So, what’s my story? Well, we all have one – looking back at myself – where I started from – the shy plump girl from a small town born into a very protective and traditional environment. With values, protection coupled with strong Dos and Don’ts for a girl, I landed up in Delhi from Lucknow (my school life was restricted to Lucknow). So, I landed up in Delhi to pursue B.A. (Hons.) Economics from Miranda House, University of Delhi – the course and the college everyone dreams of. Well, it was not easy to adapt to the environment where girls were way too smart, independent and of course, “Not Shy”. I learnt my first lesson at Miranda House that there are no dos and don’ts for a girl. It’s the same for men and women – the list depends on the person, not his gender. Miranda House laid the foundation for the woman I am today. Having completed my graduation and post-graduation, I was all set to write the coveted Civil Services. It all seemed so easy but I never knew I was about to enter a zone where you are all by yourself – books and friends being your only best friends. After struggling for a year, surviving through surgery just before my exams, I appeared for the civil services interview but then life had other plans – I finally landed up at the Reserve Bank of India. I still remember the day I was leaving for Mumbai from Delhi– I was in all tears for I always wanted to be a civil servant and then RBI – had no idea where I was going. I completely believed that I was unlucky for having not made it to the coveted civil services. Well, I guess I was wrong – fate had better plans – having completed almost 8 years at RBI, Mumbai, I have not repented even a single day to be associated with the esteemed institution. These eight years have enriched not only my knowledge but also my life experiences. I don’t know that shy conservative girl from Lucknow anymore. Kaushiki from Lucknow would never recognize this new version of Kaushiki. From being a shy, hesitant girl, I have evolved into a bold, confident woman. Contrary to the girl who was always asked to be mum with a set of defined rules and regulations, I would now not give in to any injustice or unfairness.
I am an Economist with the Reserve Bank of India currently serving as the Assistant General Manager. I have worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the past as a volunteer.
Challenges I faced, as a woman, and how did I overcome them. When I am born as a girl child in India, you are told to behave in a certain manner with their list of Dos and Don’ts that are handed over to me since birth, obviously, the list of Don’ts surpasses the Dos. Women are not expected to have their own voice, their opinions, they are wives and mothers but without any voice of their own.
During various phases of my life – be it college or be it in the profession – there were various challenges – a woman and a mother is not expected to do certain things even if they have a career of their own. One has to just believe in oneself and ignore what others say about you. This is what I did. The way others judge me is their problem, not mine. I was in a family way when I was about to get my first promotion. Given the criticality of time, I was back to the office in a very short span of time post my delivery – I travelled to Jaipur with my 40 days old son to present a research paper I had worked on. I joined the office even before my maternity leave ended so as to ensure a place for myself in the promotion list. As expected, peers and relatives had a lot of advice to offer about the Dos and Don’ts that a woman has to follow but then I didn’t pay heed to their talk – consequently just a month after joining the office, I appeared for a scholarship interview at RBI (- the scholarship is given every year by RBI to 7-8 employees to pursue higher studies abroad). So here I am with a scholarship, ready to pursue a PhD in economics abroad with my son who has just completed 18 months. And yes obviously I got my promotion based on my performance at RBI. I am not just a working woman but a mother. It gives me the strength to go on and never deterred me from achieving my goals in life. It is difficult but not impossible to balance profession and motherhood. With a lot of encouragement and help from my parents, I come a long way. I want to be strong support and an example for my son and not someone to give sympathy to. If I can overcome my adversities, am sure he will gain strength from me as well. He should grow up to be a man who respects women and their ambition. The mantra of overcoming the challenges/criticisms that one faces as a woman is to always do what you feel is right for you and not giving in to familial or societal pressures.
Societal pressure on women expecting them to behave in a particular manner tends to make them leave their careers midway. So I say, do what makes you happy because only then you can make people around you happy. Your own identity is as important as your family and kids. Just because you are born as a girl child doesn’t mean you have to suffer every time. The family should be a support system to help you achieve your goals/dreams, not an obstacle.
I don’t have anyone particular person as a role model. I draw inspiration from every single woman who has fought odds to be where she is irrespective of the fact whether she is a housewife or a professional. Any woman who has stood up for herself is a role model/inspiration for me.
What inspires me and gives me immense energy in times of stress,is “Use your pain as fuel and keep going. Great things never came from comfort zones.”