our passion.
Still, wondering how to go about it?
This is where FOITO comes to the rescue.
FOITO was incorporated in November 2018. They have covered a journey of 1.5 years and have already completed more than 30 + training projects and over 80 skills assessments. Having a network of 20 + trainers across India, they have been able to deliver effectively to all their clients
A brief introduction about the founders:
Mr. Shabar Syed (Co-Founder)
Enthusiast, ambitious and imaginative, his diverse professional experience, his passion for teaching and his versatility in strategic analysis help him deliver enriching interaction-based learning sessions.
Manohar Reddy (Co-Founder)
Humble, technically strong, he knows the best way to manage the most complicated situations. His unique actions and imaginative concepts, together with his first-hand experience of working for a leading retail store, helps him add practical scenarios to the workshops.
Swagata Ganguly (Co-Director)
Bcom Hons graduated from Delhi University, now pursuing an MBA at IIM Lucknow, was part of FOITO 's journey as an intern and is now looking to manage the venture forward as a director.
The USPs of FOITO are as follows:
Their Skill Evaluation Module is an emotional intelligence-based skill evaluation that seeks to help people determine their best career choices based on three-point requirements. They also recommend the necessary preparation programs on the basis of the qualifications needed for the career paths thereby obtained.
The best part is whether we are at the beginning of our career or in mid-level jobs they can help us steer in the right direction based on our educational qualifications. Or if we want to venture into entrepreneurship they give all the necessary training by Industry Experts customized according to our needs.
So, FOITO provides a fascinating opportunity for those who want to explore their latent talents and are able to find some promising career opportunities where they'll be successful.
As the saying goes “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." —Confucius
"It’s not my fault”- Reflections of the wife of an alcoholic5 minute
I am a wife of an Alcoholic. There I have said it and it’s out in the open.
Why do we feel the need to hide this fact? He is the one drinking, he is the one who is abusive, he is the one who is not earning and I have to sweep everything under the carpet and keep quiet because we want to protect the family name?
I am the one dreading family gatherings or shudder at the thought of calling friends over. After all, who likes to be embarrassed? So that makes me the spoilsport and he is always the life of a party.
So, I’m saying this aloud. “I am a wife of an Alcoholic”. And what I wanted to write about and give importance to is how over a period of years I have learnt to deal with it.
However, before we go there let’s talk about the alcoholic first and typical traits.
- Do you see your loved one finding an excuse to drink - good news, bad news, indifferent news- anything is a reason to drink.
- Do they start hiding their drinks? This not only helps them to access it quickly but also helps them to hide the amount of alcohol they have consumed after all they don’t want you to see that they finished X amount of bottles already!
- They only want to attend parties and gatherings where there is booze available freely. Everything else is a waste of time and boring! Never mind if you were looking forward to spending some quality time with these people or were so wanting to go hiking in the mountains or for a stroll in the garden.
- They gradually start drinking earlier and earlier in the day. In my case these days he is already high by 10 a.m. That’s the only way he can step out in the world.
- Money starts going missing from your purse; you might have some jewelry missing too. That’s when you learn the hard way that your belongings all need to be under lock and key always. Imagine having to stay like that in your own house.
- Then they stop eating proper meals, always on the lookout to have a drink only and start neglecting personal hygiene and that’s when you realize that you have an issue at hand. He goes without brushing his teeth for weeks, let’s not talk about baths! This is when the verbally abusive behavior begins. Physical abuse is not far away.
These are just a few typical traits and mostly what I relate to however there will be plenty of other warning signs and trust your instinct… Always... it’s never wrong.
Sometimes you don’t need to read about typical traits after all the blood-red eyes, hangovers, the smell; the disheveled appearance is right in front of your eyes… all in plain sight.
I have been married for 18 years now and he has been an alcoholic even before we met. During our engagement phase, I didn’t realize it or rather did not take heed of all the warning signs and for various other social pressures went ahead with the marriage after all you are living in India and arranged marriages are a norm even now. Has been a roller coaster ride ever since.
And through my entire journey of living with an alcoholic there is one thing that I have realized and that is I am powerless over his drinking.
You can drain his drinks down the drain, hide his bottles, don’t give him money, try to reason with him, put him in rehabilitation centers, try to be more loving or go the opposite way and threaten him with different consequences but all these are just ways to aggravate the situation more and waste of time if he is not ready to see reason. I have even left home twice now but nothing changes. Earlier it was easier for me because I would escape to my mother’s place every weekend which would make the week ahead bearable but after she passed away 4 years ago I lost that privilege too.
That’s when I was told about Al Anon. This is a group for the family of an alcoholic. It’s a worldwide group where people with similar situations come together once a week. You can say it’s a byproduct of the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) group because alcohol doesn’t destroy the alcoholic alone; it takes a toll on his/her family too.
I attended meetings for a couple of months and I realized that though the purpose of the whole thing was to give some semblance in my life this particular group was not working for me. Not that the group was not helpful or most caring but due to my own inhibitions.
But there are some learnings that I picked up from these meetings which have been embedded in my mind since then. It can be hard to hear that you need to change yourself when a loved one is living with alcoholism. After all, it's their problem, isn't it? Unfortunately, you can only change yourself, and the only way you can interrupt and change the current course of your interactions with an alcoholic is to change your reactions. I have tried to incorporate them in my daily life and it has really helped me cope up with my situation(not always successfully but patience is the name of the game and my friends do tell me that I should get an award for the level that I have reached). Anyway, let me share some of these with you.
My Life Learnings
The first learning out of this that one needs to take in is that of “Acceptance”.
The first and foremost advice that I would like to share with you is to stop trying to change him. You need to accept the fact that it is a choice that he is making of staying in this drunken stupor and only he can decide when to stop. To say it in simple language it means that you can take the horse to the well but you cannot force it to drink water. You also need to accept that Alcoholism is a disease just like any other disease like cancer and should not be underestimated.
Nothing works for the simple reason that YOU are trying to change him. If you tell him how he looked, how he acted, what you think of him for it, it won’t work. He’ll just fall back on the old excuse, ‘She’s picking on me again,’ and he’ll have a grievance against you again and another excuse to drink. They never want to discuss what triggered us, just how you reacted! You have to say what you mean but you have to say it without being mean and let him draw his own conclusions. He has to learn that there are always consequences for each and every action and he has to take responsibility for his actions. He is an adult and you cannot control him, accept that it is for his own good. It is very difficult to do it, trust me I have been in such situations. Your maternal instinct kicks in and you want to avoid an ugly scenario and help him however you can but LEAVE HIM BE.
I have learnt this the hard way. He had taken money from some moneylender and when he was not able to pay back there were thugs who came home and threatened the entire family with dire consequences if we did not pay up within the next 48 hours. I did pay up at that time but refused the next time.
Another time a person actually called the police and as he had contacts they came and took him in, beat him black and blue and kept him overnight at the station. Sounds like I am heartless but he had to bear the consequences.
An active alcoholic will always be in a stage of strong denial and will never accept that he has an issue. He can come to a stage where he realizes that he is unable to get out of this vicious circle and needs help. A stage where he accepts that alcohol is a cause of all his troubles and he wants to come out of it. This is where we can help him/her with the help of Rehabilitation Centers and AA Meetings till then you are completely helpless and nothing you say or do is ever going to work.
You also have to accept that he might never reach the stage where he realizes that he has an issue. Such cases can go to the extreme where he can have multiple organ issues and might not make it. Harsh truth but it is what it is.
The second thing that we have to learn is “Expectations”.
We feel that if he really cared about me and if he really wanted he could stay sober and avoid drinks totally. We have too many expectations not from ourselves but from another human being. Why?
I so wanted to get inside his brain and turn the screws in what I thought was the right direction based on what my expectations were. Why can’t he be a sober husband with a good job, a loving person and a caring and supportive father?
There are days when he is sober and he makes all types of promises. “My drinking is not that serious, I can stop whenever I want”, “I swear I will not drink again”, “I swear I will be a different person now just help me out from this situation” etc. And the very next day when he comes home drunk again I am so hurt by the broken promises and take the lies personally. We naturally expect them to be sincere to us. This is what expectations looks like.
What seems like a reasonable expectation in some circumstances might be totally unreasonable when it comes to someone with an addiction. Is it reasonable to expect someone to be honest with you when the person is incapable of being honest even with themselves and admit that they have a problem and need help?
In reality, we as a family should do nothing and can do nothing. When a person with a substance use problem reaches a crisis point, sometimes that's the time the person finally admits they have a problem and begins to reach out for help. It is very difficult to sit back and let it play out to its fullest extent. When an alcoholic reaches the point that they get a DUI, lose their job, or get thrown in jail, it can be a difficult concept to accept that the best thing you can do in the situation is to do nothing. It may seem like it goes against everything you believe and against all your expectations.
In a nutshell, the only person you can work upon is your own self. Once you realize this trust me life will let you breathe easy. When you reach this stage you will feel a burden on your shoulders and will be able to admire the view. My happiness, my peace of mind, my attitudes, the way I look, the way I stay, the way I behave are all my responsibility. Only I have the power to change all that and the thought that I don’t have to take responsibility for the alcoholic’s behavior is such a relief.
I hope this has helped in bringing some sense of comfort and ease to your life. If you know of any dear and near ones who are going through the same situation and feel that it could help them in any way then please do share this.
And to end this let me tell you that working on Acceptance and Expectations is less than half the battle won. You can then move on to what I call the second stage. I shall touch base on that another time. Till then keep repeating the three “C”s of Al Anon to yourself:
I didn’t Cause it
I can’t Control it and
I can’t Cure it
Undiet with Namrata- A mindful approach to Diet!2 minute
Whenever I hear the word ‘diet’, the first thing that comes to my mind is eating only salads or consuming only boiled veggies. It is every foodie’s nightmare. And so somehow I always resented dieting and often was a victim of stress eating. Little did I realize that diet plays a key role in our hormonal changes and I had to face the wrath of hormones every time during PMS.
One day, I came to know about Undiet.with.Namrata - and the word ‘Undiet” itself is very relaxing as opposed to Diet.
True to its meaning, the focus of Undiet is not a usual restrictive diet plan, instead it a total lifestyle revamp so that you can not only satisfy your food cravings but find an improved version of yourself with mindful eating.
The founder of Undiet, Namrata Manyal having worked with people from different sectors & across the globe, realized that health is not just physical, but also mental. The cause of most metabolic disorders is related to chronic stress. This lead to the birth of Undiet.with. Namrata which has more of a holistic approach to nutrition taking into account factors that lead to eating the wrong food.
The aim of Undiet.with.Namrata is to heal people's relationship with food & themselves so that they can enjoy their Journey of Health. It is more of a step towards good health by understanding yourself better. Be it your hormonal health, gut health or simply your skin, everything depends on what you eat. The next time you see hair fall instead of changing your shampoo again, try understanding what are you eating wrong?
So let us take a pledge today to improve our relationship with food.
8 Surprisingly effective ways to stay positive during the Isolation3 minute
We are all aware of the famous saying, ‘There is no place like home’. We all agree that a home is a place where we can find serenity and peace. But being at home for an extended period without human contact especially during this lockdown has unleashed a plethora of issues for us - Anxiety, overthinking, and a snowballing negative mental state.
Many people are becoming victims of what we can call the ‘Loneliness Epidemic’.
The biggest reason is of course staying far away from family due to job opportunities in big cities or they are simply trapped in metro cities due to fear of contracting Covid-19 during travel.
Human beings are social animals and we are not wired to staying alone for extended periods of time. That’s why human beings always look for human connections whether in personal or professional lives. We sure have escaped from direct interaction with one or the other toxic colleague/friend but believe it or not our lives have become more mundane nowadays without any drama.
It's time we break the monotony and the loneliness as we have some surprisingly effective ideas up our sleeves. Once you start implementing these ideas you can bring a huge change in your life.
1. Develop a new hobby:
It sounds really easy and we might already have many ideas regarding which hobby to pursue. But the main thing is to be consistent with your hobby.
Do not try something just because of FOMO. It should be something that you are really passionate about. So spend a day contemplating upon the hobby you want to pursue wholeheartedly.
Once you have made up your mind, the next step is to search for online classes as you cannot enroll yourself for offline classes in this current situation. There are plenty of sites offering classes & workshops which you can choose from. The aim is to not only keep you occupied but also help you nurture your passion.
2. Get some fresh air:
The catch here is you can also get some fresh air without going out on the streets.
Studies have proven that sunlight helps us to uplift our mood. So why not spend some time tending to house plants on your balcony or taking a walk on your terrace. This way you will get your daily dose of vitamin D and some fresh air too.
If you're fortunate enough to have a garden, now is the best time to get out there. Whether it's spending some time weeding, buying some new plants, or just sitting outdoors with a refreshing drink and enjoying your outdoor space.
3. Keep your brain active:
It's convenient to spend the entire day enjoying a new TV series or watching a movie, but it's important to keep your brain occupied by other things as well. Some indoor games that you can do apart from binge-watching on Netflix include doing puzzles, colouring or investing your time on activity books, such as word searches and brain teasers. All of these would also be helpful for people who struggle with anxiety as their symptoms tend to increase during loneliness.
Meditation can help if you are experiencing anxiety or are worried that your stress levels can rise after self-isolation, whether this is due to financial distress or not understanding what life will be like after the pandemic. There are some fantastic apps out there, such as Calm, that make the process of meditation interesting and easy. Plus, it just takes a few minutes of involvement per day.
5. Volunteer Online:
Have you always wanted to teach children, but have never thought about it due to your job in the non-academic sector? Do you think that teaching spoken English on the phone is something that you will enjoy? If yes, then sign up to support ConnectFor and its NGO partner, the Kotak Education Foundation, by teaching English on the phone to children and youth from underprivileged families.
Still not convinced? How about doing something for the physical and mental well-being of the society in the aftermath of Covid-19?
Take this chance to craft cards that wish people a fast recovery, and share some words of support and positivity in these tough times. These cards are sent to local hospitals and to the clients of some NGO agencies in the hope of lifting their morale and giving them some joy. Insider.in provides an opportunity for you to do so.
6. Develop a daily workout schedule:
Exercising is a perfect way to improve your mood and get you ready for the day, no matter what your age or weight. After the onset of lockdown,100s of online classes have become available on a variety of platforms, so depending upon your preference you can either enroll for the classes or you can follow some amazing Youtube channels on fitness too. To make it easier, here's our article on 20 workouts you can do at home.
7. Beauty regime:
Self-isolation has stopped many people from visiting salons and accessing their usual beauty services, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a beauty routine anymore. Try a hair mask once a week to treat your natural hair instead of the standard hair spa services you avail. Also, try some different face masks to help clean your skin. So, if you're trying to hydrate your skin or just want to try something new, there's a lot of natural face packs to choose from!
8. Get organised:
Our final tip is one that's on everyone's list of things to do, but quite often easily ignored. The new lockdown scenario provides the ideal chance to clean the house from top to bottom. When was the last time you did a major declutter in your wardrobe?
Cleaning can improve productivity and leave you in a healthier frame of mind. It's a great activity which makes you feel satisfied at the end of the day, and once you start you would not want to stop at just one room!
40+ People On What The Pandemic Has Taught Them4 minute
2020 has been a weird year for all of us. With most of our plans going awry and us being confined to our homes & not having the freedom to socialise, adjusting to the new normal hasn’t been easy. Life hasn’t been as we’ve known it to be. Besides the anxiety of contracting the disease ourselves or the fear of our loved ones falling sick, the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health immensely & in many ways than one. Needless to say, the new decade did start with a bang and how.
But as they say, there are two sides to every coin, it is no different with COVID19 either. While it is easier to focus on everything that’s negative, what’s required of us in times like these is to focus on the good stuff. The things that we can be grateful for, the things that we can learn a thing or two from, the things that we can use to constantly redefine our sense of purpose from. It’s all about striving to find the silver lining in the darkest of clouds. Because you know what, every damn cloud has one.
So, when our team was discussing what we’ve each learnt from the pandemic, we got the idea to reach out to you, our dearest community as well as to our friends and families to ask, ‘what’s the one thing that the pandemic has taught you’.
And we are happy to announce that we got a lot of responses and we were super delighted by all of them. Some were funny, all mostly positive and some were very insightful. Every response that we got was a perfect ‘pick-me-up’, something that uplifted our mood instantly. No kidding.
So, here’s what all you lovely people had to say, and here’s hoping that reading them will make your day as much as they made ours.
1. That I actually kind of like socialising and miss it now. Oh, the irony! - Priya
2. Stop waiting around for the ‘right time’ to pursue your passion. Just go for it - @Lara.Ayurveda
3. We are such a tiny part of the divine plan and that we need the bare minimum to survive and sustain ourselves. - Rhea
4. The pandemic has taught me to prioritise my health more than anything else. I find myself investing way more time exercising and eating right, trying out new home-cooked recipes than I ever have - Anmol
5. One thing I have learned from this pandemic is ‘carpe diem’(Seize the Moment) because you never know what’s coming next. Live every moment of life without worrying about the future - Megha Sah
6. Something can be learned from virtual platforms too - @Rubyadav_
7. Be it anything, we alone are enough, but at some point of time we really need a human friend - @moms_lil_girl
8. Appreciate what you have - Rupali
9. Importance of giving more time to your personal life to grow better as a human - Pallavi Agrawal
10. We can live all by ourselves without going out or eating outside - Saiteja
11. Nothing is Impossible now- Living alone without help, without socializing, doing household work all alone - Moumita Rudra
12. Silence - Geeta Murthy
13. I learnt that it's okay to do this one day at a time. I'm someone who was constantly paranoid about what's gonna happen or if I'm going to be good at what I'm doing. This long trial showed me that it is okay to go slow as long as you are still going… - Gowthami
14. Washing my hands more often. LOL - Naveen
15. Nothing, haha - Rakesh
16. Nothing is forever - Sumit
17. That a small virus (which you cannot even see) can make the world pause. - Rishi
18. To just go with the flow, because life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. - Karuna
19. Everyone has got enough time to be successful in life. It’s just that we don’t utilize it well. - Dilip
20. Patience! Heaps and truckloads of it. - Likita
21. To be more considerate towards your family- Subhabrata
22. Never rely on one income source. At least create 3 income sources for yourself. Save your money for emergencies. Invest your money. - Neelam Gawande
23. I finally learnt how to cook thanks to the pandemic. - Palak
24. Staying at home is a privilege. - Radha
25. Life is short, make it sweet. - Latha
26. Patience - @Aishwarya807
27. Baking - @this_is_matam
28. Self Love - Kavya Guda
29. Life is hard without our house help. It’s funny how we took this privilege for granted earlier. - Preeti
30. Corona doesn’t care if you are rich or poor. Also, learnt that we can survive with lesser things and live a simple life. - Sangeeta
31. Corona taught us what is life - Aleena
32. It has taught me that nothing is permanent. We need to value life, as it is our only greatest wealth. Has taught that everything that we do is for monetary pleasures and when the world takes a hit & is upside down, we get to see how dependent we are on worldly things, things which actually do not matter. - Cherry
33. I am very grateful to COVID… it has taught us life, about ourselves - Sumathi
34. Relax and enjoy the leisure - Pavithra
35. Has made me realise that life is precious, wealth not so much. - Shruthi
36. It has taught me how to make do with available resources - Radhika
37. Take time to slow down. Observe the beauty around you and count your blessings. Not everything is bad in this pandemic -Mahasweta
38. One thing pandemic has taught me is to focus on holistic wellbeing that is nutrition for body, mind & soul instead of focusing on superficial things- Maitreyee
39. It has made me become more present. I’ve learnt to live in the moment and take each day as it comes. - Shilpa
40. The pandemic has taught me to take life slowly. - Richa
41. To enjoy the little things! It’s always and only the little things that matter the most - Varsha
42. It has reminded me of my favourite hobbies and I’ve started pursuing them again. Thanks, COVID19! - Priyanka
Did we miss featuring your thought here? Are you new to our site and would like to tell us what the pandemic has taught you? Do pour your thoughts in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you. :)