Celebrating Womanhood this International Women’s Day 2020

Sunday, 8th March, marks International Women’s Day 2020. Women are the foundation stones of a progressive society; the ones who mobilize generations and spread joy wherever they go. To celebrate womanhood this Women’s Day, we invited women employees of IndiaMART to share their unique stories and inspire others to make breakthroughs and emerge glorious in the endeavors they are chasing, or challenges they are facing.

The sky is not the limit

Hailing from the Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh, young Tulika Prakash was a flower that discovered its essence when she decided to clear UPTU back in 2011. She prepared for the entrance exam and accomplished her goal by securing admission in IIMT, Greater Noida. Getting admission on her own was life-changing as no-one in her family could imagine an average performer – Tulika would crack UPTU. Her father had even made arrangements for a donation as Tulika had got a compartment in Class12th, however, to everyone’s surprise, she not only cracked UPTU but also made it to one of the best engineering institutes in the state.

As a child, Tulika was enrolled in multiple extra-curricular classes post-school hours. She shares, “everyone has some or the other aspirations tries to reach it, but I was quite different as my aspirations were never fixed; be it becoming a great painter, a loving teacher, dancer, badminton player, or an engineer. What I did was not only following a single dream but following each and every dream with a focused mind. It was hard to reach the gates of the district competition when I met with an accident just to prove myself best in painting.”

Upon moving to IIMT, Greater Noida, Tulika was enthralled with her new-found family of fellow students and professors who motivated her to believe in herself and etch her presence. The first semester brought her an award in technical writing, proving to be the first of many wins in debates, drawing competitions, presentations, and other contests in the coming semesters.  With late-night studies and consistent efforts, she emerged as a college topper.

The fourth year was special as Tulika reserved her berth in three companies during the placement drive. Keen upon joining one of the firms, a 9 am to 6 pm work schedule looked too mundane to contain her aspirations. She left the job, and with the help of her professor Mr. Nikhil Kumar Gupta, Tulika made up her mind to appear for UPSC Civil Services exams. In the first attempt, Tulika could clear the Prelims only, however, with perseverance, she cleared Prelims as well as Mains in her second attempt.

Coping with depression

As is with life, it gives you a high and makes you feel invincible, but in the next moment, it makes you realize that nothing is in our hands. Tulika could not clear UPSC Interview, and it impacted her mental health to the extent that emotions could flare anytime, anywhere; and she would cry for no reason. Her younger brother came to her rescue and understood the feelings that had bottled up all this while. Tulika recalls that he would give her a champi (massage), and even though he is younger to her, he filled the place of her mother, while she was staying miles away from her family. He convinced Tulika to take clinical help to treat her depression. However, things went from bad to worse when a psychologist prescribed hard psychiatric medications, that impacted Tulika’s overall health.

A silver lining in the cloud

A change of doctor proved to be a ray of hope, and Tulika’s condition took a turn for the better. Tulika shares that she realized the power of silence and calm during her emotional turmoil.

Meanwhile, she joined IndiaMART and interacting with her colleagues only enhanced her emotional equilibrium. Eight months down the line, she has regained her confidence, and no one can imagine the struggle she’s had in the past few years.

I achieved one of the highest tags in the Indian society by qualifying UPSC civil services mains but went down with depression after I couldn’t clear the interview. Still, life goes on, so why not be happy and joyful. After a long journey of one year, I’m back with a smile and laughter focusing on more and more targets,” says Tulika.

A charming millennial, brimming with energy, and high dreams are what defines Tulika, and this women’s day it is time to applaud her resilience to push herself out of depression, besides her courage to share her story with others to let them know they are not alone in their struggles, and ups and downs are part of a good life!

The journey from merit to marriage

Our other muse for the day is Tulika Kumar, an HR professional from New Delhi, India. An alumnus of the prestigious Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, Tulika earned her MBA from Delhi School of Economics. She was absorbed by the company where she did her internship and served there for three and a half years before getting married and relocating the United States.

Making choices

Fast forward, the next fourteen years were spent raising two beautiful daughters – Priya and Pragya, and supporting her husband to realize the American dream. The family decided to move back to their Indian roots in 2018, and Tulika found the timing right for her second innings in the corporate world. Planning ahead, she enrolled herself in a few online courses to learn people analytics, besides brushing up her MS Excel and HR skills.

In June 2019, Tulika moved back to India, and her job hunt brought her to IndiaMART. Tulika shares that while walking inside the office on her first day, in this so-called comeback, it made her more anxious than when she joined her first office eighteen years back. But she had the resolve not to let anything hamper her zeal to work again.

After having done my MBA from a reputed institute and a very fulfilling career for 3.5 years, I got married and relocated to the USA. There my career took a back seat first because I didn’t have work authorization and then to care for my young family. Time flew…. I kept myself abreast with the latest in the field of HR. I had been out of the workforce for more than 14 years! Though I was and am thankful for the time I was able to devote to my home and kids, I also wanted to go back to my career,” shares Tulika.

Thousands of women quit work after getting married to prioritize family over their careers. However, Tulika Kumar is an illustration of a woman who knows that she wants all but maybe not at the same time. Today, she is happy that she decided to take a break from work and focus on her family. She’s equally elated with the fact that she did not lose herself and left no stone unturned to stay relevant and professionally well-versed with the progress the HR field witnessed in close to a decade and a half.

The decision should be yours 

Tulika Kumar advises fellow women to follow their hearts when presented with life choices. Whether to work or not, should be entirely a woman’s decision. She also suggests women stay in touch with their line of work, and never give up on their passion.

Hope the different dimensions of life presented through the kaleidoscope of life events shared by Tulika Prakash and Tulika Kumar reflect upon our readers and inspire them that nothing can limit a woman’s aspirations!

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