Campaign #ItsNotFair Series-5 Featuring Lopa Saikia By Lucky Malhotra
“To many people childhood memories are always cherished !! We all talk about and impart education on giving a child a happy hood! Most of them are lucky but some go through a disturbed upbringing and so have I.
I have been born to a well educated – affluent family , but this never assured a happy childhood.Not because I was less intelligent, only because I was fat, dark and ugly. But to my good luck I made through.”
Meet the entrepreneur, Lopa Saikia, who is the lucky one to be featured on this series #ItsNotFair Series-5. She is smart,petite and run’s a dog grooming center. This is her story.
How was your childhood?
To many people childhood memories are always cherished !! We all talk about and impart education on giving a child a happy hood! Most of them are lucky but some go through a disturbed upbringing and so have I. I have been born to a well educated – affluent family , but this never assured a happy childhood. I faintly remember, my LKG admission must be at the age of 3 where I was looked down up and my parents and cousins were sure that I will not make it to the best school in town. Not because I was less intelligent, only because I was fat, dark and ugly. But to my good luck I made through. Well, this was just the starting. I grew up more than an average student in academics but never in extra- curricular activities as it involved a team. There was rejection from fellow school mates. Did this affect me.. yes it did! I started having a lot of reservations within my own self for the time my parents have compared my colour and my personality with my cousins and friends. Though being a single child never had a sibling to be with or share my feelings with. So most of the times, I started talking to my own self and cornered myself.
How about your college life?
I did well in my academics and then came a time where I had to attend college and I aspired to go to Delhi for my further education and was all excited to go that extra mile and break free from the clutches I had grown until now. I was to go to one of the top business institutions in Delhi but as luck had it my cousins brainwashed my parents and convinced them to send me to Bangalore for my studies. They also went to the extent of telling me that going to south India will be much better for me as I shall find people here of my same colour. God sure had plans for me and I arrived to Bangalore and did well in my academics again with Human Resources and Marketing being the core subjects of my specialisation and I sure did wonders in it.
There came a point in my life where now after education and having done masters in Business Administration I got selected for airhostess by the likes of Air India & Jet airways making me feel that I have arrived and immediately called my father and shared the good news with him and told him in order to get the job I would have to make a deposit of 50,000 INR to which my dad refused it onto my face saying I will make a joke out of myself being an air hostess. I was shattered and felt dejected again but I had to get up and run time was flying away as my batch mates had their recruitments in place and I was the one who had none imagine my father could have done it as the money was not an issue, but my looks and my attitude to prove them wrong sure did come in my way.
Did you pursue the profession which you wanted to? Did you face anything over there?
It was summers then and my friend who saw me in a state of apathy suggested why not I try my luck for a job in a call centre or a BPO and then began my hunt for a job to survive in Bangalore. All my parents did was call me asking about my welfare and then close the call by a taunt or passing comments, however this made me strong mentally and I started growing weak physically for all I had was just one meal a day of my favourite Maggi noodles and save the rest pocket money to pay of my hostel bills and travel expenses to various job recruiting consultants in the city.
One fine day I get a call from a consultant for a job offer as an Assistant manager with a reputed Pharmaceutical company with no second thought I jumped towards the offer and there began my journey where I had my own share of ups & downs, it wasn’t easy for me I had to do long hours just to learn the nuances of a corporate company and yes it did pay off. Finally my work was noticed more than me. Luckily, I had a boss who grilled my capabilities to the maximum he would ensure I do things which were new to me and he wanted immediate results of it and that helped me groom myself and learn things which people mostly my seniors hadn’t done for a long long time. My super bosses also took notice of me and I was sent on many seminars and deputations to foreign countries where I got to meet new faces new talents who recognised me for my work and talent but not my skin.
As I mentioned earlier it wasn’t easy in any thing for me work became hectic and I seldom had time for myself however I ensured I enrolled myself to a salsa dance workshop started working out and thus by no time I transitioned from being flab to fab.
Each day I would wake up look into the mirror and aspire my own self in doing just what I wanted to do and prove to myself for every ending there always is a happy beginning…..
How did you get into pet grooming?
It was the year of 2013 where I wanted a break and change in my work life and I decided to do something of my own and wondered what would I do? Eventually I quit my job and decided to do a road trip with the love of my life and that would be my dog my four legged fairy in disguise who I fondly called Choko. It was during the course of my journey I realised why not do something for the four legged souls who have none to be by them but they do all for humans who have no value for them. That’s when I decided to foray into opening a dog boarding centre and a grooming salon followed by doggie day care in no time I started without any market study or research and parallel to this I enrolled myself for pet grooming classes and in no time turned the table around with sheer hard work love and passion in what I do.
Today I am a leading dog grooming and also operate an Ngo for animals of various kinds.
Like they always say you find peace love and happiness in various forms and my form had to be with the four legged.
My Muse – Lopa Saikia
Hair & Makeup – Bandana Dias Bhattarai
Location – Green Theory,Convent Road, Bangalore
Concept,Direction & Photography – Lucky Malhotra
The kind of stories I am coming across, one thing is common that these things start from a very young age where you don’t even know why you are being discriminated.More than anyone else, its the parents who should take a stand against it and never discriminate their child and raise their insecurities. I insist the older generation specially to get away from this stigma and encourage the girls to channelise their minds into doing something meaningful , rather than ponder over this.
I am doing my bit to educate the people that fairness is not the criteria to be called beautiful. I have started this movement and doing these shoots to show that beauty is skin-deep and it’s not easy for me to take out time from my assignments and do this.
If you like what I am doing, do let me know,Your words would be encouragement for me to carry it forward.You can follow my work on the handles below.
It would mean a lot if you would like/share, comment and spread the word too.For any further query or doubts you can always send a message or write to me on Facebook/Instagram.
I am looking out to feature women who stand up against this boldly and contribute towards this cause and spread awareness about this campaign. You can reach out to me by writing me to [email protected]
** Please note that this campaign is against dark skin stigma and I would prefer to work on this cause with woman who are not light skinned, yet inspiring and being dark is not the only criteria I look for to select people.
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