Anju Maudgal Kadam – #100 Saree Pact & More

Anju Maudgal Kadam – Producer-video content | Optimist | Yogini | Pinkathon Ambassador | Sheroes Mentor | #100 Saree Pact | TED Speaker

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Her twitter profile itself is so powerful that I cannot quite imagine the power that lies within. She is no Bossgirl…She is The BOSS 🙂 and I am grateful that Anju Maudgal Kadam agreed to do this interview.  Her Bindis do the trick for me… They almost define her. Bold, Assertive, a dash of colour, Optimism, Culturally Rooted. I have been following her story ever since I came to know about the #100 Saree Pact. Having grown up in a business household of Sarees myself, the pact was naturally a soothing call to my ears. But the more I read about Anju, the more I was filled with awe. The final thing for me was her TED speech at TED TALKS India and it was probably one of the most empowering speeches I have heard. You can see the interview here

 

Something that gives us a new vision can never be old fashioned. #TEDTalksIndiaNayiSoch #PowerToWomen

It’s one life for all of us… Follow my Bossgirls… Be Inspired…Live it up!

1. You were the Co-Founder/Director of Unitus India. Do share your experience as an entrepreneur with my readers. 
I am the Founder and Director for WebTv.in, a company that delivers effective messaging through video, writing and social media. After a fulfilling career in television in Mumbai, that lasted more than a decade, I moved to Bengaluru. Years later I started my own company.
In a Utopian world I would continue to do only creative work and leave the administration, marketing, and finance to somebody else. But good work requires great handling, and an entrepreneurship is a full time job.
I think all entrepreneurs will agree that if it weren’t for passion, they wouldn’t be in the business. When everything looks bleak, and it does some days, it’s the passion that pulls you through.
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I enjoy meeting people, I revel in the challenge of getting into people’s head and having them really dig deep for honesty on camera. My interviews are my forte. I work hard on the research and get to know my subject matter well enough to be able to have a conversation about it. Often this sparks richer conversations on camera when people realise you are really interested in what they have to say.
2. Tell us about your journey as a Business Reporter. The early days of television in India, the exposure and the experience must have been immense, right?
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I would say who I have become professionally has been defined by my decade and more in television. I joined as an intern and went on to become Bureau Chief, then Executive Producer of business programming. I learned all I could from my mentors Amit Khanna, T.N. Ninan and Debashis Basu.
Television was new media then. There was no idiom for content for satellite television in India, that had been fed on a good and solid dose of Doordarshan. We had to figure out what to do with an audience that was looking to us to be entertained, informed and held captive.
I did a lot. A lot ! And worked very hard. I covered the stock market and did interviews with corporate heads mainly.
The Bank Scam in the 1990s broke and I was the first to get an interview with Harshad Mehta (with his bodyguards standing facing me with guns), I met JRD Tata at the Bombay House (he was so charming), when I had actually gone to interview Ratan Tata. I was scheduled to be in the well of the BSE when the bomb blast happened, and had a miraculous escape. I’ve shot on the streets of Bombay, I’ve followed our former PM Narasimha Rao to Vishakhpatnam on campaign trail.
And I have met the nicest people in my career. I have learned so much from everyone. About work and about life. As a young woman in media, it was interesting to navigate my career, learn what I liked to do, hone my skills and also have a firm grip on my non negotiables.
3. You take Fitness very seriously in your life. Tell us about your fitness journey from Motherhood to now at 50. Is it more challenging now? How do you keep yourself driven? Do you think it is easy for women to adopt exercising and a fitness regime at any age or stage of their lives?
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Fitness is not be limited to being thin or there is no specific definition to what does fit look like. Everyone has different levels of fitness and we must promote a culture of not looking down on our friends who cannot do as much as others, because they are in different states of fitness. You have to lift people up with you. I would like to be able to do that with my ordinary story.
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I say this often, when people say tell me your story – I haven’t run a marathon. I haven’t run a marathon in every country. I don’t have the perfect body. I am not a poster girl for fitness. I am not. A lot of times people who are athletes or are fitness aficionados wonder why I am speaking on fitness. But that’s my point. Being ordinary and fit, can co-exist, in fact it must.

 

Our situations in life are ever changing. That makes it tad difficult to keep up with a particular routine, especially for women. Shifting to various fitness routines basis your circumstances can probably help you keep at it and not give it up altogether.

 

4. Tell me a bit about your childhood. Your Mum.

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Grew up in Mumbai, then Bombay. 

I was what they called a tom boy then.The youngest in the family. Very active in sports and extra curricular activities. My mother is a major influence in who I have become as a woman. 

5. You and Ally together literally brought the Saree back to the modern women. How did the pact come about in the first place? 

I was doing the 100km Oxfam walk in January of 2015, and had been practicing for a few months for that and I would keep cribbing that I wanted to dress up and wear my sarees. As a journalist I wore sarees often because the saree added gravitas and was my security blanket, and then after the kids were born and I became an entrepreneur I gave in to convenient dressing like most of us urban, professional women. 

Wear, throw in the spin cycle in the machine, dry. 

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So I decided to wear my sarees that year and since I am a story teller, I wanted to tell the stories of each saree I wore. It was as simple as that. I posted my first saree on March 1st. Then the world joined in. Very soon in March itself I realised the responsibility of nurturing the pact was on me…something special was unraveling and I needed to protect it, and ensure that the positivity remained untarnished. 

6.  Does the pact still continue? Are women still continuing their #100sareepact? 

Yes. As more women get to know, they join in. From all over the world. 

7. Were you able to meet any weavers or artisans in the country during the Saree pact? How do you think we all can help in continuing the Saree legacy in our lives coz I know a lot of women still think that the Saree is only an occasional wear and can be worn only for festivals etc.

I met many. And truth be told, they no longer want to weave. It is not profitable, the hardships are real, the challenges of finance are challenging. 

The #100sareepact certainly drove demand up for the saree from all over the country. Businesses are flourishing. But I still wonder how much of it reaches the maker. They have kept our history and tradition alive and are the custodians of our craft, I think they deserve more. Much more. 

8. Anju, all my Boss Girls are Mothers who have resumed work after Motherhood. But you do know that that number is very small. And even smaller is the percentage of women to hold positions as Bosses or rather as Leaders. What do you think stops women from going back to work after Motherhood? How can we change that since that’s a huge workforce and talent pool not being exploited?

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We women are nurturers, it’s in our genes and certainly in our conditioning. If women support women, at home, at work, in life, more will return to the work force. Look at the potential that lies untapped as women withdraw from the work force. It is criminal to let that waste. We MUST tap into it. Most women also educate themselves very, very seriously to be able to compete for that slot at work…we must not let that go to waste. 

I see the tide turn. Corporates, business are becoming aware of this untapped potential…look, women make fabulous employees, and leads and CEOs…they are fabulous at work, business is realising it is worth it to wait for them to return and are now making policies to facilitate this. 

9. You are a fitness personality, a yogini, an influencer championing Women’s fitness as a Pinkathon ambassador, a SHEROES mentor and a co-founder of the 100 Saree Pact. How do you take on so much responsibility and roles with such ease? How do you do the balancing act?

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As I take on more and more, it is easy to see the pattern isn’t it ? Most of my work, causes, associations are for empowering women. My voice is the loudest and most clear when I speak for women. 

When you believe in something strongly, work fits in organically and time expands to hold more. I don’t see it as my burden. 

10. Guide us on how you plan your day. How do you prioritise your tasks? Working from home is not easy. Hence that much more important to stay motivated.

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I don’t work from home. I have an office. Sometimes I fail miserably at the multi tasking, really. Like sending in these answers on time…but I persevere. I dust myself and get up and get back to work. 

I am very focused with work, and extremely organised and efficient also. I am a list maker. I have to do lists all the time:-) 

11. What would you want to be remembered as? 

A strong woman who lived her life honestly and carried her people with her. 

 

12. Tell me one life mantra you live by. Any quote that your own. That defines you and who you are. 

Learner for life

13. What makes you happiest? From within. 

We often describe happiness as a BIG moment, a GRAND gesture. I think of it as the small things that give us joy. That moment when you hold your breath as the sun peeps through the clouds at dawn, your children throw back their head and laugh…exercise makes me truly happy. Sharing a glass of whiskey with my husband, with my feet up on the sofa, on a Friday night, makes me happy. 

My moment of happiness is this ( at work, on camera, with friends, with family)- when in a conversation eyes meet, and you realise that the person “gets you”. Words are all we have to be able to speak our truth…when that truth resonates with another, it is magic. 

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“Us women are conditioned to not make ourselves priority in life. We need to change that.”

 

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