I am Pooja Parashar. I grew up in the outskirts of Ranchi and went to Jawahar Vidya Mandir (now famous as Dhoni’s Alma Mater). Born in a family where education was given prime importance, above and beyond everything else has moulded me into what I am today. I graduated from KIIT University as a Computer Science Engineer in 2014 post which I worked with Delloite Consulting, Hyderabad for close to 2 years before deciding to join a B-school. I am currently a HR manager in making at XIMB-XUB.
What was high school like for you? How did it contribute to your personality/ the person you are right now?
High School for me was full of experiences of growing up and new freedom. Staying with the same set of friends since 12 long years, it was where I was meeting new people all of whom were helping to know myself better one step at a time. I started getting confidence in my femininity. School made me know my unique personality better and helped me realize that I am best at carrying that, rather than following the latest trends.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I would workout, mediate peacefully, make myself a good breakfast and sit with a book to my heart’s content without worrying about career building. I would cook, spend time with my parents and pamper myself with a body spa. I would spend the evening at a dance workshop with a bunch of friends and would sleep watching series or reading blogs.
However, in absence of money as a driving force, in a week’s time I would start looking for something new to motivate and challenge me every day to get out of my comfort zone and grow.
What advice would you give to a 5-year-younger you?
Learn something new every day. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should or can’t do something, because you are a woman. Break stereotypes as in today’s day and age and don’t be the “Sita”. Unnecessary suffering is no longer seen as noble; indeed, it is doomed downright impractical and foolish. There are several better and more fun parts you can chose to play as you grow up: the tech savvy girlfriend, the biker wife, the trendy mom, the sultry aunty, the chic diva, the gracious boss, the suave HOD. Check out the options, pick one that suits you and quit the suffering. The confidence, style and experience emanating out of each pore of a lady is immensely attractive to young men. ;)
How do you think women are better equipped to deal with problems as compared to men?
Women mature early as compared to men. Their emotional quotient is high which they can very well use as their strength to deal with problems and grow. Moreover, in many situations, women make use of their unique inherent skill of multitasking to the fullest capacity to move ahead in the race.
Many IIMs and other b-schools award extra points for being a woman. What is your take on that? Do you propagate the concept OR Have you faced any backlash for the same?
I don’t support that because I don’t think a women quota is really needed to help women in today’s society. In an age of education, your mind is your biggest asset and I see both men and women equally equipped. A lot of women waste a lot of time bemoaning the unfairness of life, as if it has dealt a particularly bad hand only to us. The fact is that life is pretty democratic in its unfairness. Men in our society are also required to behave in a particular way. For example, a man can’t get up one day and say I am quitting my job and staying home from today – a woman can (hard reality). Hence, let’s accept this reality and move on using your strengths. We really don’t need extra points for being a woman in the b-schools. There is a need for bringing innovation and revising these reservations to actually benefit the society where it is most needed.
Name one incident that you encountered where someone told you, you could not do something because you are a woman.
I have been told that at my own home a lot of times. A very recent example being – “You can’t have inferiority complex with reference to your husband as you are a woman.” This means, my would-be-husband should be having such a background that he always has an upper hand over me. This is my parent’s way of ruling out any sort of complex that my partner might develop in future. But I, on the other hand, am not allowed to have an iota of inferiority complex at any point because I am a woman.
This statement was made by my own family and has got me thinking – Why so? Whether I feel so or not is a different thing, but that after excelling at every aspect of education for 12 years my right to feel proud of it is taken away here by the norms of the society. This is disturbing.
If you are out on a date, do you prefer to pay yourself? If you insisted that you want to pay for yourself, how did the other person react?
It depends on the type of date it is. If it is a formal date where I have been invited, I would not insist on paying (even though I would carry my wallet to show that I am ready to pay at any point). I would not pay for one sole reason – My man wants to do that for me. And sometimes you should be a graceful receiver. But then I would pay if I have asked him out for a date.
If it is a casual weekend lunch – I would always split. If I am meeting someone new for the first time, either I would pay or share the expenses. I explain my point of view – which is how I feel bad because such behaviour creates stereotypes and categorises women to be difficult to manage financially - and it has usually been accepted by the other person. A lady in such situation need not sound feminist talking about equality, but practical.