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The many shades of a woman

Celebrate International Women’s Day with a peek into the lives of women from the region who talk about striking work-life balance, breaking through stereotypes and living in an age of virtual support. By Swati Rai
Hindustan Times | By Swati Rai
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2014 11:51 AM IST

Celebrate International Women’s Day with a peek into the lives of women from the region who talk about striking work-life balance, breaking through stereotypes and living in an age of virtual support. By Swati Rai


Shallu Jindal

Shallu Jindal is a Delhi- based Kuchipudi dancer, philanthropist and an author who recently bagged the Art Karat Award for excellence in classical dance. She is married to Naveen Jindal, a leading steel baron as well as Member of Parliament.

The chairperson of the National Bal Bhavan, Shallu recently released her latest book, India — An Alphabet Ride, which is already getting her accolades. Mother of two, Shallu juggles her wide her time skilfully to pursue ranging passions.

Interestingly, Shallu had given up dance post marriage due to family commitments. However, some 13 years ago, she met her gurus Padma Bhushan Raja Radha and Kaushalya Reddy at Tirupati and decided to learn the dance form again. Ever since, there has been no looking back for her. People say that I must had it easy, but when it comes to dance, people don’t come to see me for my money or fame but for how well I dance. I feel that whatever time on earth we have, it should be meaningful. I continue to do the things that can impact me and others positively, such as dance.


Priyanka Gill

Delhi-based Priyanka Gill is the co-founder and editor-inchief of , an online fashion and lifestyle website. It is South Asia’s first digital fashion and lifestyle platform that documents personal style, pop culture and offers unparalleled access to the rules of good life for global citizens.

The site was founded in London and is currently anchored in five city centres: New York, London, Singapore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

An early riser, Priyanka says she strives to innovate as she works across five time zones. “Skype is literally our office!” exclaims she, adding that she believes in the mantra that learning never stops.

Saying she is fortunate to have a supportive husband and help at home, Priyanka manages her time by getting work done before her family wakes up!


Alka Lamba

‘Daughter of the great Indian soil’ reads Alka Lamba’s Facebook page, which is now over 50,000 likes heavy. A student leader since her athlete, Delhi college days and an avid based Alka has always been conscience of her responsibility towards the society as a citizen of India.

She is the founder chairperson of an NGO called Go Indian Foundation(GIF), which aims to usher in a nation free from hunger, corruption and other social evils.

Also active on the social media, Alka says she uses the medium to inform the people. However, she remembers to add, “We do have to draw a line as to what is private and what is fit for public consumption.”


Sara Abdullah Pilot

Sara Abdullah Pilot is by no means a newbie as a social service contributor; having started out with an international organisation based out of India before taking the plunge and forming her own organization — CEQUIN.

Being the chairperson of the Delhi-based Centre for Equity and Inclusion (CEQUIN), which Sara founded along with Lora Prabhu in 2009 and which aims to work towards the empowerment of the marginalised, keeps Sara on her toes.

Talking about the importance of financial independence of women, Sara, a media-shy worker, says, "Being financially independent helps a woman have an identity of her own. It makes her voice heard when she says that the money that she earns will not be spent on alcohol for her husband but for those three extra eggs for her children."

The daughter of former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and wife of MP Sachin Pilot, Sara gets truly animated while speaking of the genesis of her organisation.

"Many people ask me why I didn’t work in Kashmir. That’s because it is far more practical and useful for me to be where I can oversee things at close quarters as I have my family here in Delhi," says the trained yoga instructor and practitioner.

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