All my life, one thing that has never failed to give me true happiness is interacting with different people.
Born and raised in Mumbai, I was someone you would always find amidst a crowd. Seeing my mom sew cute dresses for my dolls resulted in me having a strong inclination towards fashion since early childhood. After graduation came the exigent task of taking up jobs in fashion that, in my opinion, were pretty amazing. But they all felt too restraining; once my day came to an end, I was too tired to do anything else. I decided to try my hand at freelancing, but then my days lacked the sense of routine I yearned for. This led me to take up a course called ECCED (Early Childhood Care and Education) just for the sake of trying something new. It was so enjoyable that I finally had something to look forward to each day.
After working in the fashion industry for years, making a career switch was not a walk in the park. I became a pre-primary teacher with a minimal salary. Most people fail to realize that an educator can have the most profound impact on a child’s young and impressionable mind. Even though they act like a preschooler’s second parent by showering them with love and teaching them concepts that shape their perception of the world, kindergarten teachers across the country simply aren’t paid enough. Working with 4-year-olds for about ten years made me realize how they look up to you as their role model. Everything their teacher says becomes the sole truth, which is why it is important to think twice before putting forth an opinion in their presence. And to me, educating children is all about imparting values rather than just giving them textual knowledge. For that reason, I love upgrading my skills every two years with various courses.
The next phase of my life started in March 2019. I had been in my comfort zone, had a secure job, a steady income, and fixed working hours. But it all started to feel a bit monotonous. I realized that I wasn’t evolving as a person. Taking a leap of faith, I chose to leave my current job and started an all-woman organization, Happy People and Co., with my friend. We progressed from a basic summer camp for kids to a venture that undertook corporate workshops, and now to a company that sells its own DIY art kits for kids. From events to conceptual art classes, grammar classes, and art workshops—you name it, we do it.
We at Happy People and Co. believe that all art is unique and beautiful; there is no artist expression that is “wrong.” As we don’t teach kids how to color inside the circle, a lot of people have a hard time understanding our teaching method. Our company, as the name suggests, isn’t about profits, but about making people happy.
I love what we do because interacting with young minds, free from social impressions, helps you learn something new every day. These children have the ability to look at everything from a unique angle and there is a need to harness that ability.
Unlike most people, I don’t read. I can’t sit in one place and read huge books. Therefore, I talk. I talk to strangers or loved ones, I find out their stories, understand their varying perceptions, and expand my horizons through them.
My main aim is to spread happiness through my work. I wish someone had told my younger self that it is okay to be lost—just have to take a break, rethink whatever it is that bothers you, and follow your heart because when you do that, happiness is guaranteed.