Kavita Bagga on entrepreneurship, motherhood and life

I reached out to Kavita Bagga, a mother whom I felt had broken many barriers in being herself or being a mother. I wasn’t wrong when I got to know her story. Kavita is someone who has been through an amazing,  but hectic corporate career before she decided to embrace entrepreneurship and motherhood .

Sharing her story with Mums and Stories, she says, “ I am the only child of my parents and my father prior to his retirement was with the Indian Government( an IAS officer) and my mother has been a stay-at-home mom. With my father being in a transferrable job, we moved cities and  schools on a regular basis which helped me tremendously to adapt to new surroundings and friends( that’s the reason possibly why today I find it easy to mix and mingle with any new set of people and have taken well to cities I have moved to with my own previous jobs).

For my mother I was the only source of entertainment and focus of attention as my father worked long hours and therefore I had her undivided attention and sometimes too much pressure too as she being a stay at home always aspired for me to be well educated and become financially independent.

I am fortunate that for my parents who considered, giving a girl, education and future course of career was far more important than having her married to a ‘suitable match’. Ours has been a very loving household, the values of compassion, empathy and the spirit of independence. This learning from my parents helped inculcate in me have stood me through various trials and tribulations of life.

I firmly believe that while schools may give you academic knowledge to excel in exams, it’s a child upbringing, the environment at home, the quality of engagement with parents etc that actually prepares you for the much larger tests that life throws at you. Three main lessons that were drilled in me- Be kind to animals. Be empathetic to the less privileged and that dignity is your strongest defense.

My father’s perennial words were…do what you please but don’t do anything that you can’t discuss at home with us !

Studies were very important and achieving top position in every grade too( that was pressure!).  However alongside I was always encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities like theater, sports, adventure camps etc.

Luckily my parents were extra emphasizing on travel as they believed that nothing adds to your life more than real life experiences. I am so very grateful for this.”

Talking on motherhood Kavita shares, “ I am a 10 months old mom now and yes it is after a very long time..I turn 45 this month ! My prior years were taken over by a crazy goal chasing career, a very exciting and adventurous single life and also a failed marriage. Life gave me another chance a couple of years ago and I finally met the man who I felt deserved to be the father of my child!

Three years ago I got out of my corporate life, finally got the courage to get rid of my golden handcuffs and moved into an area which gave me an opportunity to learn new things and at the same time do my bit in return for what we get from nature.

My journey of motherhood so far has been most beautiful and an experience I never fathomed and one that I probably underestimated until I had a child of my own. I have always surrounded myself with pets, dogs, plants and I thought life is complete…but being a mother is just something else…it is overwhelming and yet it is one that you always find the energy for!

Being an older mom..yes my body perhaps had to put in that extra effort while I was pregnant but because all my life, being fit and eating healthy were two things I took very seriously. I sort of sailed through my 9 months of pregnancy, despite every possible medical issue I could face including being on bed rest for a while.

Faith and health can take you a long way. My ten months with my baby so far are yet another phase of me learning something new. I feel I am lucky in that aspect as not many people get the privilege of learning something totally new at this age! Being an older mom also meant that I was better informed, calmer, more discerning and better equipped. More than anything else it was the best time to have my baby because I don’t feel like I am having to give up on anything to make place for a child.

I have worked hard, travelled extensively, partied insanely..done it all…so now when I am home just feeding my baby, experimenting with new recipes, walking her around, watching her sleep..I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything. Maybe this is what they call..been there done that ! Given a second chance I would still opt to have a baby at 44 than 24 ! This is when you really want a baby and not because it is thrust upon you !

Yes I have had some very gratifying working years both in the world of media and FMCG, held senior positions, climbed up the corporate ladder, was one of the very few women holding a senior management( Vice President) position in the liquor industry, managed teams, handled crisis situations, travelled and travelled !! But at some point in life you ask yourself ‘now what’? and ‘to what end’?

You also reach a stage where your needs get so limited and you are easily satisfied. I made handsome money but never had the time to spend it. My holidays were regimented, deadlines, airports and digging my heals in a male dominated FMCG world. This indeed took its toll on my head and I felt I was burning out. I was unable to really enjoy what my salary could afford. There was also this constant nagging feeling that how worthy is my life beyond a conference room or an appraisal.

My life could be appraised only on the basis of my sales targets. I felt the need to self-appraise and really feel good about myself. “

Sharing on how her venture Kara Organics came into being, she shares, “ My contacts in the hospitality & the retail industry helped to secure some supply contracts and also my marketing lessons where I had learnt that to sell your product helped and  the first step was to educate your customer. I saw a gaping hole in the world of organic foods.

People are unaware and knowledge is half baked. Organic is still a fad and not a fact. It’s a harsh reality that people need to wake up to.

I now have customers who have converted for good, I invite them to my farm, I show them how real food is grown and what unreal food can do to their lives and medical bills. I also help people develop their own food. It’s a slow process but extremely gratifying because you know that with every converted mom you have added a few healthy years to a family. This venture of my own also now leaves me a lot of time to do things that matter…I travel without deadlines, I am bringing up a baby in open air and wet mud, with my cows and dogs, I get the time to do something which is very close to my heart i.e. help in rehabilitating abused and abandoned animals. I support a few dog shelters, facilitate adoptions, and try to give my spare time in helping some amazing people who work relentlessly in helping the voiceless. Quite honestly….a few years ago I was rich, today I am happy.”

On an ending note, Kavita reiterates “ The best part of becoming a mother is that it makes you multifaceted. The fun is in multitasking. I learnt that in my working life and now I can apply that effortlessly to my time as a mother. The juggling is fun when you enjoy it and don’t allow it to rattle you. Babies can sense anxiety, an anxious mother will have a cranky baby. If you go with the flow and accept the fact that the baby will wake up a few times at night, the baby will be colic, the baby will require you to work around its convenience and not as per yours.

Yes there are times when I go hysterical, moments when I have completely freaked out on my husband, my parents, and there are also times when my baby has completely exasperated  me! That’s when I run to my dogs. They remind me of unconditional love and then I gently walk back indoors and find my baby smiling.”

Also I want to share with others that Put yourself first. Take out time for yourself. “Me time” is very important. Go for a swim, gym, go for a run, pour yourself a glass of wine, dance alone… If you are happy you will make people around you happy. And you will be happy when you look good and FEEL good. Being healthy does not mean crazy bills at a nutritionist or exotic foods or fancy gyms and trainers..it only means a little tweaking in your lifestyle . Small changes in your daily routine and food can have big results in the longer run. I tell people…be so healthy that it shows.”

(This email interview was done by Reshma Krishnamurthy from Mums and Stories)

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