“You can cut all flowers, but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” This quote resonates with the happenings in the life of Mohua Chinappa, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a writer and finally a woman of substance who has travelled through the road not taken and discovered a new self in the process. Poonam Sinha talks to her about her entrepreneurial journey and successes.
Q How did you begin your entrepreneurial journey?
A- I have always been an entrepreneur. I would say I was perhaps born with the aptitude to be an entrepreneur, which was tapped into a wee bit later in life, changing it into an ability. I say this because even when I was handling work as an employee, despite that, I was ALWAYS IN CHARGE! I worked sedulously, as if the business belonged to me and any achievement was a personal success for me; although it did take some time to recognise this fact about myself, deep within me, I knew, entrepreneurship was my calling.
I believe that every negative occurrence has a positive aspect to it, and about 10 years back, when I was bedridden due to certain ailments, I got the time to introspect and that is when I realised that I wanted to write – write about everything that is not given much importance or voice in the main stream media. I started a blog and I started writing about arts, crafts and for me, the satisfaction it brought is inexplicable, there are no words that can come close to describing its depth. However, it was not until last year that I decided to engage my pen in writing for brands as well, since my blogs were appreciated by many, I began doing content on commission, like brand related content work. I am also launching a podcast in August, 2020, in attempting to bring such people into public eye who have adopted ‘different’ paths to create a more meaningful life; a life that is not charted out in accordance with set societal norms and etiquette. It will be very inspiring and interesting to know about people who without the fear of being ostracized by the society have dared to differ, have dared to LIVE!
Q. Tell us something about the challenges faced by you.
A- Inspite of all the gender bias I grew up observing in our society, I always thought, “What’s not to love about being a woman?” However, gradually truth dawned and I understood that the greatest challenge I have to face every day in almost all my endeavours, is that, I am a woman. I don’t think a woman is always taken very seriously and adding to that, if you are a well-dressed one, you are definitely branded brainless! Also, the cliché thought process of our society has drawn an imaginary line of age, as if demarcating the youth and old-age hemispheres in one’s life. The moment you are any older than four decades, you are compelled to retire mentally and are treated like an invalid, with people offering you special privileges. However, I strongly disagree with this; I am more agile, energetic and enthusiastic about my work than many who are perhaps years younger than I am. Another hurdle in my path is that people want good content but at a price which is appallingly abysmal. Negotiating about service charges of writers is extremely objectionable and should be done away with.
Q. Did you get any support from your family in your endeavour?
A – It actually gives me lot of happiness and pride in saying that I have grown career wise without any support. Theoretical societal perspectives of the role of a woman in her family are ideas that have plagued our thought processes from time immemorial. I however, wished to create an identity for myself apart from being the daughter, wife and mother that I am. It is not as if I had to let go of my familial responsibilities in order to carve out a niche for myself as an entrepreneur; it was all about balancing it well. It was a daunting and to a certain extent, lonesome journey, but I did thrive.
Q. How do you feel we can create a more conducive environment for women entrepreneurs?
A – I think women have always strived with a smile and it is time we reaped the fruits of our labour. In saying so, I wish to stress upon women being given equal rights as men in our society. A world full of empowered women isn’t one where men are marginalized. It is a world where everyone thrives and I am very hopeful that one day we are going to witness a world where women will be safe and empowered. I think, we have already initiated work towards the creation of such a world. Again, I believe, that COVID-19 indeed has posed many challenges but on the other hand has created so many opportunities as well, especially for women. Today women are working from home and the quality of work has not suffered at all. In fact, the productivity levels have only increased. Thus, by shattering age old myths about women inefficiency at work place, their inability to work post marriage and raising ‘feminist men’ we are definitely creating a more conducive environment for women entrepreneurs.
Q. Any words of wisdom for our aspiring women bloggers/entrepreneurs?
A – You need to be passionate and honest about whatever you are writing. Content becomes very alluring when honest women present their views without any inhibitions. I agree that hypocrisy still exists in our society but I would advise, best not to resort to it. It is up to you to prove the strength of your pen in trying to eradicate hypocrisy and duality and therein accepting your true self. It is heartening to see some women already speaking out their minds. In joining their league, I perceive us as the torch bearers for our women’s liberation movement, which has set the ball rolling for the creation of a much more adapting and accepting society.