Unleashing the Shakti of Light this Diwali

Diwali… Light…

Glittering, glowing, glimmering light…

The light in a woman’s eyes when she’s happy, the light of gold, the light that switches on inside your soul when a child laughs, the light that we all carry within us… That diamond reflecting and refracting rays of brilliance in all directions.

Has your light been shining lately? Is it dancing, proud and strong in the buffeting wind? Or has it dwindled to a flicker, weathered and barraged by the challenges that life unleashed? Has it been extinguished because you haven’t found a way or a reason to coax it back to life?

This Diwali, JobsForHer is asking all career-minded women to find that inside light again by finding a way back to a new career or the one that defined a tremendous part of their lives, if you’re feeling adventurous and bold!

And when we are praying to Goddess Laxmi for wealth and prosperity, pray also as a family for that wealth and prosperity to be equally earned by all the adults in the home — man and woman alike. Because the family that works together stays together.

– Debjani Ghosh [MD — Intel, South Asia], 30 Women in Power

India Inc has been paving the way for us all in recent years, with scores and scores of women pouring out of the woodwork to take their place in the sun — leading national and private banks, commanding the helm of family-owned businesses, helping shine light on women’s issues in the workplace and initiating changes wherever they can. And all these women started with a first step, a small step — stepping outside of the comfort zone that had scaled around them to begin a career somewhere along the first fringes of a company. They identified their inner light and fed it air to breathe and grow, fanning the tiny flame into a roaring fire of courage, strength, and grace.

Most Hindu festivals celebrate womanhood as the source of life, the shakti without which all creation would come to a standstill… For instance, the source of divine knowledge is revered as Goddess Saraswati, the destroyer of evil as Goddess Durga and the giver of prosperity as Goddess Lakshmi… While Navratri celebrates woman as the shakti without which evil cannot be destroyed, Dussehra marks the victory of shakti over evil. And, finally, Diwali celebrates the return of Goddess Sita, the life-sustaining shakti, to Ayodhya with Lord Ram. Divine womanhood’s benign forms — Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Sita — bring with them peace and prosperity.[1]

We could not do this without the support of the men in our families; the men who acknowledge our latent power, that quiet shakti that mobilizes us to take on the tasks and chores essential to looking after our families, setting aside our other needs and desires for a career or ambitions after having worked and then needing to stop for whatever personal reasons. We pray with them this Diwali to continue our concerted, integrated efforts to build wealth and prosperity of mind and body for our families, by contributing together to the home and its needs.

When we asked women on our social media pages what was the one thing their family could do to help them get back to work, they had a variety of requests, which all boiled down to the basic principle of support. “Push me,”said Chandrima. Ashima wanted to live nearer to her workplace. Most of the other women wanted their families to help out with their children, whether on a daily basis or if they got sick. Triveni and Divya both agreed that their families should support and respect their career aspirations, if they chose to have them. Life is about choices and hopefully making the right ones, at every step. Let this Diwali be the one where you make the choice to get back to the career that defined you, before you had to step away from it.

For me, every festival is a reminder to celebrate and have gratitude for the gift of life. Deepawali radiates bliss and is an important time for us women to focus some light on our beings, collect our energy before bouncing back to our various roles in life, where we inspire and support others.

Goddess Lakshmi, the presiding deity of this festival, is confused as the Goddess of wealth. She, in fact, is the Goddess of abundance, beauty, and like most of us women personifies equilibrium, as she stands on a lotus floating on a moody water body.

– Madhu Natraj, Danseuse & Choreographer, Founder — STEM Dance Kampni

We ask for no material gifts this Diwali — only the gift of understanding and supporting our need to return to work; that part of our lives that defines so much of who we are, where we came from, and where we see ourselves going, along with our families, in years to come.

And what we are asking women across Bangalore, Mumbai, and the rest of India to do this Deepawali is to take that first small step — whether it is to look at our portal and browse a few jobs, or to open up your resume and read through it for the first time in what feels like forever, or to reconnect socially with the networks you once had, or to just put yourself out there socially and meet people, or come together for a cause and make new friends along that journey. Find that light, let it glow, let it grow, and let it add to the light of every other woman in our brilliant country so that together we fan out and flourish. Let us be the change we want so badly to be, but weren’t sure how, until this moment.

Ally Matthan, one of the founders of the #100sareepact and the founder of Areev — a brand of naturally derived personal care products, tells us about how something that started out as a simple agreement between two friends (her and Anju Maudgal Kadam) became a worldwide cultural, historical, and magical movement that has changed her entire perspective to life and religion, this Diwali…

The #100sareepact has had a profound impact on my life. It began as simple gesture to wear and share saree stories a 100 times this year, after a telephone conversation with my friend Anju, this year.

For me, it has punctuated the light of friendship and family by creating bonds, revisiting traditions and rituals, learning and sharing knowledge and goodwill, and enjoying and empathizing with the lives of so many saree-pacters, who “jumped right in” across the world.

And it did. But the big lesson for me is that when you are passionate about something — in my case stories, and the people they are associated with — and then you throw in textiles and crafts, it became enjoyable and relaxing after a long day, every day. The trick, I realize, is to find something you love. Or let something you love find you. Then everything manifests.

If you’re looking to start your career, or for new and exciting roles to showcase the skills you’ve gained along your professional and personal journey, you can find them at www.JobsForHer.com. Create your profile, upload your resume and start job-hunting today!

Currently the Content Developer at JobsForHer, Schonali Rebello is a full-time mom to an athletic and bubbly 2-year-old, and has worked in a smorgasbord of jobs — from executive-assistant to a tech-CEO to fundraising for the classical performing arts, from bartending in Toronto to conceptualizing events at a supper-club in Bangalore, from heading communications at a family-owned group of agricultural and real-estate companies to handling Nespresso events with coffee planters in Coorg. After all of this she is finally living her dream as a Creative Writing & Women’s Studies graduate, writing articles, blog-posts and reviews on women’s issues in the Indian workplace.

[1] Diwali: Celebrating the Female Principle — Surendra Pokharna, DNA India, October 25, 2011

Pictures of Ally Matthan and Anju Maudgal Kadam sourced from Kungamam Thozi



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