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Shital Shuklaa’s journey from being empowered to helping others  

Every thing starts small. So did my journey as a woman entrepreneur and designer. It was a small decision to begin this enterprise, but it changed my life wonderfully in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
My name is Shital Shukla and I was born and bred in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. My father, the Late Nawal Kishore Tripathi was a businessman and my mother, the late Mrs. Daya Tripathi was a homemaker. Their love and support encouraged me to devote myself to my studies and improve my potential as an artist as well, despite the fact that our family survived on limited means. My father cherished hopes that I would grow up to be self reliant and independent, an unconventional dream for one’s daughter in those days. Unfortunately, my father passed away too soon and our family had to work together to keep up his business and make ends meet.

After I had completed my undergraduate degree in Masters of Statistics (Maths) I was married to Mr. Brijesh Shukla. This was because of the traditional expectations society places on girls. The responsibilities and duties of my new household were time consuming and demanding, which left me no time to continue my studies. Moreover, it was prohibited by my in – laws.Still, I attempted to make the best of my circumstances and remained optimistic that one day, I would pursue my dreams.

When my daughters were born, it led to a shift in my life that afforded me a clarity I had never experienced before. For their sakes, and for mine I decided to change my life and begin working. For that however, I would need to become skilled in a particular field. I chose Jewelry designing. For years, I had drawn graceful curves and patterns on the corners of my books, painted birds and deities and made handicrafts. Even my tiny doodling on notebooks had felt strangely fulfilling. I was drawn to the field of design. My husband was supportive of my endeavour and my children were ecstatic to finally see me work towards my dream.

I completed my advanced diploma in Jewelry Design over a 2 year period while balancing housework and raising my daughters. Even though I had to work in secret and lie to my in – laws sometimes, I did not once consider giving up my new found zeal for designing. It was a struggle to be a mother, a wife and a daughter in law all at once while still aspiring to be a skilled designer in the creative field of ornamentation. That did not deter me because I had a new found purpose in my life.

My new passion opened avenues for development and exploration. I established my own firm, participated in government projects, worked with several designers and became an expert in the field of jewelry design and manufacturing. Training others in handicraft manufacturing and organizing workshops for rural artisans ( particularly Zari and Zardozi workshops) were also my occupational skills. Gaining momentum in the field as I gained valuable knowledge and experience, I finally opened my shop in the Rave@Moti mall in Kanpur, to interact with and serve my customers in a more efficient way.

During this period, I was awarded the Woman Achiever’s award by the then Chief Minister of Delhi . I was also the recipient of the State Merit award in 2010 and the State award in 2011 for my work in the field of handicrafts. I was recently awarded the CWE award as a women entrepreneur.

In these last fifteen years, I found my path in pursuing my artistic inclinations and creating something meaningful out of it. Not only did my decision allow me to be creative, imaginative and daring but it also helped me support my family when we faced hard times of financial instability and strife.

With all the obstacles in my path, it was quite a challenge to persevere in my endeavour. The one thing that kept me going – despite the unpredictability of circumstances and the problems that often sprung up, was my determination. For some reason, it didn’t waver. Perhaps, because I had realised the importance of being self reliant, creative, adventurous and most importantly, true to myself. (RIHAN ANSARI 9927141966)

About Rihan Ansari

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