Power, perseverance and positivity — women reflect all that, and much more! Breaking all the barriers of the society, women are coming out of their closets and inspiring the tribe to follow in their footsteps or pave their own path of freedom. Pulling out all the stops, Shift Series set out to elaborate on the theme of ‘Closeted Conversations’ and discuss ‘Women of Substance’ as a broad segment.
Speaking on different aspects of empowerment and equality, women changemakers such as Pooja Bhatt, Sarwar Khan, Namrata Joshipura, Shreiyah Sabharwal, Prakashini Tomar (Revolver Dadi), Sundeep Rao, Kavita Arora, Sonali Rastogi, Nithya Shanti, Ashwini Bhadur, Shalini Kochher, Ani Choying Drolma and Sonal Munjal took to the stage to share their experiences at The Q’la nestled near Qutub Minar on March 23 in the capital.
Actor-filmmaker-producer Pooja Bhatt, who made her debut with ‘Daddy’ spoke about how she quit drinking and is now high on her 90 days of sobreity. In the session Unplugged On Life And Living, she said, “It was Christmas when I finally decide to pull the plug. I sat with my four cats, put my phone on the silent mode, made myself dinner, toasted myself with a glass of water and went to bed.”
Fashion designer Namrata Joshipura, model-actor Shreiyah Sabharwal and the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Nonita Kalra spoke about why beauty is not the only criteria to define women during the session Up Close And Personal: Beauty Redefined. “Beauty is being strong, fit and comfortable. I don’t go with the standard definition of beauty, and as long as you are not defined by someone else’s sense of beauty, it’s the right way to go about it,” Joshipura told indianexpress.com after the session.
Leaving the hall echoing with a thunder of claps, Revolver Dadi recounted her story in the session Breaking Stereotypes, and divulged how she went against all odds and attained her dream of becoming the oldest woman sharpshooter in the world. Since 2002, Prakashi Tomar competed in and won 25 national championships throughout India. She won a gold medal at the Veteran Shooting Championship conducted in Chennai. Her success has encouraged the local people to take up shooting as a useful sporting profession. Clad in her conventional village attire, with a sari covering her head that she tucks in if the wind disrupts it, she attends the club once a week for shooting practice and otherwise devotes her time to do household chores.
Sonali Rastogi, cancer survivor and architect narrated her emotional journey of the fight with the deadly disease in the session A Life By Design. To her, design is a result of different stimuli, ranging from climatic conditions, urban fabric, local traditions, and human activity. Rastogi has been a part of various academic and design juries including The New York Design Summit (2014), The GRIHA Conference (2014) and India Design ID 2013 Symposium.
Author Sandip Roy, who has written the book ‘Don’t Let Him Know’ spoke in the session Secrets, Secrets, Secrets…Doesn’t Everyone Have One?, Sundeep Rao, a visually challenged comedian entertained the audience with his unique style of dry humour in the session Saying What No One Dares To Say.
Counselor Kavita Arora raised awareness about the hidden problems of the young in India today in the session Stress & Survival, and Nithya Shanti, a happiness coach delighted viewers with his joyful stories and teachings in the session Spirituality: The Coping Mechanism.
Through their crisp 15-20 minute segment, the speakers inspired the audience and helped them explore their identity and change mindsets in the rapidly evolving society. With an aim to “give voice to some of these issues”, the team of Shift Series organised the conference and said in a statement: “The pressure to fit into the social mould and to keep their public face intact makes people stifle their thoughts and the situations that they are dealing with, often alone. The force behind Shift Series through the conversations with the larger network saw a need to address issues that people feel hesitant to talk about lest they be judged.“