The Road Less Travelled – Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Our lives are determined by the choices we make. For many of us, career choices were influenced by cultural considerations, by value systems infused in our early lives, by our own zones of comfort and by our views (often uninformed or even biased) of future prospects of likely career options.

As women, our career choices are further influenced by our family considerations, prejudices and self-imposed limitations due to societal considerations. Consequently, we often tend to favor safer and more immediately lucrative career options, even at the cost of overlooking our ‘inner callings”, only because those may be lesser-trodden paths.

We tend to overlook the fact that each of us is unique, and it is our responsibility to discover, respect and nurture that uniqueness. We should ideally do so even if it means taking up lesser-practiced professions like studying butterflies, being a fortuneteller or creating sculptures. It is this courage to venture into unchartered territories and taking the ‘Road Less Travelled’ that could lead to a more fulfilling and happier life.

Opening up of opportunities

With the evolution of societies, a wider array of career options are available now than ever before. A heartening reflection of this trend is Ami Shroff, who you will find mixing the most amazing cocktails, with aplomb, at India’s leading nightclubs. Ami had not planned to be a bartender, but chanced upon it and loved it enough to take it up with open arms. After a short stint at Enigma, JW Marriot, where she learnt the nuances of mixing and juggling, she felt it was time to take her rightful place – behind the bar!
Acquiring skills required to gear up for and excel at an ‘off-the-beaten track’ profession is easier today, with a host of schools and colleges offering vocational and career oriented courses, ready and easy access to information available on the Internet. Ami reveals, “There are a lot of ways to learn bartending these days. Short courses are available, that teach you the basics. You can also learn through YouTube videos and read up on the internet about the spirits, recipes, mixology, and ingredients. However, the most intensive and relevant learning happens on the job; where you learn to be hospitable to the client, learn what the client is actually looking for, without being too intrusive, serving them in the most efficient way, quickly but without being hasty.”

Shift in Thinking

The opening up of opportunities and good prospects has also resulted in society accepting these “offbeat” careers more readily. Aditi Mittal is a stand-up comedian who started her career doing short one-two minute acts, learning on the job. In a short time, she has graduated into being one of the most promising performers on the stand-up comedy circuit in India. Aditi hails from a family that loves laughter. She shares, “Every Sunday my family would sit together in the living room for our evening tea, and laugh our guts out at each others’ jokes. This set the base for my career, and when I took this up as my profession, my family was curious about how I would make money from this. They were however extremely supportive. My mom would even drop and pick me up from my shows. Even the audiences have opened up to a woman stand-up comedian. Once an elderly gentlemen met me back stage and asked ‘Beta you are very funny, but does your family know you are doing this?’ However, now the audience is very receptive and just laughs if you give a sincere and honest performance.”

P for Passion

Passion is the key and the strongest ingredient that drives women to take up ‘off-the-beaten track’ careers. Shireen Aida Khan, a DJ, since 2005, belongs to a middle-class Muslim family from Kolkata. She shares her journey, “In college, before I took up DJ’ing, I never imagined I would work in a night club; I do not drink or smoke and still feel I don’t belong to the night club environment. However, what I can’t live without is music, and once I am playing my music, I just forget everything else. I don’t have fancy equipment and only need my headphones to understand the beat of the music, see what is new on the net on my laptop and that is enough to inspire me to create music for others to enjoy and have a good time.”

All these and numerous other untold tales of the undying love of women for what they do has provided them the courage to face all odds and to stand up for themselves. It has helped them make a mark in their respective fields. The spirit of passion and courage exemplifies these women, who have chosen to take the ‘Road Less Travelled’.

Dare to dream and dare to live your dreams

Ami, Aditi and Shireen had a dream as well as the courage, conviction and passion to pursue their dreams. They say a dream job is when you get paid to do what you love doing. A bigger dream is when you do what you love doing – for yourself! A number of WEBO Power members (current and prospective) have shown what it takes to live the dreams they dared to dream!

What’s your dream? Write to us and we would be happy to share your dream(s) with the WEBO Power community so together we may help continue dreaming and living our dreams.

Posted By: Fatema Jaliwala, Team WEBO
Photo Illustration By: Shally Tayal, Team WEBO
Posted On: November 23, 2012

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