Shhilpa Mehta, upcoming Haut Monde Mrs India 2019 Worldwide pageant in Greece. In an interview with YoursNews, She shared her success story.
I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a mother. But those are not my identities. They are the several roles I, as all the other women I know, play in their lives. Who, you ask, am I then? I’m a woman. And the only thing different between me and my mother when she was young or my grandmother at my age, is that I can proudly tell the world my story. I don’t hide behind opinions, society or its old age mandated norms. I choose not to follow them and I choose not to allow them to dictate how I live my life.
I am a single parent of 2 young children fulfilling the responsibility of a mother and a father. As a woman I am sometimes torn between giving my sons the time and attention that only a mother can provide and giving them all the worldly needs they should rightfully have that only a father can give while standing up to the society and its man-made norms. As Kasturi Deo says “ it is a difficult time to be a single mother in India because acceptance is still in question here and people are eager to form opinions rather than provide support”. Families, friends, in laws and acquaintances turn their backs on you like the plague. Either the woman is judged for having shortcomings or discarded for being damaged goods without the empathy that every human being rightfully deserve.
I neither choose to fight this society nor waste my energy on trying to change it. Instead I choose to teach my children by example, that each of us, individually, are the masters of our destiny. No one is dependent on anyone else to fulfil their dreams. We are the writers, executors and ultimately the actors in our own life’s drama. I don’t stand here today to ask for pity. Neither do I wish to talk about my past or my horrifying experiences as a married woman. I stand here today only to show my sons the grit their mother is made of and to teach them by example that a stone becomes a diamond only under fire and pressure.
Haut Monde Mrs. India worldwide 2019 has given me a platform to showcase to my children, my family, my friends and maybe some of the people I have left behind who truly do not understand know the value of a woman, that If given the opportunity, I can soar heights that are uncomparable to any. It has given me the wings I need to touch the sky while firmly planting my feet to the ground beneath me. It has taught me humility, pride, strength, confidence and grace. That is truly the mark of a woman. That is truly who I am.
How is Mrs. India’s Journey changing your life and what has it taught you?
Amidst all our responsibilities and expectations that people, society, we place on ourselves, we, the modern Indian women, lose our identity. We place our dreams and desires on a self-driving mode to be tackled later. That later never comes because life, as we all know it, presents us with one challenge after another. Mrs. India has taught me to seize the moment and to live in the present. There is no past, so why stay bitter and wallow in our sorrows and the unfairness of life. There is no future because life constantly throws curveballs at us. The only time is the present.
Human beings are designed to look at only those who seemingly are better than us while ignoring that which we chose not to acknowledge. Mrs. India journey has bought me face to face with thousands other women from different walks of life who have come here with their personal stories, their struggles, their accomplishments and even their failures. In front of their struggles, mine seems miniscule. This journey teaches me empathy and to never be blinded by glitter. Foremost it teaches me to be thankful daily for the blessings I have received. Oprah Winfrey once said “what you focus on expands, and when you only focus on the good in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities and relationships flourish when one learns to be grateful, no matter what.” I am learning to be thankful for this opportunity as well as the beautiful life I have been given.
Finally, the most important lesson I have learnt is to focus on myself as I do on others I have in my life. As I see my mother, my aunts and all the fabulous women in my life who are the epitome of selfless love with an exceptional gift of sacrifice for their family, I sometimes question this stance. How can we take care of everyone else if we first, do not learn to take care of ourselves? Should we not focus on our mental and physical wellbeing so we are strong enough to focus on our family’s? Does that make us selfish? I want to be an emotionally and physically strong, self-reliant woman who does not need the patronage of a man or the society. Mrs. India is such a platform that is giving me an opportunity to focus on myself. It is not only a competition on physical beauty but also of mental health, emotional well roundedness and inner peace. It is about re-inventing the wheel and making the anchor of the family, the woman, now the pillar of the family as well. As I wish each of my fellow contestants all the best, I know that no matter what the outcome, each of us will come out a winner in life. Because some competitions are not only about winning but more about the journey to the finish line.
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