Anita Pandey

A social worker associated with Shimla based NGOs catering to the upliftment of local children from economically deprived backgrounds as well as those with special needs. A former college and senior secondary school lecturer in various colleges and schools of Himachal for over 15 years, she has worked in the capacity of a school counselor for five years. In both my previous and current vocation, I have actively incorporated my love for the arts and crafts to make learning an enjoyable and enthusiastic affair.

How do you define yourself? I think, I would best define myself as a perpetual beginner and learner, since life continuously offers new things to grasp, understand and utilize in personal and social spheres.

Have you discovered yourself? Yes, I have discovered myself through my day-to-day engagements with all kinds of activities and areas of interests. But, discovery is always a process, so there can be no end point to it.

How do you balance work and life? Well, work is my way of life, with music, craft, art, painting, writing, reading and photographing all contributing towards a betterment of my work. But in particular, I think balance automatically sets in when you are able to prioritize one task over the other depending on the context. So learning to prioritize helps you maintain a wonderful rhythm in both personal and public realms.

A dare quotient: I would dare people to do the work that they are expected to do. I think it is a shame that many people simply refuse to work even after having landed in jobs of their dreams. One should speak up against this wastage of work ethic.

Life lessons learnt: That everything changes, that impermanence is the basis of existence. Also, the changes that you wish or expect do take place, but they will take their own time and course. You can and should influence that course by shaping it in various ways, but the course will still take its own time. For a person like me, who has generally lacked patience, learning this aspect of slowness and change has been a humbling experience.

Your driving force: My family, which includes my husband and sons.

Success/ failure (what it means to you?): Well, success lies in the process of doing something well. Yes, it also lies in winning, but you cannot win all the time. And not winning is not failing. You either win or you learn. Failure ka to sawaal hi nahi utthta.

Three things no one knows about me: The first will be that I am a very emotional person. As for the other two, I won’t divulge, else they can’t remain unknown ;).

My most over-used term: Since I try to find happiness in every situation, ‘Happiness is…’ is my most over-used term.

New things I learnt from my kids: Many! From technology (computer and phone details for instance) to different kinds of books and ideas… .

I love to watch: The glorious Shimla sunsets, with endlessly fascinating cloud formations that dazzle you every day with their vivid colours and patterns. And the flock of birds flying against them

Most recent book I finished reading: Fawzia Koofi’s tremendously inspiring The Favoured Daughter: One Woman’s Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future. I would strongly recommend it to one and all!

My first thought in the morning: What new thing am I going to do/ learn today?

Fictional place I would love to be in: Well, living in Shimla and Himachal is nothing short of the beauty and wonder of a fictional place. I wouldn’t be in any other fictional place than our real, mountainous dwelling!

Message to peers and my readers: Share, share and share please! Knowledge, fun, life, wisdom, talents, time… everything thrives and nourishes only when you share it with one and all. There is no substitute to the joy of sharing and making a difference through that.

Feminism to you is: Compassion. In a recent event organized at the Gaiety Theatre, Shimla, I was utterly delighted and moved to hear a male participant also emphasizing the same quality while talking about the basis for gender equality. It goes without saying that women will always be one notch different than men simply because they have the gift to birth life. But with that gift, as with any other, comes responsibility. And responsibilities must be shared equally, not with grudges or acrimony, but with compassion and commitment.

Women empowerment to you means: That a woman can make her choices as well as make her voice heard. Change is bound to follow!

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