Scaling new heights

Poorna Kulkarni
Friday, 13 September 2019

As a part of the weekly column, we speak to women of varied professional backgrounds who are members of Sakal Times Platinum Women’s Club

Flying into new territories 

Captain Chahat Dalal studied Aviation from Dean International Flight School in Miami, USA, where she completed her commercial pilot degree. Simultaneously, she also pursued a degree in Music through long distance. 

After she returned to India, she was giving conversion exams to get into the Aviation industry which gave her a lot of free time. It was during this period that she stumbled into the world of beauty pageants, and went on to win many of them. 

This multifaceted personality, who is a proud owner of Dazzle Dust, says, “My journey in modelling is going pretty well but modelling has a small shelf life, so I decided to go a step further with all the contacts I made in the industry. I came up with my own company called Dazzle Dust in April 2018. We are a one-stop destination in fashion and glamour. We are into directing and curating fashion events, runway choreography, photoshoots for brands and portfolios and also into artist management.”

Her company is also a grooming academy where they conduct modelling workshops. “Grooming resonates with bridal grooming and market for it is growing, so we help brides to pick their trousseau as well,” Dalal says.

It’s a little unusual for someone with a degree in Aviation to choose fashion. Dalal explains, “I have loved doing different things simultaneously. Currently, I am venturing into writing travel articles for a magazine. I believe life is supposed to be interesting and I never say no to any opportunity that comes my way. I have realised that I am good at it. I am not putting a full stop to flying, I am simply adding different feathers to my cap.” 

As for her philosophy in life, she says, “I believe inspiration comes through inner peace, every situation in our life comes with a reason and a season. The idea of ups and downs keeps me motivated.”

Moving ahead is the mantra 
Smita Lahoti, a Chartered Accountant by profession, defines herself as a go getter and takes much pride in her academic record. She is one among the four partners at Muttha and Lahoti, located at Deccan Gymkhana. 

Speaking about her journey, she says, “I come from a business background. My father always wanted me to do Chartered Accountancy. Since childhood, I was always focused on studies and I worked my way to this. I was a topper of Pune University in my final year of BCom. In one of the intermediate exams of CA, I achieved the 29th position all over India. I completed my CA in 1999 on merit and cleared all the exams in the first attempt. Since then, I have been practising. I have an experience of 20 years now and I get immense joy in putting the knowledge I got into practice. At Muttha and Lahoti Chartered Accountants, we cater to all financial advisory services like Income Tax, Sales tax, investments, loans and many to name. We have a team of about 35 professionals serving more than 100 clients.” 

She says that her husband motivates her a lot and considers him as her honest critic. “My achievement as a 29th rank holder pan India, helps me to stay focussed and motivates me to achieve my next goals with energy,” says Lahoti, who believes in keeping her personal and professional life separate as that helps her in balancing things out.  

She’s unstoppable 
Manjiri Jamkhindikar is a communication skills, grooming and etiquette trainer along with being a style coach and pageant mentor. A proud owner of Antaraa atelier de styling and life skills, Jamkhindikar, says, “I pick up languages very fast and have been teaching since I was 16. English was very popular back then, so I started giving tuitions in English and French. I worked at various institutes where Spoken English was taught. Then I ended up teaching at Symbiosis institute. Later, I transitioned to a communication skills teacher, then to body language — styling, grooming and etiquette. My breakthrough came after I shifted to Singapore in 2015, where I did Cambridge University’s Teacher Training for Languages and Style Coaching Diploma from the London School of Style Coaching. 

After I came back to India, I set up my own brand, Antaraa - atelier de styling in 2017 and it gained momentum in 2018. Under this brand, we teach style coaching, life skills and academics.” The purpose behind starting Antaraa, says she, was to reboot confidence in women with styling and life skills. “I firmly believe that styling isn’t about clothing but it’s an inner work,” she adds.

The life skills blogger, who considers her mother to be her source of strength, also adds that within the span of one year, she has received an amazing response. “As women we give everything to every relationship in our lives, but at the end of the day, I have to be ME. I strongly believe in the fact of creating an identity for self,” observes Jamkhindikar who has worked as a trainer for titles like Mrs India Empress of the Nation, La Femme Worldwide, Pune Style Icon, Glamorous Queen of Maharashtra and Maharashtra Fashion Fiesta.

She has also won awards like MePadvidhar Puraskar for her contribution in the education field this September along with Rotary’s vocational excellence award.

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