Despite being well educated, armed with degrees in Engineering and MBA, despite traveling the world and working in different countries in large and small organizations, the humble Shivangi Sharma, the author of "I made a Booboo" , describes herself as "I am nothing" in the large and grand universe ! Do read her full intriguing interview below:
1. What is the meaning of your name "Shivangi" ? How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
The literal meaning of my name is "a part of Lord Shiva" - the third eye, I like to think! But, at the risk of sounding too vain, I recently googled and found that Shivangi also means beautiful. Three words to describe me would be "I am nothing", in the entire grandeur around me. But if you are looking for three personality defining adjectives then often, I am - curious, easy going and receptive.
2. Could you kindly share your education and work journey so far with our readers?
I studied engineering first, and then realized I probably shouldn't have. So I worked for a bit with Infosys before going ahead for an MBA at the Indian School of Business. After MBA, I moved to Singapore to work for Gartner in business development, then to Hong Kong to work for Philips in online marketing. The last 6 years I have worked in Amsterdam in different online marketing and e-commerce positions at Philips and Microsoft. Recently I joined a start-up here to head overall marketing, which has been the most fun job till now.
3. When did you decide to become an author? When and how did you start your book "I made a Booboo" ?
Writing a book was always a dream. Once when in between jobs, I had written about half a book. But then I never had the time to pursue it further. So when I took a maternity break, I started working on my passion again. I started writing short, unconnected posts to share with friends about my journey of motherhood, and the hilarity and revelations associated with it. Slowly it started to become a book and I sent it out to publishers. The rest, as they say is history.
4. Tell us more about the book and how has been the response to the book so far?
The book is a real, honest, heart warming and yet a rib tickling account of my trials, tribulations and goof ups as a mom. The baby turned my life upside down in more ways than one and the book captures all nuances around that. It is not a parenting guide book, so you wouldn't find any wisdom there. What you will hopefully find there is a story that you will associate with and nod your head in agreement with, laughing your heart off, perhaps shedding a tear or two as well - but all the time feeling you are not alone as a parent! I am extremely grateful for the response the book has received. It was launched by the Mayor of Chandigarh, was covered by every major newspaper and a lot of magazines and blogs in India, and I was also on TV to talk about it. The love from readers has been overwhelming and encouraging. Even though the primary market has been India, I have had people from Ireland, Czech Republic, UK, US etc read the book and fall in love with it. The book will be officially launched in Amsterdam in September too at the biggest book store here. I am in talks with publishers in a couple of countries to translate the book in different languages and reach out to a wider, global audience.
5. How do you do it all ? Your work, parenting, writing?
I never claim that I do it all well! I was terribly late in responding to this interview also as you can see :) I think things just find a way to slot in. Parenting is so beautifully consuming that after a while it isn't something you do, it is something that IS you. Writing is where I get my energy from - so it is therapeutic for me and I have to take time for it to retain my sanity. I don't carry work home or work on weekends, so that helps a bit too. I have an extremely supportive husband and I am not a perfectionist. I get along with what is the need of the hour - that need can be professional or personal - and try to forget the rest, letting things happen through me.
6. Who is your role model in life?
No role model, at least not yet. I am still on a journey of discovering and realizing my own self and the meaning of my existence first.
7. Your top 5 items in your bucket list?
The journey I talk about in the previous question. Now that leaves with 4 more items, may be I will think along the way on this journey!
8. What does women empowerment mean to you? How is financial independence important for women?
Women empowerment in the true sense would mean not having any need for feminism, and starting to respect and accept everyone at the individual level. We need to look beyond all those labels, not just of gender but even ethnicity, sexuality, caste, religion, skin colour, financial status and whichever other factions we divide ourselves into. Animals do a better job of accepting everyone sans labels than we humans do! But of course the reality is way too distorted from how things were actually meant to be, hence the need for movements - women empowerment in this case. Independence at all levels is extremely important for everyone to flourish and realize their potential - more so for women in India since they don't get it as much as they should. And financial independence is an important part of that, but not the only thing.
9. What is the next book you are working on?
I have a half written book that I mentioned, and a couple of other ideas. But only when the drive to write completely engulfs me to the extent that I can't not answer it, will I work completely on my next project. It will probably be fiction this time.
10. What makes you happy ?
Anything really, if it has to - a long lost song I hear on the radio, two lines of deep poetry, a book that moves me, singing, dancing, writing, being on the stage, a conversation with a friend, a hug from my child, surprise flowers from my husband, a productive day at work, a dip in the swimming pool, a call from my family. It is funny that when you are a child you are happy by default and need a reason to be unhappy. When we grow up it is the opposite - and we look for things to make us happy! Growing up wasn't a great thing then after all :)
11. What, according to you, is our goal in life?
To realize what we are in this life for. To find our essential nature. To not be a carbon copy of anyone else. To control the monkey mind and live a life full of awareness, enjoyment and gratitude of each moment!