It’s only the beginning of winter with temperatures in the single digits and thin layers of ice on wind shields. The days are shorter with evenings creeping up on us sooner than we like.
Celebrating Lives, Celebrating Women
It’s only the beginning of winter with temperatures in the single digits and thin layers of ice on wind shields. The days are shorter with evenings creeping up on us sooner than we like.
This morning I was forwarded this inspiring video of Major Ritu Pant – Serving Indian Army Officer.
I have watched it over, and over again and have hung on to every word of hers.
My attempt at translating the poem- please forgive any errors and mistransalations:
‘Dekha hai toote taron ko manzilon pe aate hue’
I have seen broken stars fall to the earth
‘ashkon se bhari aankhon ko geet gungunate hue’
their tear filled eyes singing songs (telling their story)
khud pe yekin hi kafi hai jhukane ko aasman
one’s own faith in oneself is enough to make the skies bow down
varna suna hai maine bhi kismeton ko vajud mitate hue
or else I have heard that luck (Kismet) can destroy one’s own existence (ego)
A friend has kindly translated the same poem for me:
‘Those who were thought to be down and out have also been known to rise from the ashes.
Their stories are an inspiration for others despite the pain they have endured
No hurdle is greater than one’s faith in their true self once it’s been realised
It is no surprise that the existence (ego) of those who suffer from excessive pride (without knowing of the inner self) in annihilated through their own doing.’
Major Ritu Pant has come to the limelight due to her participation in Mrs. India Earth 2017. I am grateful to this contest only because it has brought to light a hidden gem. Major Ritu Pant has served in the Indian Army for 12 years, is married to Dr. Vivek Sood who is a doctor in the Army Medical Corps, and they have 2 lovely daughters.
In 2015 she was awarded for rescuing 18 young soldiers who were injured in ID blasts in Manipur, North East India.
Allow me to share with you the highlight of her introduction:
“I am an amalgamation of dedication, devotion, compassion and hard-work.”
“I am a writer, poet, singer, guitarist, avid reader, fitness freak and most of all a God-fearing lady.”
‘A message to all women, “We are power. We have the power to stay strong against all odds. We have the power to stay determined to follow our dreams and to listen to our heart. To answer all the questions which we ask ourselves. Wear your heart on your sleeves’.
“If you dare to dare, dare to dream, dare to achieve, then nothing can stop you.”
She brings a message of “love, peace and humanity to the world” and wants to “subtract crime and violence against women; hatred and negativity from society.”
Wow! I salute you Major Ritu Pant for being a ‘complete‘ and ‘whole’ woman. For your courage. For celebrating yourself and your talents. For your compassion. For your dedication to your country – India. For protecting your country and your people. For bringing a very important message of daring to dream and to achieve and your message of love and compassion to women and to the world. For reminding us of the power each one of us has in us to ‘be’ women and to celebrate all our inherent female qualities ‘amalgamated’ in to one. For reminding us that dedication and hard-work are core values that can only have impact with compassion and devotion. Your ‘princesses’ are very blessed to have you as their role-model.
As far as mankind has progressed with science and medicine, ironically there also seems to be an increased number of individuals/couples struggling with fertility.
The natural function of bearing a child is getting harder and harder due to a large number of factors, namely poor diet, stress, hyper/hectic lifestyles and unreasonable demands we put on ourselves, our bodies and our partners. We have unknowingly created this vicious cycle that is now inhibiting a natural function of our body.
Today, the words ‘holistic’ and ‘mindfulness’ are so common and used in every context possible. There is a reason for this. We have lost touch with ourselves and with basic human needs such as love, affection, respect, time, and long deep breaths. We make check lists, bucket lists, expectation lists, to do lists, etc, and just keep ploughing through them until we hit a major road block. This causes anxiety, stress, depression, self-doubt and a vicious cycle that then makes us keep hitting more road blocks.
When it comes to fertility and family planning, we need to move away from the check-list and approach it ‘holistically’ from the get go.
Here are some thoughts to consider before embarking on this beautiful and sometimes trying journey:
You and your partner need to be in a good (healthy – physically, emotionally and mentally) place to conceive. It is natural to have at least one unsuccessful attempts, sometimes 2. Let this not send you into a tail spin as once again you will get on that vicious cycle.
What I would like to suggest before you reach out for medical assistance/intervention, is to get your mind and body ‘baby ready‘.
Here are some basic and common ideas but they are very powerful in their effect:
All of the above give your cells what they need to make your body function the way it is intended to. Treat your body with love and respect. Once you have made it so ‘baby-friendly’ you will experience a much higher success rate with either naturally conceiving or having IVF or hormone therapy. You have a responsibility to yourself to make it happen.
Who is Lakshmi?
Put very simply, Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of Wealth.
In a Hindu family, when a girl is born, it is said that ‘Lakshmi has come in to the home’. When a girl gets married, it is also said that ‘Lakshmi has come in to our home’. – The latter bearing a lot of pressure! 😉
Unfortunately to most people, the term ‘wealth’ only relates to monetary wealth. To have and to be able to possess luxuries. And if we do not posses this form of wealth forever, we feel that ‘Lakshmi‘ has abandoned us for another.
What does ‘wealth’ mean to you?
I attended a lovely discourse last week, ‘Women without Walls’, by Swamini (Religious Teacher) Supriyananda at the Chinmaya Mission in Hendon.
The ‘Women’ in question were the Hindu Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati and how we can ‘take’ their attributes and strength and make them OURS. How we can be ‘complete’ women when possessing these amazing characteristics of these lovely Celestial Beings. They are solely there for us to learn from and relate to. We read signs and books that say that all of us women are Goddesses or we have a Goddess inside us. But, do we understand what that means? What does it mean to be a Goddess? And if we believed we are Goddesses or have a Goddess inside of us then we would perhaps not be prone to feeling like ‘victims’ of circumstance but instead always feel empowered by these special qualities of a Goddess. No?
(Durga: Goddess of Power (Shakti) – she destroys evil forces that threaten the better good. Saraswati: Goddess of Knowledge – education, arts, music, intelligence.)
So, back to Goddess Lakshmi. Why Lakshmi? So much of the discussion resonated with me, my upbringing, it also gave me so much more adoration for my own mother.
What is ‘wealth’ to you?
Wealth to me has always been my health, my family, my friends, my values, my reputation. I would go further to say, I am blessed to have this wealth in ABUNDANCE.
Let’s go deeper in to Lakshmi and her ‘wealth’:
Resourceful, Virtues, Generosity, Devotion, Beauty, Compassion, Intelligence, Carefree, Pure, Charismatic-Charming, Radiant, Happiness, Love.
At the discussion it took as ages and prodding from Swaminiji for us to come with the latter to, but the most important of them all: HAPPINESS AND LOVE!
Did you think about it? 😉
Lakshmi is ABUNDANT in all of the above. This is the Lakshmi principle. Being resourceful, abundant, happiness, love, generous, virtuous, beautiful, devoted, compassionate, smart, carefree, pure, charismatic, raidant.
Do we not aim to possess these qualities or to make these qualities in us shine?
Are we not resourceful as women? We just know how to get the job done no matter where and what. We never fall short of resources.
Which qualities of Lakshmi are you aware that you possess? Which attributes would you wish to sharpen?
Namaste! The Goddess of me salutes the Goddess in you!
Happy New Year to you all!
On the 17th day of the new year? Is it already starting to feel old? Or are you still revelling in the magic of the holidays and ringing in the New Year with near and dear ones?
We have all had a couple of weeks to settle in post the holiday madness – and settle in with our resolutions.
While making resolutions for this year… have you had a moment to reflect upon the previous year and how many resolutions you accomplished and went the whole 12 months with? The ones that you did honour through the year have probably now become second nature to you; in which case, well done!
And now for your story.
We all tell ourselves a ‘story’ about who we are, the image we have of ourselves and our lives, of our families, of our careers, and the image we ‘think’ people have of us and the impressions we want to make. Many choose a positive and happy story and many choose a story of sorry and self-pity. In between these two, there are millions of different stories we create. I also say ‘choose’ because for most part we do ‘choose’ our story. We want it to be a certain way because of the results it brings us – results we are attached too. Then we get so wrapped up in it and make it so real that we can’t tell the difference between our reality and our story.
So this year… I encourage everyone to take a pen and journal (that’s if you can resist using an electronic device) and WRITE your story for 2017. Create it now, and put down exactly the way you desire it to be. Create a story of who you are inside and outside – are your light and happy ? are you sad and in reminiscing on the ‘good old days’? are you regretful of things you hadn’t done or accomplished till this moment? are you eager to start a new day every morning? are you a victim of circumstance? are you in the driver’s seat with full control? are you cautious? are you adventurous? In what state of mind is your character in this story? Who does this character really want to be this year? Who does this character want to be around? What do you want to be around? Write down everything that would make your life work this year and what would bring joy to your heart. Write down all the names of the people you would like to interact with this year and in what capacity and situations. Write down all the places you would like to visit this year and why; all the material things you want to possess. Write down how you see each element in your life unfold month by month and where you imagine yourself to be at the end of the year.
Write and create a way; keep adding paragraphs and chapters. You can go back to any page at any time and edit it, adjust it, add to it, take away from it. It’s YOUR story!
Note: no resolutions, no goals, no promises. Just your story for 2017.
…and more consistently and regularly than men could!
We naturally get in to a rage when we hear of men physically, mentally or emotionally abusing women. We have names for these men. We encourage these women to leave these men/these relationships; we demand these men go for counselling; we get psychiatrists and lawyers and media on to these men.
What do we do about women mentally and emotionally abusing omen? Nothing. We just have a name for these women. ‘B*!%&’. And we leave it at that.
There are so many female-female abusive relationships that after having a ‘bitch’ session, or we try to get even (uhuh), we just brush it off. We call it a woman’s natural and instinctive behaviour and make it okay.
I know I’m walking on very thin ice as I broach this subject (gently) and I am probably asking for some controversial and ‘abusive’ responses… but… hey… I’m going to lay it out.
What are some of these relationships?
So ‘friends’ we can choose and we can choose when enough is enough. Colleagues and managers one can withstand to an extent if one has high goals and ambitions and is willing to fight back with intelligence.
What about the family relationships? These are the most fragile, create the worst insecurities in a person, the deepest pain; creates the risk of distrust, sleepless nights, and much self-destructive and family destructive behaviour. And this can go from generation to generation consciously and sub-consciously.
What do we call these relationships? What do we call these women that create such disharmony and discord? The women that expect another woman to be subservient. To be a follower. What solution do we have for them and these relationships? How does one put an end to this behaviour?
At the risk of sounding flippant and callous as one can argue there’s plenty of deep-seeded issues and can get clinically analytic on these personality types but that’s not my intention for this post and dialogue. Let’s have some fun with this.
Note: These are just observations I’m voicing mildly. I do not speak of any of my personal experiences. I could probably not name at least one person per category whom I know. I lie sometimes.
Note: women are also instinctively nurturing, promote growth and harmony in the family, socially and in the work force, give unconditional love, protective towards their family units and peers, pillars to lean on, exemplars of inner strength and beauty, amazing organisers, creative, compassionate, ‘etc., etc., etc.,’…
Note: I take full responsibility for not being PC…
Note: (Boxing gloves are on …)
My Dear Readers,
I am thrilled to announce my new venture for which I have spent a good part of the last year training for and practicing. It seems to be a natural evolution for me to have reached this space and I have all of you and your constant support and great feedback to thank.
I am very excited to share my knowledge and my personal experiences with all that may benefit from them.
Do share this with anyone you think may benefit.
Also, if you have an expertise that will complement my mentoring programmes and would like to be involved, please do not hesitate to connect with me and let’s see what we can create together.
If you’ve hit 40 or perhaps already slid passed it slightly, then you’re definitely something!
Every age, decade, milestone is meaningful and significant in its’ on right.
40 however is right smack in the middle… middle of what? Middle-age some say, but that’s if you’re targeting 80 something, if you’re targeting 100 then perhaps you’ve not quite hit middle-age yet.
The one thing that is constant in life is ‘change’.
Let me help you break through limiting thought patterns that can be very frustrating and breakthrough to a beautiful, powerful and charged YOU!
40 brings about so many changes in our lives:
Many of these changes are chosen and voluntary but many of them are out of our control.
At 40 we do achieve a sense of achievement, a feeling of having ‘arrived’ but we can also find ourselves flummoxed while trying to get a grip on all that’s changing within us and outside of us.
It’s a time of varied thoughts and emotions that these significant changes bring in to our lives.
Becoming a first-time parent just before embarking on this amazing decade – and becoming a ‘mid-life’ parent while caring for ageing parents as well as experiencing personal health and physical changes I have a clear understanding of the emotional and physical effects these experiences bring upon us.
By phone, Skype, face-time, a walk in the woods, over a coffee, potting plants in your garden, walking the dog, getting our nails done, lifting weights at the gym… or a way that suits you, and your life-style.
Call me for a 30 minute chat and let’s see what path this takes us on…
07870 190 657; firstname.lastname@example.org
In Love, Light, Peace and Joy….
Are you a primary care giver to an elderly parent or a relative? Are you a parent? Are you smack-in-the-middle of both generations where you find yourself as a primary care giver to a parent/s and your children? Are you a workaholic? Is your partner a workaholic? Do you hold a demanding professional position where you are devoting so much of yourself and your time to nurture the role, or the organisation?
Whichever role you play, it’s challenging to say the least, especially if you have not struck a balance between looking after them and looking after yourself.
You can get so caught up in the ‘importance’ of the role as a care giver and forget that you are your primary care giver as well.
Society and our respective cultures have conditioned us to believe that looking after oneself is being selfish. As individuals we all need looking after and by this I don’t mean financially or even physically. Our inner-self needs love, nurturing, development, spirituality, space, peace. However we tend to put ourselves in the back seat in this area as we feel that our sole responsibility is to give love, to nurture, to care, to assist another in their growth.
To be in a position to give unselfishly, unconditionally and with pure joy as opposed to performing a ‘duty’, you need to ensure that ‘YOU’ are being well looked after, that your cup is full and over-flowing. As a care-giver you never want to feel resentful of your role or stagnant no matter how pure it is, e.g. as a parent or as a child. But… it’s only natural to feel that way and by recognising that you are a person, an individual in a very, very important role, you also need to care for yourself. No-one but you can do this for you.
So what are the ways in which you can take care of yourself other than the obvious grooming (hair, nails, clothes, etc)? All these are great and the first things we go-to to feel better and up-lifted, but they have a temporary affect. My personal recommendations for long-term fulfillment and constant feeling of being abundant are:
So how do you find the time for any of this? How do you deal with the sense of ‘guilt’ that may arise?
Juggle your schedule and routine. Wake up a little earlier; assess your schedule to see if there is something you can let go off, or something that can be delegated.
Explain to your ‘dependents’ that you need some ‘you’ time and you will be back with more to give and with more positive energy to share. Children need to learn from example. They need to also learn that self-care is important so that they don’t grow up forgetting themselves as well.
Wishing you loads of guilt-less fun on this journey… 🙂
Goosebumps all over my arms, my breath held for goodness knows how long, my heart racing and I found a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes.
All this while I was listening to Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention Speech. Oh my! What a woman, what a delivery of such words full of impact.
I was listening to her speech – more focused on the actual words than who they were about. I was not thinking of Hillary Clinton or the elections. The words, the emotion, the impact – was about each one of us in our own leadership roles be it at work, at home, social and community organizations, as civilians.
*disclaimer: I am not representing any political party or individual. This article is purely inspired by content that can inspire you, me and everyone out there who wants to make a difference.
What do we aspire to be? Do we want to be regarded as role models for the next generation and generations to come? We need to carry ourselves in such honourable ways and know that we are ‘leaving something for our kids’.
Let’s look at some of the key phrases she uses and really soak it in. Can we take some of it or all of it and apply it to our own roles? You do not need to be a mother or for that matter a parent but just a person in a community who wants to leave a healthy heritage.
MO: “spent decades doing the relentless work to actually make a difference”
That’s a Mother, that’s a CEO, that’s a teacher, that’s a Guru, that’s a Volunteer, that’s all of us. Everything we do serves a bigger and a higher purpose.
MO: “when she did not win the nomination eight years ago, she did not get angry or disillusioned”
The game of life is not easy. There are moments we win there are moments we concede. Some days I’m a winner, some days I’m still running. But who draws the finish line? We’ve created it ourselves and get disillusioned by it. Keep your goal and vision in sight always… and don’t waiver with emotions. You’ll get there – ‘there’ is ‘where’ you definite it to be.
MO: “proudly stepped up to serve”
We do as family members no matter where in the hierarchy we are. We do as team players no matter what our position is. We do this in our respective communities to serve as a ‘whole’.
MO: “she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. ….(she) has never quit on anything in her life” (‘she’ can be replaced with ‘he’)
Some of us buckle, some of us throw in the towel some of the time. But most of the time, we get back up and do it all over again, and again, and again…
Something to keep in mind – keep yourself surrounded by great leaders but more than that surround yourself with a great support group who will not let you loose sight of your goals.
MO: “when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.”
As heads of families and organizations, as members of the community – we hold a lot of power that most of the time we are not aware of . How we affect the moods of the people around us. How we can be encouraging or discouraging. How we can create a positive or negative environment. How we react to the people around us – calmly or do we lash out? We underestimate the power we have – but once we become aware of this power – we need to be smart and constructive in how we use it.
MO: “Someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don’t chase fame and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed. And we give back even when we are struggling ourselves because we know that there is someone worse off.”
I want to be that someone for me. For my children. For the children in my family. For the children in my community. Can you be that someone with me?
MO: “we are all created equal, each a beloved part…”
So why do we discriminate? We are all created equal. Who are we to judge who’s worthy of our time, our attention, our love, our respect? We are all a part of the ‘big’ picture. We ALL make a difference.
MO: “It is about leaving something better for our kids.”
AMEN! That’s my bottom line and the reason for why I need to continue to grow.
MO: “Volunteering to coach the team, teach the Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.”
A little time spent to enhance our community, to serve our community, to serve the children.
MO: “Leaders … who show our kids what decency and devotion look like. Leaders… who have the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in the highest and hardest glass ceiling until they finally break through, lifting all of us along with …”
“I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader worthy of my girls’ promise and all of our kids’ promise. A leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.”
I want that leader too to inspire me. I want to be a little or a lot like that leader too to inspire someone..
*thank you Michelle Obama for that fantastic delivery and inspiration*
Never let go of your dreams…
I burst with so much pride and joy while I introduce my dear friend Sarina Jain.
I have known Sarina since we were teenagers growing up in Los Angeles. Sarina then and now is the epitome of spunk, energy, zest and Bhangra! (Balle Balle!)
I watched her perform her arengetrum (solo debut in Bharat Natyam), participate in fashion shows, dance in competitions (and win then beating my group!) and then watched her through her journey creating ‘Masala Bhangra‘.
This was back in the day of Tai Bo videos. If you were cool and fit you owned two work out videos at home: Tai Bo and Masala Bhangra.
Here you go folks… The journey of Sarina’s amazing dream becoming larger than reality!
Welcome Sarina – ‘India’s Jane Fonda’- to Colour Me Woman. Thank you for being one of my Colourful Women who I am so proud and happy to share with my readers.
SJ: THE DREAM BACK THEN WAS TO GET ALL MY AUNTIES AND UNCLES TO EXERCISE. EXERCISING WAS A HUGE PART OF MY LIFE, ESP AFTER MY FATHER PASSED AWAY. IT WAS LIKE I FOUND MY CALLING AND MY MISSION IN LIFE AND THAT WAS TO GET YOU UP AND EXERCISING TO LIVE A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE!
How old were you then?
SJ: VERY YOUNG! 🙂 I STARTED MY CAREER IN FITNESS AT A VERY YOUNG AGE AND I AM STILL YOUNG 🙂
Ha Ha! True. You’ve created your own fountain of youth with Masala Bhangra!
2. What is your educational background? and Professional?
SJ: I GRADUATED FROM CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY – FULLERTON WITH A DEGREE IN PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS. I DID PR FOR SOMETIME BEFORE I STARTED MY OWN BUSINESS IN 1998.
3. I remember you came to me one day announcing your first video with Sheila and Simi and how you needed a ‘funky’, cool outfit for it. Please share how that dream led you to Masala Bhangra’s 1st video.
SJ: I HAD BEEN TEACHING FITNESS FOR SOMETIME. AND THEN THIS IDEA OF MASALA BHANGRA CAME TO ME. I KNEW I WAS GOOD AT TEACHING FITNESS CLASSES AS I TAUGHT STEP, WEIGHT TRAINING, AEROBICS AND MUCH MORE. WHEN I CAME TO YOU, IT WAS FO
R MY 1ST WORKOUT VIDEO AS I WANTED TO BE THE FIRST TO BRING AN INDIAN DANCE WORKOUT VIDEO TO THE SCENE. NO ONE HAD EVER DONE THAT BEFORE! YOU CREATED A LOOK AND FEEL FOR ME THAT I USED THOSE FAMOUS MASALA BHANGRA PANTS FOR THE PHOTO SHOOT AND IT BECAME THE COVER OF THE FIRST MASALA BHANGRA WORKOUT VIDEO!
4. Then you moved to the Big Apple. Why?
SJ: I MOVED TO NYC IN 2001 BECAUSE I JUST KNEW THAT I COULD GO A LOT FURTHER WITH MASALA BHANGRA IN A CITY LIKE THE BIG APPLE. IT TOOK ME 2 WEEKS FOR PEOPLE TO GET HOOKED TO MB, WHICH TOOK ME 2 YEARS IN CA. WHILE IT WAS A HARD CHOICE TO LEAVE MY MOM AND SISTER, IT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ME AT THAT TIME.
5. How did you get started in New York?
SJ: IN 1999, I WAS INTERVIEWED BY A FEW MAGAZINES THAT BROUGHT ATTENTION TO MASALA BHANGRA. FROM THERE GYMS CONTACTED ME AND ASKED ME TO TEACH FULL TIME WITH 15 CLASSES READY TO GO IF I MOVED TO NYC. SO THAT WAS A NO-BRAINER. I TAUGHT ALL KINDS OF CLASSES, BUT THE ONE THAT I CREATED – MASALA BHANGRA. THIS WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. IF YOU MAKE IT IN NYC AS AN ENTREPRENEUR, I BELIEVE YOU WILL THEN HAVE A CHANCE TO GO GLOBAL, WHICH I HAVE DONE NOW.
6. What was/is your biggest motivation to spread Masala Bhangra?
SJ: MY FATHER ALWAYS TOLD ME TO BE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN BEING BORN AND RAISED IN THE UNITED STATES. I WAS VERY CLOSE TO MY FATHER. HE IS THE REASON I PURSUED A FITNESS CAREER! WHEN HE PASSED AWAY, MY MOM WAS 40 YEARS OLD. THIS DEVASTATED ME. I JUST KNEW I HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE FACT THAT HE WAS GONE ONE DAY AT 47 TO A MASSIVE CARDIAC ARREST. VERY UNFAIR. THIS HAS BEEN MY GROUNDING FACTOR EVEN TODAY. I OFTEN ASK MYSELF…WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO AND WHY DO I CONTINUE. BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE IF YOU GIVE ME A CHANCE.
BUT I NEED YOU TO HELP ME OUT AS I CAN’T DO IT FOR YOU.
7. Was it ever a challenge to go mainstream with an ethnic dance and title?
SJ: OF COURSE. AT FIRST WHEN I STARTED, I THOUGHT INDIANS WOULD DEFINITELY COME. THE SOUTH ASIAN MARKET WOULD DEF. TAKE TO MASALA BHANGRA, BUT THEY DIDN’T AND INSTEAD THEY LAUGHED SAYING ‘NO AMERICAN IS GOING TO TAKE TO THIS’. AT THAT TIME, IT WAS ONLY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHO SUPPORTED ME. 16 YEARS LATER, I CAN FINALLY SAY THAT IN 2010, WE BROKE THE MOLD OF SOUTH ASIANS COMING TO MASALA BHANGRA AS NOW MANY DO. BUT LOOK HOW LONG IT TOOK ME!!!?
8. Tell us about your first TV talk show performance ?
SJ: I WAS ON THE AINSLEY HARRIOT SHOW IN 2000 AND IT WAS JUST AMAZING! IT WAS MY FIRST TIME TO BE LIVE AND SHOWCASE MASALA BHANGRA AND AINSLEY HARRIOT ROCKED IT OUT WITH ME!
9. After the US which country did you first expand to?
SJ: I EXPANDED TO JAPAN! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!! JAPAN! THEY LOVE MASALA BHANGRA AND THEY LOVE SHOUTING “BALLE BALLE”!!!
10. Please share your international journey with us....
SJ: WOW…WHAT A JOURNEY IT HAS BEEN! I HAVE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO BUILD MASALA BHANGRA IN 22 COUNTRIES NOW. THE MOST POPULAR COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN MALAYSIA, JAPAN, UK, USA AND SINGAPORE! WE ARE STILL GROWING SLOWLY BUT SURELY, BUT IT HAS BEEN EXTREMELY HUMBLING TO SEE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WANTING TO TEACH MB.
11. What were your biggest challenges on this journey?
SJ: SOME OF MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN LIFE IS PROBABLY STILL – HAVING PEOPLE SEE THAT EXERCISING DOES MATTER! TAKING CARE OF YOUR HEALTH DOES MATTER! AND THE LONGER YOU TAKE CARE OF IT, THE LONGER THE BENEFITS ARE! ALSO, HAVING SOUTH ASIANS SEE THAT WHAT I DO MATTERS AND IT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLES’ LIVES EVERY DAY. I GET MOCKED ALL THE TIME, BUT I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING IS SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE A LIFE LONG JOURNEY FOR ME. EVEN YOUNG KIDS TODAY, YOUNG ADULTS, WHO ARE NOT IN THE BEST SHAPE WANT TO ‘SLASH MY THROAT’ SO I DON’T SAY “BALLE BALLE” ANYMORE. I FIND THIS SAD. AND CLEARLY UNHEALTHY! AND I TELL THEM TO EXERCISE AND TRY DOING WHAT I DO BEFORE THEY JUST EXERCISE THEIR MOUTH!
Oh yes! I forgot about that.
12. Did you ever feel like giving up at any time?
SJ: SURE. GIVING UP IS EASY TO DO! BUT THAT IS JUST IT. IT IS TOO EASY JUST TO GIVE UP, SO THE MINUTE I FIND MYSELF IN A STRESSED MOMENT, I JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH IN AND SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE SO FAR AND I THINK OF MY DAD AND ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT DIDN’T QUIT!
13. How did you come up with the name ‘Masala Bhangra’?
SJ: IN 1998, I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF DOING AN INDIAN DANCE WORKOUT AS I KNEW IT WAS MY CALLING! I HAD EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT EXCEPT THE NAME. AT THAT TIME, I WAS TOLD TO QUICKLY COME UP WITH ONE SO THAT I CAN START TO SHOOT MY FIRST WORKOUT. AND SO “QUICKLY” I SAID MASALA BHANGRA! AND IT STUCK. SO NOW I AM NOT CHANGING IT. I CAME UP WITH A NEW PROGRAM ENTITLED ‘BAR BHANGRA’.
14. How does it feel to be known as the ‘Jane Fonda of India’?
SJ: IT FEELS GREAT. I AM HONORED. SHE REVOLUTIONIZED THE FITNESS INDUSTRY. SHE MADE LEGGINGS AND LEOTARDS POPULAR! AND HER WORKOUT VIDEOS WERE FANTASTIC AS SHE WAS THE FIRST. SO TO BE THE PIONEER TO BRING INDIAN DANCE TO THE FITNESS INDUSTRY IS AN HONOR.
15. Hind sight being 20/20, would you do anything differently?
SJ: AS CRAZY AS IT SOUNDS, BUT NO….I AM SURE THERE ARE THINGS TO BE DONE DIFFERENTLY, BUT THAT IS JUST IT. HOW DO YOU KNOW UNTIL YOU DO IT. ONLY NOW COULD I SAY AND CONSULT SOMEONE TO DO THIS AND NOT TO DO THIS. BUT I LOVE WHAT I DO AND LOVE WHAT I HAVE CREATED AND I LOVE THE FACT IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE IS SO MANY LIVES. MASALA BHANGRA IS ALL ABOUT JOY, CELEBRATION AND COMMUNITY! IT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER IN MORE THAN ONE WAY!
16. What is the one thing you consider being your biggest achievement?
SJ: THERE ARE A FEW THINGS -BEING ON THE COVER OF A MAGAZINE THAT IS INDUSTRY RELATED! BEING ON THE COVER OF A CEREAL BOX THAT WAS DISTRIBUTED TO 2.6 MILLION BOXES
JUST HAVING A VISION AND GOING FOR IT NOT KNOWING WHAT THE OUTCOME WOULD BE.
17. Where to next Sarina?
SJ: I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS BUT CAN’T TELL THAT TO YOU TILL IT COMES OUT! 🙂
Hmmm….. now you’ve got my curiosity. I will have to probe off line! 🙂
18. On a personal level you must have faced a lot of challenges as well – would you like to share any or a specific one?
SJ: I FACED MANY CHALLENGES. PEOPLE SAID THIS WOULD NOT GO ANYWHERE. AND NOW I AM IN 22 COUNTRIES. PEOPLE SAID THAT NO ONE WILL TAKE TO MASALA BHANGRA. BUT TODAY IT HAS CHANGED SO MANY PEOPLES’ LIVES. HATERS CAME MY WAY AND SAID THIS IS NOT REAL BHANGRA AND WANTED TO ‘SLASH MY THROAT’. I NEVER SAID I WAS DOING HARD CORE BHANGRA (WHATEVER THAT IS TODAY) AS WHAT WE DO IS WHAT WE DO AT WEDDINGS. AND THIS IS MY OWN PEOPLE BORN AND RAISED IN NORTH AMERICA. I GUESS THESE THINGS WILL HAPPEN ONCE YOU GET POPULAR AND HATERS WILL BE HATERS, BUT THAT IS JUST IT….THEY ARE JUST HATERS. THEY DON’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO BUT HATE SO YOU GOT TAKE THAT AND USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE~
19. You recently tied the knot – congratulations to Rajat and you. I have still to meet this Prince Charming who swept you off your feet!
SJ: IT TOOK ME SOMETIME TO MEET THE ONE, BUT I DID. AND IT IS THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD TO WAIT FOR THE ONE. THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I DID GIVE UP BUT THEN THERE WERE TIMES WHERE I JUST HAD TO BELIEVE IT WILL HAPPEN. AND EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. OUR TIMINGS ARE SET BY THE ABOVE POWERS! BUT IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU WILL MEET THE ONE..THEN YOU WILL. YOU JUST GOT TO KEEP BELIEVING. I AM HAPPY AND BLOWN AWAY AS TO HOW 99% OF WHAT HE HAS, IS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR IN A MAN.
20. Being an Indian girl in America following such an unconventional dream AND being so successful – what effect did this have in your dating life?
SJ: IT MADE IT HARD TO MEET THE RIGHT MAN. MOST GUYS DIDN’T WANT TO TAKE A CHANCE ON THE UNCONVENTIONAL WOMAN! BUT I WAS NOT QUITTING JUST TO GET MARRIED.
21. What made it all come together with Rajat?
SJ: ANUPA, I THINK WE MAY NEED TO ASK HIM THAT 😉
Ha ha! Touche! Sure.. as I said.. I can’t wait to meet him!
22. What is your own fitness regime?
SJ: I WORKOUT 4 TIMES A WEEK. NOT TO HAVE THIS KILLER, SICK, TIGHT BODY, BUT TO HAVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. IT IS IN MY BLOOD TO WORKOUT. I ALWAYS BRING MY GEAR NO MATTER WHERE I AM TRAVELING TO SO I CAN GET IN A GOOD WEIGHT TRAINING SESSION AND A GOOD RUN ON THE TREADMILL.
I LOVE WEIGHT TRAINING AS IT MAKES MY BONES STRONGER! I LOVE TO DO CARDIO AS I FEEL 10 TIMES BETTER POST. I ALSO TEACH MY CLASSES BUT MOSTLY WORKOUT ON MY OWN AS WELL.
23. You’re no doubt a role model to many girls everywhere in the world that you have energised with your spunk and with Masala Bhangra. Please give our readers some advice on following your passion? (I would specify – Unconventional :))
SJ: IN TODAY’S WORLD, EVERYTHING CAN BE UNCONVENTIONAL ESP. WITH OUR THINKING. I WOULD SAY THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME A CHANCE TO SHARE WITH YOU MY TWO CENTS. AND I WOULD SAY THAT YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE TO LIVE. I KNOW THAT YOU MAY HEAR THIS ALL THE TIME, BUT IT IS TRUE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WILL HAPPEN TOMORROW, SO IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA THAT YOU WANT TO PURSUE, DO IT AND IF YOU DON’T, SOMEONE ELSE WILL. AND THE ONLY WAY IT IS GOING TO EVEN GET OFF THE GROUND IS IF YOU BELIEVE IN IT, PUT THE HARD WORK IN AND SEE WHERE IT GOES. SET A GOAL FOR YOURSELF TO HAVE RESULTS DONE. IF BY THEN, THE RESULTS ARE TO WHAT YOU WANTED, THEN YOU ARE GOOD TO GO AND CAN GO FOR MORE. IF THEY ARE NOT TO WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED, EITHER THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE, OR RE-EVALUATE WHERE YOU ARE AT. BUT YOU GOTTA TRY IT. THIS GOES WITH ANYTHING! FROM WORKING OUT TO COOKING TO YOUR JOB TO ANYTHING!
24. A few fitness tips please before you move on?
SJ: I BELIEVE AND WILL ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT STAYING ACTIVE IS THE KEY TO LIFE. IT ADDS POSITIVITY TO YOUR LIFE. AND IN A WEIRD WAY, IT SUBCONSCIOUSLY ALLOWS YOU TO GO FURTHER!
BUT YOU GOTTA STAY ACTIVE NOT FOR ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELF. LIFT THEM WEIGHTS. I SEE TOO MANY WOMEN TODAY IN THEIR EARLY 40’S WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO LIFT EVEN 7 LBS. THAT IS SCARY! SO START TO BUILD A STRONG BODY AND START TO LIFT WEIGHTS. EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO A SQUAT, A LUNGE, A PUSH UP – THESE ARE JUST BASICS.
Phew! I’m glad I can at least do those 7lbs.
25. When do we see you and where can we experience a Masala Bhangra work out in London? (I would love to be your ambassador! Ouch!)
SJ: ANUPA, I THINK YOU WERE AN AMBASSADOR THE MINUTE I ASKED YOU TO HELP ME OUT! YOU HAVE BELIEVED IN ME SINCE THEN! AND I AM CELEBRATING 16 YEARS OF MY FIRST WORKOUT VIDEO COMING OUT. I HAVE 12 NOW AND 3 MORE ON IT’S WAY! 🙂
WE HAVE AN AMAZING MASALA BHANGRA AMBASSADOR NAMED RA’SHAWN LIVING IN HOUNSLOW. SHE IS ROCKING WITH HER CLASSES AND PASSIONATELY TEACHES AND EMBRACES THE CULTURE! ITS A JOY TO SEE HER SPREAD THE MASALA BHANGRA LOVE! FOR THOSE THAT CAN’T COME AND EXPERIENCE A LIVE CLASS, WE HAVE DVDS AND YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THEM AS WELL!
Thank you Sarina! As I said… so energetic and so inspirational. I wish you luck with your ‘new’ venture and all you do. See you in London or NYC soon! Balle Balle!
To get a sample of Sarina’s work and order her DVD’s…. https://www.masalabhangraworkout.com/