Setting An Example

Poorna Kulkarni
Wednesday, 2 October 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

Grooming the innocent
Nadiya Amin Somjee is the founder of Learning is Fun in Koregaon Park that was started in 2007. It is a unique concept of After School Activity Centre for kids between the ages of 3 and 12. The centre focuses on enhancing students’ thinking, creative, analytical and problem-solving skills. 

Elaborating about the same, Somjee says, “Basically I am from Hyderabad. I finished my Hotel Management and got married. Then I came to Pune and got busy with my family. From 1999 to 2007, I gave my time to family. One day, I realised I wasn’t doing much, so I came up with an idea to start something that will allow me to give time to my family as well as keep me occupied in the business. That is when I started an after school activity, which was rare in 2007. This realisation that I wanted to do something wherein my kids also would be involved, made me start this business.”

Under this activity centre, she introduced iMath, a Malaysian franchise that teaches concepts of mathematics. “For 10 years, I was teaching iMath but for last three years, I have appointed teachers and coordinators and I am training them to take it ahead. Apart from this, we teach phonics, elocution, drama, writing, chess and guitar classes under one roof,” says Somjee, who has a Masters degree in Business Management from S P Jain Management Institute. 

Being with children, talking and listening to them, motivates her, she says. “When I sit and listen to their stories, I forget everything as there is no lie or cooked up story. It all comes genuinely from them.”

Speaking about the philosophy she follows, she says, “I love meditating, and doing something for society that will be carried on by others. I also strongly believe in karma — if we do good, it comes back to us.”

Touch of beauty
Dr Shraddha Samant is the owner of Skin Avenues Clinic and Medispa at Kharadi, that started three and a half years back. Speaking about herself, the medical professional says, “I did MBBS and later pursued a diploma in Clinical Cosmetology. So I am mainly an aesthetician dealing with anti-ageing, wrinkles, and we also give laser treatments. Apart from that, I give medi-facials which are meant for rejuvenation, skin tightening and pigmentation.”

When asked what made her choose this particular field, she is quick to say, “I was always interested in grooming and looking good. So after I finished my MBBS, I pursued Cosmetology. Making people look good is something that gives me satisfaction. It gives me immense happiness when I see people being happy with the results after the treatment.”

Samant has been practising cosmetology for 10 years. “I worked with VLCC earlier, then I quit and started on my own. Having my own clinic is good in many ways. I have flexible working hours and so I can also take care of my family and devote time to my profession,” she says.

Sawant considers her father to be the major source of inspiration for her. “My father has always motivated me to take new risks in life. I always look up to him,” says she.

Speaking about the challenges while starting Skin Avenues, she says, “Juggling between the family and clinic was difficult earlier due to long hours. But my husband and my mother-in-law are very cooperative and help in maintaining the balance. They both are the pillars of my strength.”

Fierce and independent 
Farha Anwar is an international beauty queen, celebrity anchor and a model. She holds an MBA degree in Marketing and IT and has decade-long corporate experience. She says that after the birth of her son, she thought of taking a sabbatical for some time. During that time, she thought of doing something different and decided to make a shift to modelling and anchoring. 

Anwar also has beauty pageants to her credit. Says she, “Before leaving the job, I participated in Mrs Pune in February 2016 and won the title of the second runner-up. In June 2016, I won the title of Mrs India. In April 2018, when my son was eight months old, I won the title of Mrs Asia 2018. Further in August 2018, I represented India in Mrs United Nations in Toronto and won the title of first runner-up.

Recalling her journey in modelling she says, “My trainer Anjana Mascarenhas motivated me to start my journey in pageants. I met her during the Mrs Pune pageant which she had organised. She thought I have the intellect and confidence to speak on stage. She truly inspired me to take up international pageants. She is my extended family.” Anwar was a show stopper for various brands like Jaguar, Reliance Trends, Vardhaman Woollens, Kaya Kurtis. 

While talking about her journey in anchoring, she adds, “When I was in college, I used to work as a VJ for a few channels and hosted cookery and music shows on television. I was also doing modelling. When I had some time on hand, I decided to use it in a more useful way. I thought why not try anchoring, which is a flourishing profession. I messaged a couple of event managers and sent them my profile. It worked -- I got a chance to host some good events within a span of six months.”

She has anchored for various brands like Apollo Munich, Vivo mobile phones, Shaadi by Marriott, Junior fashion week, Mrs Continental International pageant and more. 

Her father, Ahtesham Anwar, is her inspiration. “My mother worked as a lecturer while my father was a principal. Since my childhood, my parents made sure I did all extra-curricular activities. So I was into table tennis, badminton and also learning Kathak. My father saw that I was a confident child and was very good on stage. So he developed that and raised me to be independent from an early age.”

Anwar is married to Danish Ahmed of PubLeCity, one of the nightspots in Pune, and supports him in coming up with marketing strategies.

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