Very few times in life we come across people who have a lasting impact on us. They have stories that have defined them and inspired others. Anuja Bhattacharjee is one such story. When there were students, who had completely immersed themselves in their CAT-2015 preparation and were worrying about their low mock CAT scores and checking Gautam Puri’s videos on how to score a 99 percentile in 20 days, this girl was doing all that and preparing for her marriage! It is said that “Marriage changes you, it makes you a better person”. Well, I do not know about that, I just know that this 22-year old married girl is not just a good person at heart but also a very hardworking one.
She belongs to a typical upper middle-class Bengali family and had been a pampered, single child. She was given everything that she asked for. She went to the best possible school and her parents made sure that her childhood was as smooth as possible. But this protective environment created a rebel in her, who made her break away from the shackles and pursue her engineering in Mechanical, something that is not a preferred choice of girls because of the nature of the jobs in the core industry. Even in her class, there were only 6 girls to 72 boys. Fighting the odds, she was one of the toppers in the department and scored what can only be called as a whopping 87% in her Bachelors. And all this amidst suggestions like you are a girl why do you want to study mechanical and mechanical engineering is not for you, you should study other easier fields.
Post her B.Tech. she thought she had faced her biggest challenge but it was yet to come. She wanted to pursue higher studies and get married as she had found the love of her life. Managing all that simultaneously is a no small feat in itself. She scored a 96 percentile in XAT while in between her marriage preparations. Even after coming to IMT Ghaziabad she has to manage both her household (in Delhi) and her college activities. I do not know how she is faring in her household activities but knowing the type of person she is I am sure she would be excelling there as well. At IMT she is not only one of the very few consistent performers of her class academically but also involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities as well. She is the Coordinator and has been selected as the only woman representative of the Ethics and Gender Equality Committee here at IMT Ghaziabad. Not only this she has also worked with NGOs like Lakshyam, Asha Niketan and Project KHEL.
High school was pretty good for me as I went to Loreto Day, quite a renowned convent in Kolkata. But I did not have many friends as I was shy and sensitive. Certain groups in school also ridiculed me for this behaviour but I took this up as a challenge and changed myself to being out-spoken and also excelled in studies at the same time. This taught me to mould myself according to surrounding and school excursions have helped me come out of my cocoon called home and face the outer world. My father has been a great support in this respect.
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
If money was no object, I would love to travel across the world and cook exotic dishes. These are my passions which were inculcated in me by my parents. My father made it a point to take our family out for a vacation every year and this embedded in me a traveller spirit. My love for cooking can be dedicated to my mother who is a fabulous cook. Travelling helps me refresh my mind and cooking makes me creative. My husband is also a huge fan of dishes cooked by me.
What advice would you give to a 5-year-younger you?
I would advise a “5-year-younger” me to be more emotionally strong and believe in oneself. This because things will never go your way but it is how you keep yourself together which will help you excel in all situations no matter what happens. Be confident that you have the power to do what life expects out of you.
How do you think women are better equipped to deal with problems as compared to men?
I not only think but I am confident that women are better equipped as I can see it in front of my eyes. On one side there is my husband who finds it difficult to remember the names of vegetables and pulses and oh the other hand there is me who has to make sure of what is being cooked at home even while giving an exam. And if the determination is there, women actually do not find it difficult to manage both.
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?
Yes, I am aware that many b-schools award extra points for being a girl but I am not in support of that. I feel women are as good as men, if not better and they should be treated equally. A boy may have faced hardships because of being economically backwards and a girl may have gotten into a good college with an SC/ST quota. So I feel extra points should be given for a weak background and not for gender.
Name one incident that you encountered where someone told you, you couldn’t do something because you’re a woman.
Giving my CAT and XAT exam amid marriage preparations was a big task for me. Many time I was told to “take it easy” and “now you are getting married so no need of taking tension for MBA-nahi hoga toh koi baat nahi”. This infuriated my spirit even further and I think these comments acted as a good fuel for my performance. I was getting married for having a life-partner, not for getting a chance to run away from my career. But a special mention here for my husband who has been a genuine inspiration and support throughout, and till now.
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?
If out on a date, I would definitely prefer to pay myself but I would also respect the other person’s opinion. Since mutual respect would lead to a long-lasting relationship and would also ensure more such dates to come along where we would have a fair chance to pay.
About the Author:
Archit Kacker is a student of Marketing, of the two-year full-time AICTE approved and AACSB accredited residential PGDM programme at Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad. He is the coordinator of the Public Relations, Information and Social Media (IMTeam PRISM) committee at IMT Ghaziabad. His areas of interest include mythology, politics, social causes, sports, current affairs and general issues etc. He is an avid follower of the question-and-answer site Quora. He has over 5,00,600 views on his answers.