When you start a journey, it is not always going to be a merry trip. There are going to be so many obstacles, which you will have to overcome to reach your destination but, in the end, it’ll be worth it.
Sejjal Purohit, a working mother, did not let the societal norms and stereotypes stop her from establishing her own venture and become an idol for all the women out there, who are struggling to find their true identity.
Sejjal, in her latest interview with Storiyaan, talks about her struggles after moving to the UK and how she overcame them. She goes on to tell us how much effort she has put in her venture, Seven Spring, and her love for her family and everything she has done for herself and the people around her.
Questions and answers
You have an MBA with dual specialization in human resources and business management. What gravitated you towards these lines of study in the first place?
I belong to a family that has practiced business so I was very interested in politics, PR and business-related fields. I got a lot of exposure and was very much influenced by it and that was the main reason why I decided to pursue these courses.
Your competence is incredibly diverse. What are the basic pre-requisites you look for in the companies you choose to work with?
I started when I was 20 years old and my goal was very simple I was keen to build my profile. So, at first, I was into brands, and MNCs. I bagged my first job at Morgan Stanley, second at Breakthough then at National Austrian Bank and then at Monarch Networth Capital Limited where I was the National HR Head. I’ve always wanted to look after my personal expenses but as I looked at various profiles and got exposure, I wanted to work not only to modify my profile but also for a good designation and more exposure and that were the pre-requisites I looked for.
How far was Seven Spring successful in bringing together your passion and your qualification?
I would say that this was my dream come true moment. I’ve worked with so many organizations like Morgan Stanley and other MNC after which I joined my family’s business. However, I’ve always had a dream to start my own venture. I’ve learned that to start a business, one has to be very thorough about marketing promotions and finance strategies, and also the passion for their respective businesses. I put together all my experience and knowledge and started with my Seven Spring venture.
Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say “Holistic Living is Healthy Living”?
There was a time when I was an asthma patient and I would be on steroids, so I had to face the gradual side-effects. But one day, a friend made me realize that a lot of people who were connected to me were also affected by my problems, be it, my parents, my family, my husband. So, I decided to transform my body by joining yoga and switch to fat-free food. Over a period of time, I got marvellous results, which motivated me to push myself even more and I fell in love with the whole process.
Can you take us through the journey of your time in the UK?
My experience in the UK was one of the most beautiful and memorable ones. When you go to a foreign land all on your own at the age of nineteen, it can get really difficult at times but it also helps you to grow. It’s very difficult as well as empowering. I knew that I had to know in detail about everything and explore, to break out of my shell. I understood that I had to learn the value of discipline and I had to work hard with dedication and passion. So, altogether it was a life-altering experience for me.
What are some of the drastic changes you had to adapt to when you when to the UK?
I had to adapt to a lot of changes. The culture of the UK is very different from that of India. In India, I had my family to rely on, but I was completely alone in the UK. I had to learn to be independent and not become a liability on anyone, and most importantly adapt to their culture, be it in terms of fashion, social etiquette, and interacting with strangers.
In your opinion, what is the one aspect of the Indian education system you think needs to change?
The main problem according to me is that it is solely based in urban areas, and rural and marginalized areas are deprived of this basic need. Schools in urban areas have a lot of facilities in academics, co-curricular activities, sports, and many areas where students can excel but in rural areas, there are hardly any schools and remote villages are very much devoid of this facility. Another drawback is the judgment on the basis of marks, and how students are compelled to learn to score well rather than actually gain any knowledge. Education is beyond materialism, so it should be provided to everyone and should be knowledge oriented.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in your life that in hindsight have proven to be learning experiences?
There were a lot of problems, but most challenging of all was when I moved to the UK and had to get used to my new life. I was homesick and these tough experiences have helped me learn a lot. Whatever I am today, the UK has a great share in it. When I decided to leave my job, I was on the top hierarchy, and I had a fixed stand in my professional career but then I decided to work in my family business and from there I decided to I started my own venture and it was really challenging for me at first. But I have learned that when you start a new journey, it is always going to be challenging but if we continue to move forward, it’ll be worth it in the end.
In our society, women are often made to feel guilty for working after marriage and especially after becoming a mother; what is your opinion on the same?
Women are so powerful and they should do whatever they wish to. I have successfully managed my professional and personal life, my social life, and justified each role and I feel it’s completely depends on the individual and the family and we are no one to judge anyone’s choices in life. If we look at the positive side women have been breaking the glass ceilings whether its Indra Nooyi , Kamala Harris or Kareena Kapoor. I believe that a woman who works at the corporate also empowers and a woman who is a housewife also empowers!
You are a health and fitness enthusiast who relies on the power of nature. What is your view on the artificial methods of fitness adopted, even by professionals, such as steroids and surgeries?
I completely rely on traditional yogic methods and grounded physical fitness traits. I don’t opt for artificial methods because they can have many adverse effects on one’s health and fitness. The historical tradition of physical fitness and organic herbs help in rejuvenating the system of one’s body and detoxifies it. Instead of taking protein alternatives and carbs, I opt for primitive methods as they can have a positive effect on one’s body.
What would be your message to people who believe women should not work after a certain age?
I feel that there are no age criteria for women who want to work and it all depends on the individual’s mindset. According to me, one should be free and independent to make decisions regarding their career. Age has nothing to do with how one should take their own call regarding their career and what they want to do in their lives. Mark Zuckerberg reached the zenith of success at a young age and Colonel Harland Sanders, the Founder of KFC became successful at the age of 65.
It all depends on how passionate you are towards your dreams and I remember these lines from the Alchemist which says,” When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve you.”
Can you give the audience one small suggestion in which one can work towards women empowerment on a daily basis?
I got tremendous support from my family. My mother always used to tell me that every woman should be independent and live to the best of her potential. I feel that every woman is a superhero in her own way and she should set an example for others. Everything you do from your heart to lift other women and yourself is a part of women’s empowerment. We can make a difference in someone’s life by empowering them. This is my mantra.
1. Favourite flavour of tea: Rose
2. Your hobby: I’m a bibliophile. I love to read books
3. Favourite holiday destination: Italy
4. If not working, you would be: Be a full-time mother and a homemaker
5. One thing you wish you could do more often: Going on more holidays and gazing the stars for long on a weekend