Please Introduce yourself for us Sharanya
‘Who am I’? is the only pertinent question that I have been trying to probe these days! Corporeally, I am a freelance writer, a news correspondent with British South Indians (an online media for South Indians in the UK), an RJ in an Irish based Tamil online Radio-‘Valaiyosai’, a Reiki master, a traditions & culture enthusiast, a decent cook and a bathroom singer. Also, I am profoundly inclined to arts and crafts- right from painting on pebble stones to glass windows, and to stain glass painting & creating eclectic artifacts from time to time.
Needless to say, I am a full-time Domestic engineer: I have two young associates reporting to me. One is in the learning curve and the other one is a complete novice. Often, there is a rift between the two associates and invariably the challenges get escalated to me. My chief job lies in striking a balance between the two associates…. In simple words, I am a HOME MAKER & a diligent MOM!
I worked for a company called CMS while I was doing my MBA in distance education with Symbiosis, Pune. Later, I was employed with Citibank (Citiphones UK operations) while I was in Chennai. It was through Citibank, that few hand-picked employees were sent to Spain (as a part of migration process). That was my first trip outside India and that remains special to me even today! I worked as a ‘specialist’, handling Funds Transfers for UK based clients. In 2005, my parents too decided to incarnate as specialists and thereby transferred me to my husband’s place!
About the ubiquitous career break
Instead of coining it as a break, I would rather term it as ‘shifting of priorities’. At one point of time, especially when we become Carriers (carrying our babies), our Career becomes a barrier and vice-versa. Based on our economic background, ambitions and commitments, we take a call, prioritizing one over the other. It’s important to be pragmatic and embrace/ accept your decision. Owing to my family situation (my Mother-in-law was fighting Cancer), I quit my job and started administrating the family. It was essential for me to be practical- there was no room to feel embarrassed in being a home maker, and I accepted the situation with all grace. In fact, I am proud that I am available for my kids, anytime when they need me. The time a home maker spends for her family can never be quantified with money! My children are priceless and I am glad that I can afford the priceless time I spend with them!
How you charted your own career after kids
I have always had a penchant for creativity and working with kids. I completed a Teacher’s training course whilst I was in Bengaluru. This opened up my horizons of thinking and helped me handling kids in a positive yet fun-loving way. We then moved to London and I volunteered with ‘Bal Vihar’(a spiritual/cultural based class for children held by Chinmaya Mission, UK) and helped children in imbibing our culture through various activities, dramas, recital of slokas , songs, puppet shows etc. It was a protocol for me to pen a few words about their monthly musical event…I contributed these articles creatively combined with wit, pun and philosophy.
These writings in turn helped me getting associated with British South Indians (an online media portal for South Indians in the UK). I feel blessed to have met celebrities like Kamal Haasan, Illayaraja, Shahrukh khan, Dr.Kadri Gopalnath etc. Gradually from being a news correspondent, I started conducting interviews with celebrities, under the banner- Degree Kaapi, covering interviews with Crazy Mohan, Musician Kuldeep M Pai, stand-up comedians Karthik Kumar, Praveen, Alex, singer Devan, ‘Veena’ Sreevani to name a few. My husband cheekily remarks about my ability to speak continuously even when there is no response from the listener. Surprisingly, his prophecy came true and I am currently an RJ, hosting a program called ‘Jillunu Jigardhanda’ in an Irish based Tamil web Radio- ‘Valaiyosai’. One of my greatest experiences was contributing to the ‘intelligibility of mixing’ for the Tamil Version of Warner Brothers’ movie- Batman Vs Spiderman, the Dawn of Justice.
In my free time, I indulge in learning and creating new artifacts and paintings.
How do you get the energy to push so much enthusiasm into the work that you are doing?
Positivity is the key! I try to remain positive, even when there is a Tsunami of troubles enveloping our lives. I derive all my enthusiasm by participating in everything that comes my way. It had given me the maturity to admire and appreciate my competitor’s work with no jealousy and prejudice. I have penned few humorous scripts for stage dramas. I have always participated in all the events and competitions, right from childhood.
I have lost many and won a few (4 TV sets, a stereo system, 10gms gold, a fully paid trip with family to the backwaters of Alleppey, coverage of our story in red tea label tetra tea pack, to name some of them). But the learning process has been extra-ordinary. Fortunately, I have been blessed with wit, sense of humor and creativity. I hate to do monotonous jobs. I love to sprinkle creativity in everything I do: be it preparing Idli at home or writing about Italy in the press or talking about ‘Bruce Lee’ in radio. I love our culture and tradition …I try my earnest to nurture our rich heritage and ensure that it passed on to our next generation.I celebrate all the festivals with a lot of enthusiasm and creativity, though I live in an alien land, far away from Mother India.
What are the career options for Indian women living abroad on account of spouse’s job
Basically, this depends on the immigration rules and norms imposed by the country you are residing. If you are not permitted to work on your spouse’s visa, then, online Carnatic vocal classes via Skype, Jewellery /ethnic wear business, teaching our Mother tongue or Hindi, Music and dance lessons, especially Bharatanatyam and Bollywood dancing is a viable option for woman-folk. Foreigners go gaga over Indian food and always crave to eat our delicacies. Catering business has gained momentum as its made life easy for working women. If you have a hobby which you can do passionately and innovatively, then you have loads of avenues to convert them into your profession in a foreign land.
On the other hand, if you have the permission to work on a dependent visa, then, it’s essential to get yourself registered with the local Jobcentre first. Apply for as many roles and keep attending interviews. Procuring a job in a foreign land might not be as easy as pie. But if you have the confidence, potential, and enthusiasm, you will never get disappointed.
What is your advice for SWEP women
Women have a lot of potentials and are indubitably braver than men. At the same time, they are quite emotional and sensitive too. It is necessary to strike a balance between both ends. Please don’t lose hope or consider yourselves useless if you are no able to support your family monetarily. There are few things in this world which money cannot buy. Just be patient and never ever stop learning! And most importantly, Do what you love and love what you do!