Interview with Shrradha Daswani Setalvad

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Shrradha Daswani Setalvad is a model for whom fitness comes first.

Born in Calcutta to Hiro and Neelu Daswani, Shrradha was the family’s first granddaughter and experienced a great Sindhi family culture living in a joint family.  A quiet but very observant child, she recollects she was just 10 when during a post PE meditation class in her school, Loreto House, she felt she was flooded by light during Aum chanting. “Yoga was not known to us then and my school friends did not understand why a PE class needed to have chanting.  My teacher immediately experienced my halo and my journey into my spirituality was initiated then.”

She then chose to pursue her education in a boarding school in Nainital and admits that the most path breaking and defining years of her life were when she was at Sherwood College.  “It established my sense of identity and all round personality to be a leader after being appointed Head Girl.” Post this she returned to Calcutta on her father’s behest to be with the family and work with him to grow his newly established export business to the UAE.

“Ironically in the midst of my journey, life led me into the world of modelling and glamour.  I was selected as one of the eastern zone finalists of India’s First Cinthol Ford Supermodel Contest and that took me into the world of glamour and modelling.” However she had set her to do more and went on to complete her MBA in Marketing and Strategic Retail Management from the Manchester Business School.

A firm believer that fitness if started early becomes proactive Shrradha always believed in keeping herself fit so that she could carry off the clothes she liked to wear. “After my daughter was born in Mumbai I started learning yoga and took a break from professional life.  The Principal of her school saw my skill and had the vision to incorporate yoga into the education stream and asked me to fill in for a teacher who had to leave.”

She then went on to put together her love for fitness, learnings from her MBA and started Yoga Kidz in School on a professional platform.  The Yoga Kids 3Fs Program incorporates Fitness, Focus and Fun to mirror the definition of yoga. “Putting my creative abilities to test, I created a dynamic teaching program and put together a team of professionals which made yoga the most fun and sought after class in schools.”

The Yoga Kids Program is taught through stories and is dramatic.  “It honed my acting skills and got me to interact with audiences.  I love acting and being in a character. Anupam Kher was a wonderful mentor and guide through his acting school and I underwent his Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Program with a handful of ten students from India in the hills of Mussoorie.”

Having been a successful model Shrradha says whatever she does is guided by a strong sense of purpose. “It is my personality to experience life to the fullest and find the purpose of my soul in this life time.  I am adept now at turning around all situations into a handstand like situation and enjoying the opening of the heart in it.”

Her advice to young women is to start their professional careers as soon as possible and not while away their teenage and early 20s years.  “I also pray that all young women establish a beautiful bond with their bodies and take on and pursue fitness lifelong.  A woman’s body as against a man’s is destined to face more metamorphic changes and it is upto us to train the body to adapt and enjoy all these phases.  Women must be educated about their safety and must learn to protect themselves.”

Shrradha also extols the ability of women to multi task and says this is a life skill that all women can use. “Balancing a career, marriage, home and the responsibility of a child is something women are blessed to experience.  The sooner one trains and engages in learning the easier the journey is.  My father encouraged me to learn full Sindhi cooking at the age of 18 years and that kept me in good stead during my years when I lived abroad.  It prevented me from falling into the fast food trap.”

In her free time she loves working out and also says that she loves music. “I find different remixes of tracks and make my own DJ playlist. I also love driving my convertible.  All these harness my creative energies which then I use and blend with my writing skills.” Reading a spiritual book every day, cleaning her house and occasionally cooking new recipes for her children make her happy and she hopes to get back to playing the piano soon.

Her Principal in school wrote her a note “Leadership is a lonely position.  Never Give in and Never Give Up” and this is what she says is her motto in life. Looking ahead she says that she sees herself representing India either politically or on a larger professional platform in future. “I also see myself travelling and establishing a larger professional platform of work internationally.  I also hope to extend to all the areas which I have not visited previously. I am also just in the finishing stages of writing my book ‘B Iconic’,” she signs off.

This story first appeared in The Sindhian Oct-Dec 18 issue here: Shrradha 1.1 Shrradha Shrradha 1

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