She Believed, She Could and She DID! Meet Our Winning Stree Surbhi Rastogi who has the Roar of a Lioness

She Believed, She Could and She DID! Meet Our Winning Stree Surbhi Rastogi who has the Roar of a Lioness

Surbhi Rastogi, mom of two adorable girls, budding writer, moonlight blogger, HR professional and quintessential dreamer (not necessarily in that order!) is constantly introspecting on how to make the journey of life a memorable experience for her children.

She started her journey as a writer by penning down stories for her children around simple messages which she wanted to convey to them, as she found storytelling to be much more impactful medium than well…lectures! Hence her first story ‘The Little Girl Who Healed Herself’ came into being, and was very well received. Now she tells stories for a living.

Subsequently, her second story ‘My Step Daughter’s First Period’ became viral with over 710K views (and counting!) on Momspresso, and there has been no looking back since. Having previously worked in various organisations across the globe like Deloitte Consulting, Coca Cola India Inc., GE Capital Europe and Infosys, she is currently on a break to be with her kids, and writes mainly women’s and children’s fiction and non-fiction pieces, feminist opinion-based writes being her favourite genre currently.

She has won various awards like Orange Flower Award 2018 from Women’s Web, was among the Burgundy Achievers 2018-Digital Women Awards from SheThePeople TV, Top Blogger of the Month Award from Momspresso for two consecutive months, Super Blogger Award by Kalamopedia, and multiple awards for her 100-word stories.

We get into a tete-a-tete with her about her dreams and the obstacles she overcame to become a winning stree.

  1. Tell us about your journey.

I am a simple girl from the b-class town of Baroda. I was raised in a middle-class household with normal middle-class values of hard work, commitment and honesty. My parents are simple people who could never understand the manipulative ways of the world (and still don’t!) and hence, not successful in the worldly ways of having truckloads of money, power or position. But they sleep peacefully at night. And that’s what they taught me. To be brutally honest, to never fear, to love all beings with whole heart, and that shapes the woman I am today. 

I am able to write what I write, and be what I am because I know my parents and my brother are always there to support me.

I did my schooling and graduation from Baroda after which I went on to complete my management degree from Goa Institute of Management, Goa. This is also where I met my husband who was my senior there.

Post MBA, I joined Infosys Technologies as an HR Consultant through which we (my husband and I) moved to London on a project. Somehow, IT never interested me and I always wanted to move towards the HR side of things, and joined GE Capital Europe as their European Compensation Analyst, a role which comprised of rewards analysis for over 12 countries across Europe. 

I then worked as Rewards Lead with Coca Cola India Inc. and this move was stressful as my elder daughter kept falling sick as we moved across continents and my husband’s health wasn’t keeping well due to back injury he had during movement of one of the houses back in UK.

After having my second daughter, I joined Deloitte Consulting where I had to work for crazy hours, travelling and networking. But because of the crazy hours I put in at the organisation my kids suffered. I tried working from home, but that wasn’t possible.

So I had to quit and after a roller coaster journey where I went through depression I penned down my first children’s story, ‘The Little Girl Who Healed Herself’. This is a simple story of a little girl who allows nature to heal her… a much needed message I feel in today’s day and age where we keep running behind doctors and medicines and external factors to heal when all we need to do is go internal and get in touch with our inner self. Every physical manifestation of disease is due to disturbance in your psychic, mental or emotional body. Our physical body is just 12% of what we are. Hence we all need to be healed holistically. 

And that’s how I started out as a writer.

2. Difficulties you faced, as a woman, when fulfilling your dreams/aspirations and how did you overcome them

When I was working in UK, my work was extremely stressful with a toxic boss. I was in a completely different setting with racist colleagues. I couldn’t quit my job because we had gone there to save money.

Due to such stress, it took toll on my health and my PCOD flared up and I did not have menstrual cycles for eight months. I had visited gynaecologists to understand my situation. One of our family friend who is also a senior doctor advised me to do Ramdev’s pranayam for three months and will then decide further.

After practicing pranayamas as advised, I conceived the very next month.  I had my daughter after which I had started working again. I was struggling to find my feet in my new job which I loved but the family commitments made me feel guilty constantly that I was not doing justice to any. And my husband’s back was worsening so he couldn’t immediately find the right job for the position he was looking for.

It tore my heart that I had to leave my daughter every morning when she was sleeping because I couldn’t watch her cry when I had to leave for work. She would literally be waiting for me at the door every evening. Finally, to take care of my family, I put in my papers again but this time I was happy to be with my child.

When my daughter started going to school, I started job hunting again. But I started failing interviews and that too being an MBA topper broke my confidence. After that I had a chance pregnancy. I wasn’t ready for a second child but then the Universe wouldn’t have given me a better gift. I gave birth to a baby girl and my daughters are my love and strength; they are the reason what I am today.  

I had a severe lower back ligament strain which I got during my second pregnancy ( I couldn’t even sit… imagine after a normal delivery) and postpartum depression ( most women go through this are aware or unaware of this issue). And no one is there to understand and support because you are always supposed to be this happy mommy cherishing the baby after giving birth right?

I tried to balance and was juggling between work, home and kids. My mother had also come down to help me out for the same. But she couldn’t bear seeing me working this way. As a result her health suffered.

That was the time I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. I had been utmost sincere to my job, my family, my society. Why weren’t things working out for me? Sometimes we don’t understand. It was part of a journey. That was the lowest point of my life.

3. Societal Pressure on women expecting them to behave in one particular manner tends them to leave their careers midway sometimes. Your message to such women who aspire to grow higher but fear of losing things they value!

Absolutely! The societal pressure to be a good daughter, good sister, good wife, good mother, the societal idea of good woman is constant.  Who decides this? 

But we women make it worse for ourselves. We keep dying in guilt due to these societal pressures on us. And that kills most of us. Not being able to give up fear and do what we really want to do. 

Give up fear. Karma is what we create with our thoughts. If you think if it right, if it feels right for you, it is right. Do it then. If not, let it go. Move on.  If things are meant to be, they will happen. Put the right intention in the Universe, the right people, right situations, right opportunities will come to you. Amen.

4. Is it difficult for women to articulate or voice out their will both professionally or personally? How important is it for females to voice out their opinions?

Always. We are always asked to shut up right? Be quiet. Speak softly. Don’t be loud. There was a time last year that I had completely stopped speaking. Can you imagine that? That too an extrovert like me! I thought my voice didn’t matter. It is important to speak out and not keep it all inside. You can’t keep killing yourself inside. All kinds of cancers are manifestations of stuck emotions. We need to let them out. That is why angry feminists shout. We have been holding it inside for far too long. And look, now I ROAR!!!! 

5. What is feminism according to you?

To be treated equally. Not less, not more. Be equal.  

6. Your Favorite quote that you believe in which speaks highly about Feminism

She Believed She Could. So She Did.  

7. Your Winning Stree Moment

Winning Orange Flower Award for Creative Writing in 2018 in Mumbai. Sometimes external validation is more important than we believe it to be. It reminds us who we are. For the first time I realised there were people who were reading me beyond my family and friends, they were happy I won! I was almost not going to make it to the awards ceremony. I had missed the SheThePeople that was a week before because I could not afford the tickets.   

8. Your Thoughts about International Women’s Day and any message you would wish to convey to our Fellow Strees…

Many people have been asking me this, and hence I need to tell, we don’t need a day to celebrate ourselves, but as women we tend to nurture ourselves last.

So a day especially dedicated to us, just a reminder to pamper ourselves one day a year… much needed!!! And to start conversations around topics related to women which need talking about. As SheThePeople TV tagline reads as Engage, Empower, Elevate. 

9. Where can you be reached?

You can read more of my work on my website https://surbhirastogi.com/ . Also, my latest articles are on https://www.shethepeople.tv.

You can also connect with her on her social media handles:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surbhi.rastogi

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/surbhi_rastogi_narwal/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SurbhiRastogi17   

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