Women Enpowerment: Sagarika Chakraborty

Sagarika Chakraborty is a corporate lawyer from National Law University (Jodhpur) who after a stint into the corporate world decided to broaden her horizons and thus landed up at the Indian School of Business (Hyderabad). She is now pursuing her latest passion of business development and strategy implementation in the corporate world.
Apart from the ‘corporate world’ tag Sagarika have been into research and policy writing for about 8 years now and have presented her ideas on gender studies and models governing transition economies on various forums and international journals including UNESCO and World Bank.

She is author of famous book “A Calendar Too Crowded” 
Buy “A Calendar Too Crowded”

Let us find out more about Sagarika.

1. NS: What made you choose Law? 

Sagarika: They say you can rummage through your genes to actually discover the way you are. My maternal grandfather was a lawyer, but he chose academia and never pursued it and ironically I never met him.
However, I think the dormant genes passed on through my mother to the active me. Thus right since childhood I was the “Jhansi ki Rani” or so my mother calls me till date, and an active speaker of rights. Also coming from a family where there were too many engineers to handle I decided to carve out a new path – law it was, for my passion for logic, reasoning and yes the gift of gab!

2. NS: Who is behind your success?

Sagarika: Needless to say family has always been my backbone. Everyone has had a role to play– and having grown up in a joint family setting there have been numerous roles. Amongst these my mother gifted me the love of writing – when she inspired me to pen a story at the age of 4, when I couldn’t even write. My grandmother inspired me to think like her – to grow up the ladder but be connected to the issues around us. My man on the other hand, held my fingers whenever I faltered and felt that there was no one to understand me. He made me see the silver lining during a lot many grey periods.

3. NS: What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?

Sagarika: There are no best friends in life till you fall in love with the person in the mirror. Self acceptance is the biggest thing and when you love the skin you are in, or the mind that ticks away inside your brain, world is a better place to live in for you. There is no scope for pretenses, cravings to be someone else and critiques about your personality doesn’t hurt you. Then at the end of the day you like the person you are and can go to sleep with a smile on your face.

4. NS: Your debut novel, “A Calendar Too Crowded”, revolves around the subject of women. What made you focus on women issues?

Sagarika: I am a woman and a proud one – do I need a better reason? *broad grin*
I have always been interested in gender studies. As a kid the words “girls don’t do that” never worked with me and as an adult “that is the way girls should behave” was smirked aside. During my various researches for my policy writing I met women from all spheres of life – from the unorganized labor class to the page 3 party animals. Each one however had a story to share when it came to the question of woman hood. These were real stories that they said – stories which we hear almost every day in news channels or read in newspapers but forget. Thus, I decided to tell them with a flavor of fiction so that they linger on and on, much after the newspaper that carried it was made into a boat for a monsoon puddle by a kid.

5. NS: Which is your favorite story in “A calendar Too Crowded” and why?

Sagarika: Each of the stories is special to me, for there’s a real life incident behind each of them. However, considering the times we live in and coming from Kolkata where rape cases and their dealings are making quite a stir these days I pick the story titled “Naked”. It is filed under the month of June (day against eve teasing and sexual harassment) where the society dissects a rape victim – her character, her clothes, her lifestyle everything is discussed, but nobody is bothered to know who she is and what her real story was.

6. NS: What are your future plans?

Sagarika: Writing, writing and more writing – I am an active blogger and blog regularly at www.endowedwithmetis.com. Apart from that, I am already on my second book, the third anthology of short stories already in print and researching for my fourth publication. However, writing for me is not a full time job. I am more of a story teller by observation thus I need to be active in the corporate and social world through my job and research writing in order to have story pecks which I can spin stories about.

7. NS: What advice would you give to Women who have the passion for writing? How do they groom themselves to be successful author?

Sagarika: For me two things worked – believing in the person in the mirror and before setting out to look for publishers promising myself not to be bogged down by rejections or bad critiques.
We all love what we write, but it’s important as an author that your target audience loves it too. Remember the entire world cannot be your target audience – thus it is very important to realize who belongs to that group and take feedback. Each feedback should strengthen you as an author – for the good ones keep your fingers crossed and for the bad ones smile and thank and then think about the pointers told to you.

However, mostly believe that you can do it and leave no stone unturned. It is better to attempt everything and fail than to have an old age when you sit and wish you had attempted things in a different way and maybe succeeded.

8. NS: You have been playing challenging roles like an author, lawyer, speaker, blogger, etc. How do you manage to be successful at all of this?

Sagarika: My BFF says that I have 48 hours in my day! I am a workaholic and recluse by choice. You meet me and you’ll say that I am an extrovert with nothing to hide – whereas in reality people barely know what is happening in my life and I barely socialize. I am a meticulous planner and everything that I do – be it writing, cooking, speaker at a conference or working on excel in office I do it with a passion, thus I never feel that I am over worked.

Sagarika’s favorites

Cuisine: Chinese
Color: Pink and Purple (I was nicknamed Pinky in college – and proudly stick to the tag till date)
Movie: Serendipity
Book: An Equal Music (give me anything by Vikram Seth and I’ll forget the world)
Places to visit: Till date it has been Scotland. However my bucket list has Chena Hot Springs – Alaska with aurora borealis looking down over us!

—————Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, narisakhi.com

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