Women are generally known to be multi-taskers, at home and at workplace. We can easily do a few things at a time without compromising on the quality and the effort for each task, all the while planning the next set of tasks. But here we have Rajalakshmi Lakshminarayanan who takes this adage a little too seriously!
Raji is a Pelvic Floor Specialist and a Digital Marketing Expert, among other things. She also runs a few not-for-profit initiatives and was very actively involved in 2015 Chennai Floods relief operations. She recently won the Best Entrepreneur Award by Bharat Nirman at the 10th Asia’s Literature Festival, Chennai.
Always the first to encourage, appreciate and lend a helping hand, Raji has been an inspiration to me in terms of actively doing something for society. In conversation with Raji, let us find out what her mantra for life is.
Jyoti: Congratulations on the Best Entrepreneur Award! Please tell us a bit about your entrepreneurial work.
Raji: I was an IT professional from 2006 to 2010 and once I delivered my first kid, I quit my job to breastfeed him exclusively. But I couldn’t sit at home doing home based job / online jobs.
So I started my organic shopping venture with the targeted audience of 0 to 6 months babies, and opened my first outlet in Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai. As time went on, I learned pelvic floor therapy and started freelancing in various hospitals advising women on post-delivery exercises.
I realised that there is a huge demand for branding and marketing in each of the hospitals I worked with, and started my digital marketing and branding agency in 2011. I gradually started with social media marketing, hospitals and individual doctors branding, website creation and SEO etc.
The exciting part for me is making creative videos for well-known brands, in fact our branding strategy played a major part in Kamal Hassan’s latest video.
I love what I do and my passion for introducing, renewing & propelling brands is brighter than ever.
This year I have a few major hospital clients in Chennai and I feel proud to receive the Entrepreneur Award, and will strive hard to maintain this in upcoming years.
Jyoti: I have personally witnessed your passionate involvement in social causes, noteworthy amongst them being the Chennai floods. I would love to know where you find the energy and resources to take up a project of that scale.
Raji: Chennai floods was a life-changing experience for me, one which I shudder to recall. My maid became homeless and I allowed her to stay at my house. I witnessed many of them without food/clothing. So with the help of my maid, I prepared a bucket full of curd rice and started giving it away to people in the street where she lived. I realised that I had fed two meals a day to over 50 families in 2 days from my home. The joy of giving is what I experienced and I wanted to feed more people. I started asking my friends, who helped me raise funds and resources. We took care of two streets comprising of 100+ families for a complete week and started helping other areas too as and when the need arose. And the rest, as they say, is history. One which Chennai is still known for.
I get the energy to do all this from my husband/my love/my best buddy for life, who simply says, ‘Go Raji, we will manage.’ As a support system, there is no sentence more reassuring than this to me.
Jyoti: Recently, you have forayed a lot into fitness activities. I see you running marathons with eminent figures like Milind Soman. What brought about this interest?
Raji: Being a mother of 2 kids of 5 years and 7 years of age, I realised that people in India have a mindset to quit fitness after delivery or even after marriage. I feel it is my right to look good and to enjoy seeing myself in the mirror. I would strive hard to keep myself fit, not just for other’s admiration but to keep myself happy. I enjoy my time with my kids, but I need some alone time as well.
When I run, walk or cycle in the morning, I find my ‘ME Time’ and this allows me to perform well both professionally and personally. A simple interest to look good and feel good for myself is the key to waking up early and going for that run.
Jyoti: You frequently emphasize on pelvic health for women. Please enlighten our readers on what it means and how important it is for women.
Raji: Like any other muscle in your body, pelvic floor muscles are important for both men and women. Although it is hidden from view, your pelvic floor muscles can be consciously controlled and therefore trained, much like your arm, leg or abdominal (tummy) muscles.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises can help:
- improve bladder and bowel control,
- reduce the risk of prolapse (in women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, pulling, dragging or dropping),
- improve recovery from childbirth and gynecological surgery (in women),
- increase sexual sensation and orgasmic potential, and
- increase social confidence and quality of life.
Women after delivery should understand that – It is NOT OKAY to leak urine and we should be ready to talk about it.
Please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any leak queries.
Jyoti: Any other initiatives that you are into, or are looking at doing in the future?
Raji: I am working towards opening an NGO for transgender community where I want to build a work culture where a common person should not be afraid of giving a job to a transgender and vice versa. By God’s grace, I am waiting for the government to help me by approving my work culture plan, which has already been submitted. I am hoping to put my plan for a better work culture into action mode for transgender community from mid-2019 onwards.
Jyoti: That’s a very relevant and great initiative. Gender discrimination is something all of us should be working against as a society. My last, but the most important, question is how do you manage two toddlers and so much work in different areas? And you definitely don’t compromise on the fun factor! Please tell our readers about your experience in work-life balance and the importance of ‘me time’ and girlfriends.
Raji: I am a proud multitasker with no compromises in my goals. I set my goals with deadlines. Kids are a part of life and I feel women should stop blaming their kids as career stopping elements. In fact, I have become more responsible after being a mom. Trust me, my 2 are equal to 20!
I always set basic simple rules, and we have backup plans for any given situation. I spend 30 minutes every day with them at the playground or doing any other outdoor activity. I play with them, hug them and sometimes throw tantrums in front of them. At the end of the day, it is my monkeys and my circus always.
And it is easy when you define the clear goal of your circus, keeping every element in circus with necessary backup plans.
Further, we have a thumb rule in the house – ‘Be what you are at home‘.
We make the children understand that adults need some fun activity too and educate them on the same. I feel it is mandatory for the parents to educate their kids on each stage of life, so that life runs smooth for both parents and kids.
Make them clearly understand the age limit and allow them to enjoy. It is as simple as ‘live and let live’. I may sound a bit harsh, but we have only one life and I don’t compromise on fun (or non-fun) factors. I don’t believe in ‘balanced life’; I believe in ‘prioritising your likes and dislikes, and loving your life.’
These days, men and women forget to take their ‘me time’ and blame it on any surrounding element they find. I think 30 minutes of ‘me time’ a day is mandatory to refocus on achieving any goal within a deadline.
In my home, every 1st and 3rd Saturday is mine, and 2nd and 4th is his (hubby’s). As simple as that. We both relax and rejuvenate with friends. We don’t force each other to relax together just because we love each other and are married. That just puts pressure on us. We are mature idiots who immensely support and back each other to achieve individual goals, and we are happy to be friends even after 9 years of marriage.
And my favourite quote which keeps me going professionally and personally is:
Princess?? No, bossy bitch.
Let’s have fun and be unapologetic about our ideals.