Babita Jaishankar – BAJA, life and motherhood



Babita Jaishankar is an image consultant, has her own fashion line and is a mum to two lovely growing daughters Akanksha and Illesha.

Her recent gesture in support of cancer fighters made her go bald and she has ensured she has grabbed the attention of many women who are going through the phase or are in support of cancer fighters.

In an one-on- one interaction, she shares with Mums and stories, “I grew up in a family that had my dad in Army and we as a family were locating from one place to another almost every three years. As my father had a job that required him to be away from home, my parents collectively took the decision to have mum as a stay-at-home person and I so much respect whatever they did for us kids.

Now of course they are leading lives independently, are tech savvy and so tuned to the current affairs. They are voracious readers and they travel a lot. They do have each other completely for company and though I do have arguments on how much they should travel after a certain age, I am still clear that I am their daughter and need not become their mother.

My mum right through my growing years has been very close to me. She raised us kids as a single parent as dad was posted on the field.

Now after my kids were born, I always believed that they will be the ‘grand parents’. I didn’t want especially my mum to step into the role of looking after my children when I was away at work. So yes, me and my husband have managed on our own when the kids were young even without a nanny or a day care center for them.

As most parents wanted, I took up science in college and completed my graduation and masters in organic chemistry. I even worked as a chemist for a company for about 4 months before understanding that this wasn’t what I wanted to do in life.

And then I was back at Aurangabad where my parents stayed, finished a short term course in designing. I knew how to tailor my outfits by then. In fact, I took pride in designing and stitching my own clothes to college.

I went on to specialize in western formals and soon began to work for an entrepreneur who had her store in Australia too. Without realizing my own entrepreneurial journey had begun where I had begun to style, consult and showcase my own designs.

By this time marriage had happened with an arranged marriage process and sooner than decided, I even had the news of my first baby coming up in our life. I took a complete break from everything and concentrated on my pregnancy. Soon I had to move to U.S with my husband and by then my daughter Akanksha was one and half years of age. Life has taken unexpected turns and I think I always made the best of the opportunities and I was doing a course that taught skin and colour consultation course. I happened to start working there and unexpectedly I was pregnant with my second one.

Situations came in life where we had to move back to India and this time I wanted to pursue an entrepreneurship MBA from IIM-B. So soon I had two verticals running one on image consultation and the other my own fashion line, BAJA.

I distinctly remember that once a young girl walked in and she required help on make her to look presentable. She was dressed very shabbily and surely required more than styling. I don’t know what made me decide on her but yes she did get a job after two sessions from me.

I specialize in one on one styling for individuals, CEO’s, homemakers, socialites, politicians and it has been an amazing journey as a mum and as an entrepreneur. Life has thrown some situations that made me contribute on my work towards a few causes that I care including cancer survivors.

Recently when I decided to go bald for a cause, a travelling hairstylist came and asked me if I would be ready to get it short for a cause and I just told him, I can go bald instead of just getting it short.

And yes, in a family where you have growing up daughters who look up to you their friends who look up to you for any advice on image, I think this was a strong message for everyone. More importantly my mother who always valued or perhaps loved luscious hair considering we belong to the region from God’s own country, it was a decision where I was hopeful on receiving support. And everyone including my husband were completely fine with this decision.

I honestly feel that cancer fighters in our country post-treatment phase are expected to get back to normalcy at the earliest. But there is much more and during treatment, post the chemo sessions, the trauma of facing oneself, family and society with a different physical appearance requires immense determination and courage. This is my way of showing support to these incredible individuals.”

Babita through her social initiative ‘Style me-Empower me ‘works with underprivileged youth making them employable; also works with acid attack fighters and with cancer warriors.

On a cheerful note, Babita ends by saying “I love being a mum to my daughters. Being an image consultant and a model for my own line many times, I am very clear I do not want to be like my children or their age. I style and dress according to what suits me and because of my experience in skin, colour and various other things like bringing out my own fashion line, I do feel I have an edge than others on image consultation for an individual.

Also I believe that mums should set an example for their kids, most of all please stop saying I don’t like myself in the mirror because I am dark or I am overweight. You can be a true inspiration for your children and you can work this out.

When it comes to my kids, I can say that Akanksha now is 16 years and she blogs very well and even edits my columns when required. She is more inclined on social initiatives and the younger one is a superb organizer in life. “

As we wrap up this lovely interaction, there is only one thing we can wish for this cheerful mum and entrepreneur. We wish Babita Jaishankar a successful journey ahead in her initiatives professionally and on the social causes she believes in life.

 

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