Published: 06th March 2021
Women's Day: How this 39-year-old mother of two juggled work and academics to fulfil her dreams
We spoke to Namrata Sadhvani who restarted her higher studies after getting married due to societal pressure
Like numerous women in our country, Namrata Sadhvani succumbed to the societal and familial pressure of marriage before continuing her higher studies. She was married into a joint family where everyone else was more qualified than her. She had somehow made her peace with it until her husband, brother-in-law and other family members actually encouraged her to get back to education. "They all helped me choose suitable courses, helped me look for universities. I had a Bachelor's in Architecture from Hyderabad already and I was looking for a Master's degree. I would say I was quite lucky that my husband and his family encouraged me to study further before we thought of children," says Namrata. Indeed, not all women receive such support in our country. At 39, Namrata is now an award-winning blogger, social media influencer, editor, workshop facilitator, architect and educationist based in Hyderabad. She is also a mother to twin eight-year-old boys and likes to call herself not the Jack but the Jill of all trades!
After completing her Bachelor's, Namrata went back to Dubai where she was born and brought up. "I wanted to spend time with my parents before I eventually succumbed to the societal and familial pressure of marriage, hence I took a break. I got married in 2008 and moved to Hyderabad. At that time, I was also working at Sri Venkateshwara College of Architecture, Madhapur, Hyderabad as an Assistant Professor of Architecture. Then I started a new, part-time course for M Arch, meant for working professionals like me, to make it easier for us to get our Master's. I applied for it, gave the entrance exam and then qualified for the course and that was it," Namrata recalls. There was no looking back after that.
However, her journey was not a bed of roses. "The challenges faced were physical as well as mental and emotional. I used to work full-time as a lecturer, so by day I was a teacher and by evening I was a student. That meant I was out of my house the entire week from 8:30 am – 9:00 pm and that was physically very demanding. Besides that, I had to make time to study, do assignments, group projects, etc, and through it all, I was also trying to maintain some semblance of family life. My family supported me through and through and made it as easy as possible for me. Mental challenges were also an inherent part of the process as you try to balance it all and taking breaks is not an option once you get into studying. Exams became a whole new ball game! Dealing with work deadlines as well as study deadlines was definitely challenging. And emotionally, you are wallowing in the guilt of not giving enough time to family or to work or to studies and getting pulled in all directions," shares Namrata.
Namrata believes that education never goes to waste. "It's not just the academics that you study, it's the whole life experience that teaches you so much. In the course I did, everyone was a working professional, juggling multiple commitments at home and at work. It was not a typical class, I had classmates from age 23-65 years. It taught me that where there is a will, there is a way. It taught me about time management, scheduling, working as a team and yes, resilience as well. Even though I may not be actively using my degree now or going great things in the field of architecture, the course and the whole process has taught me so much more. I also believe that I was meant to study, to make those connections, to learn, to adapt. I wouldn't have gained the wealth of knowledge I did, which helped me deal with my life's issues," adds the 39-year-old.
Currently, Namrata works as the Hyderabad editor (English) for Momspresso (www.momspresso.com) - India's largest parenting platform. She is also a volunteer at Sayfty (www.sayfty.com) - a women's rights organisation for whom she conducts safe and unsafe touch workshops for kids ages 3-12 years and handles a part of their social media. She worked as a freelance architect and as an architecture teacher before she had children. The sabbatical from work led to a rediscovery of her love for writing, and she started her writing career with content-writing jobs. Namrata started her journey as a blogger at Momspresso way back in 2014 and is now one of their core editors. "I decided to bring to light the reality of motherhood through my blogs, my writing - to reassure every mother out there that it's ok to feel this way. It was a cathartic process for me to put my feelings into words, and for others who read my blogs, it was an acknowledgement that they were not alone in their journey," Namrata says about the blogs she writes.
Namrata has around 27,000 followers on Instagram. She has been awarded 'Best Mom Blogger - TAA Awards 2019' and 'Star Parenting Influencer of the Year - DIA Stallion Awards 2020'.
Time management is key, says Namrata, to achieve what you wish to in life. "I take help whenever I need it, in whatever form I need. Too often women feel weighed down by the 'superwoman' syndrome in which they are expected to do it all by themselves without complaining at all. This is very detrimental to our mental, physical and emotional health. It's okay to ask for help and okay to accept it in whichever form you get it and be gracious about it. That's my mantra and it has helped me fulfil my goals," concludes Namrata