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Courage, Designing & Life in between

A lady in her mid thirties elegantly dressed and taking charge of four Euro kids preschools and three IEC fashion and art institutions; and as you dig deeper into her personality, she will surprise you with her endeavors in life.

Shades of blue, on the carpets, the curtains and on the wall… It is the first time I am opening my shoes outside while entering the office of a principal. Inside, it feels comfortable enough to make you want to sit in the sofa with a book and leave the world behind, but the newspapers, the trophies and the office desk brings out a formal essence at the same time. She is talking over the phone and signaling me to sit down, while she smiles at me.
“It wasn’t planned”, she said. “I just happened to take the course by chance”. Little did she know that she was going to embark upon a whole new journey of her life. She went to Delhi to study Computer science initially. But the atrocious heat, made it unbearable for her and her friends to just hang around. So they decided to join another course just to stay in an AC room and pass their time. It just happened that the course they were taking was fashion designing.

“I knew it in the back of my mind that I wanted to open a design school. I saw that IEC was doing really well in Delhi. The market in India was good, and Nepal was developing. So, I thought, this idea could go a long way. It wasn’t a meticulously thought out decision because at the age of 21, it wasn’t possible for me.”

So, she decided to visit Delhi to get the IEC franchise. What surprises me is that she took this decision when she was 21. Maybe that’s what makes winners different- the courage to follow their dreams against all odds. For a young woman to start a college at that age, to introduce a course like designing to a completely new market of Nepal was definitely a bold move. Our society was really conservative then, but there she was, starting her own institution with full support from her family.

The biggest challenge was to convince people who raised their eyebrows at her capability. She was handling her bank job as well as opening the college during the initial days. She looked for loans during her lunchtime, and she went to IEC during her free time. When she approached the banks for loans, people weren’t really enthusiastic about believing that a young lady like her could make it big.

“Sitting in one chair and reconciling all day, wasn’t just my cup of tea”, she says. Her father pushed her to take the leap. This is when she left her bank job and started off a fashion and interior designing school.

Introducing a new career prospect in Nepal was challenging. People weren’t aware or comfortable with fashion designing and interior designing as a career. They were just opening up to the idea of designing at that time.

But she did manage it and established the institution. She started with 35 students in the first batch of what has now grown up to become the No 1 Interior and Fashion designing college in Nepal. Through IEC design school, she gave the Nepalese youth, a vibrant and intriguing profession to look forward to.

“I tell my designers what my father told me. You have to like what you do. What you need is the passion within you; just coming to college for a degree won’t help you succeed. Designing is a time demanding course. So, if you want to do well, you have to make a permanent commitment.”

What keeps her going is her passion, her persistence towards her work. She feels the need to excel in everything she steps her foot into. “It’s a bad habit”, she says. When she speaks of what she does all day, she doesn’t sound a bit unsatisfied or frustrated. She is a mother, wife, principal, advisor, a persistent learner, and now aiming for a PHD degree. Talk about hands being full! It is intriguing how she can be so energetic and engaged day after day. “I enjoy my work. Sometimes I go to either of my schools and take a class with the kids. At IEC, I talk about being career oriented and focused. At Euro kids, I just dance, sing and play with the kids. “Little things like these give me joy”, she shares.

Despite all this, she finds the time to read. A voracious reader, she admits she cannot sleep without reading no matter how late it is at night. She knows her students by name, gives them individual attention with what they need: motivation, advice or ‘jhaad’ (as she calls it). She is a caregiver. “I love being a part of children’s lives, whether at IEC or at Euro kids” she shares. And she tells me that she is not that much into feminine activities. But I say it is not true. She is both a perfect woman and a perfect manager. She is ‘the woman’!

She listened to her heart, but that doesn’t mean life was a smooth sail for her. Handling financial challenges, time crisis, convincing people and leading a college isn’t child’s play. But, she dealt the hurdles with dignity. The destination may be a piece of cake, but it’s the journey that is worthwhile. After all, if she had stayed at the bank, her life would have been normal and dull. She wouldn’t have been where she is today. Simple moments just pass by. It is the calamities in her life and her courage that make an interesting story.