“Nari Shakti” – “Women Power,” Celebrating Women’s Profound Influence in Shaping a Brighter Future for All

This writing, one of countless others, may not be fully captured by my words. Still, on this Women’s Day, I aspire to shed light on “Nari Shakti” – “Women Power,” celebrating women’s profound influence in shaping a brighter future for all.

As we celebrate Women’s Day, I reflect on the indelible impact of the remarkable women in my life—my late mother, wife, and influential mentors during and after my consulting career. These women have been pivotal in my personal growth and development and shaped my understanding of leadership, compassion, and resilience.

Growing up in India, my journey began in the simple yet profound moments shared with my father—a self-made man who rose to become a respected professor and chairman. His legacy lives on forever at a research center named after him at the university where he taught, a project for which my late mother was the lead architect throughout her life. My late parents taught me the value of education, self-reliance, and frugal innovation – appreciation for innovation and giving back to the community. However, my mother’s silent, steadfast support behind the scenes truly architected our family’s future. Her sacrifices and unyielding faith in us laid the foundation for our achievements, exemplifying strength, and grace in equal measure.

My wife, an embodiment of love and resilience, has been my rock through our shared and personal trials. In six years, our family endured the heartache of losing my elder brother, my father, my mother, and our beloved dog, Neo. Each loss tested our fortitude, yet it was my wife’s steadfast support and understanding that carried me through my battles with emotional health after these losses that lingered for a long time, significantly more after the loss of my mother and then our beloved dog Neo during COVID-19. Despite grappling with her own grief, particularly from the loss of Neo, my wife remained a source of strength and comfort, not just for me but for our entire family.

Raised within the fabric of Eastern culture before embarking on a career in the Western world, I frequently encountered moments where my beliefs and values seemed at odds. In these times, I sought refuge in the familiar embrace of my homeland, India. Returning to my roots always offered clarity and a renewed understanding of both cultures, simply by spending time beside my late mother and father. During one of these reflective visits, my father shared a piece of wisdom that deeply resonated with me. In those moments, my father once said to me in Hindi, “Tumhari janam bhumi India hai, magar karma bhumi USA hai,” “Your place of birth is India, but your land of action/work is the USA.” In those crucial moments, I found the answers I had been seeking. A few months later, my father passed away. Amidst this loss, my late mother, concealing her own sorrow, continued to be our pillar of strength. With her quiet presence, she continued to offer wisdom and guidance until her passing.

Their mentorship enriched my understanding of effective leadership—highlighting the importance of empathy, inclusivity, and resilience. These experiences have been instrumental in shaping my career and my approach to overcoming challenges. And their actions are a constant reminder that authentic leadership and compassion extend beyond the confines of our immediate circles, touching the lives of those in need.

At Genzyme and Sanofi, I had the privilege of working under the guidance of female managers and colleagues who shaped my leadership thought process and taught me the importance of staying grounded and the power of listening.

As I navigate my path, I am reminded of the lessons I have learned from these incredible women. They have taught me that leadership is not just about directing others but also about lifting those around us, sharing their struggles, and celebrating their successes. My mother’s legacy, my wife’s strength, and the mentorship from my managers have collectively shaped my approach to life, leadership, and giving back to the community.

This Women’s Day, I extend my deepest gratitude to the women who have influenced my journey. Their resilience, compassion, and leadership inspire me to strive for a world where support and empowerment transcend all barriers. In honoring them, I commit to passing on the values they have instilled in me—to lead with empathy, support the underprivileged, be the voice to animals who can’t speak, and cherish the journey of making a positive impact in the lives of others. While I may never fully embody the virtues these women instilled in me, their legacy and values are my daily guide, directing my life and compassion.

Coincidently, today is also MahaShivratri in India. On this auspicious day when the celestial aligns with the earthly, we observe MahaShivratri, a sacred festival in India that venerates the divine convergence of Shiva and his consort Parvati, the embodiment of Shakti (“Strength/Power”). As my wife and I join in the fast, honoring the mystic embrace of these cosmic powers, we find profound meaning in the synchronicity of this day with International Women’s Day.

The image before us captures more than a visage; it is a powerful symbol, marrying the calm, reflective gaze of Lord Shiva with the vibrant, potent aura of Goddess Shakti. The tranquil austerity of Shiva’s countenance, marked by his third eye, meets the dynamic force of Shakti, a portrayal rich in symbolism and depth. It is a potent reminder of the equilibrium of existence, where male and female principles intertwine to shape the universe.

In the philosophical canvas of Hinduism, “Shakti” breathes life and motion into “Shiva,” reminding us that the masculine stands still without the strength and power of the feminine. Today, as we celebrate the force of womanhood on International Women’s Day, let us remember that every woman is Shakti, an invincible power without whom the dance of life ceases to be. This duality not only shapes our understanding of the cosmos but also anchors our reverence for the women who are the bedrock of strength and creation in our lives.

As we give thanks for the blessings in our lives, let us also remember to give back, support, and uplift—echoing the sentiments of my father and the incredible women who have shaped my path. In doing so, we honor their legacy and contribute to a cycle of generosity and kindness that enriches our communities and souls.

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