Mimi Chakrabarti and Vidya Deshpande have a job to live for. They ofcourse dexterously designed their present work. It has also materialised after a lot of personal experiments with life. Hille Le identifies with their spirit of constant day dreaming, desire to look beyond their own life and somewhere their incorrigible optimism. With their new business venture or life venture ‘Soul Purpose’, these two women in their forties have simply dared to do what many indulge with only in their reveries.
Vidya was a Broadcast and Print journalist for over twenty years. She was a succesful Editor with Headlines Today. Mimi has homeschooled her children. While she didn’t pursue a career after her children were born, she clicked photographs for organizations like CRY off and on. She is also a trained Yoga teacher. Vidya and Mimi met because of their sons, who went to the same play school some fifteen years back. They also lived in the same housing complex in Delhi and bumped into each other quite often. However, Mimi shifted to USA in 1996 and Vidya got busy with her work in Newspapers and News Channels. Their life story could have continued like this. However, PHANS GAYE RE OBAMA had to happen. Mimi and her husband Manas got bored of Uncle Sam and decided to move back to India. Buying a house in Delhi was neither exciting nor suiting their pockets. The unanimous family decision was to shift to Gurgaon, the new satellite town. Incidentally and interestingly enough Mimi and Vidya became neighbours yet again. Their sons became best friends.
Vidya and Mimi remained busy, excited, active, tired and sometimes bored with their work. Away from work they both travelled a lot. Vidya loves wildlife. Corbett is one of her favourite places. She craves for non touristy destinations. Mimi is fascinated by the mountains. Quiet and lazy walks up and down the slopes, camping and sometimes going on a trek are some of her favourite things.
At work in her last few years as a broadcaster Vidya began to crave for more-
“I have worked throughout. Never took a ‘mommy’ break. Recently, after working for 23 years as a journalist, I quit my job from a News channel. Suddenly after so many years of leading a hectic life where a News cycle was half an hour, where everything changed in seconds, I had plenty of time on my hands.
I spent years together working on odd shifts, even night shifts, working on Sundays and National holidays. Then, I was offered a position as Managing Editor of a lifestyle magazine, with the option of working from home, which I grabbed. Basically, the ‘EMI noose’ never allowed me to give up my job, but now with things getting better financially, I could take the risk of leaving a regular job and look to do something that I enjoy.”
In the meanwhile Mimi as part of homeschooling her children was travelling with them to villages, small towns, hills and forest areas. Her children were rafting, scuba diving, understanding snakes, studying environment from the experts amongst many other things. She often stepped out of home and her city alone for days- sometimes to study yoga in Kerela and often to click photographs and meet new people. Manas, her husband would take care of her job at home on such occasions.
With Vidya’s EMI noose not that tight anymore and Mimi’s children doing most of their schooling on their own, both these ladies began to desire for some serious adventure. On a regular day, like many other days, Mimi and Vidya caught each other’s attention while talking vacuities. Vidya shared she was keen to do something related to women. She came up with the idea of adventure travel for women. Mimi jumped at the notion. She discussed the essence of her new work with Manas. He not only came up with the name they all finally agreed upon but also offered to design their website. Their new journey would be now their SOULPURPOSE.
While evaluating their limited resources Mimi and Vidya agreed that their talents and expertise would hold them strong. They decided to add yoga and photography to their travels. Their SOULPURPOSE, however, would be to let women have some ‘me’ time. It would be time away from home. A time to see new places, meet new people and read a book without bothering about putting one’s kids to sleep.
Both Mimi and Vidya feel that most women enjoy outdoors. Vidya says, “Most women don’t get an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with family and work pressures. A lot of women travel with their families but many would love an opportunity to travel on their own”. She adds, “On our first trip we had someone who was travelling for the first time on her own (i.e without family). She absolutely enjoyed the experience. There was another woman who wanted some time with herself away from her kids”. Mimi is of the opinion that the peripherals of travelling scares most people. She adds, “I think everyone likes traveling. What they don’t like is deciding on a place, booking a room, booking tickets and packing bags”.
Vidya and Mimi have a simple but wise point to make here. We all get tired sometime or the other from whatever we do. Its nobody’s fault and everyone deserves numerous breaks and holidays. Many homemakers, married professionals , single professional women, single non-professional women fail to articulate the fatigue of home making, tiredness of constant emotional engagement, burn out at workplace, anxiety over failed relationships and most of all discomfort of accepting such difficult feelings and situations. After all when loved ones or cherished values are involved one can end up being in denial.
While none of these two ladies would trade their life and family for anything Vidya goes on to say “True, both of us have families. In fact I have a son who has just entered his Board year! However, we felt that women would love an opportunity to go on an adventure holiday on their own, without the encumbrances of kids or husband. Our ideal client will be any woman, single, attached or married, working or a homemaker, who just wants some time away from it all”. Mimi adds, “You gain some and you lose some when you travel with and without family.It is great fun traveling with my two teenagers and my husband. However, with the kids growing up and a busy husband I can’t always wait for the perfect family outing. There can be other perfect moments. In our case we also have three dogs. We can’t leave town for a very long time. So we have started taking turns in going out for holidays. Sometimes kids go, sometimes Manas and I head out together.Then there are times when I travel alone”.
So where do they like to travel to? Where would they want their women clients to go with them? Vidya wants to go to Ladhak in India (for the sheer beauty and vastness of the high altitude desert). They are planning a trip in June. Vidya also wants SOULPURPOSE to go to Masai Mara, for the sheer numbers of wildlife. Both Mimi and Vidya want to expand their operations abroad at a later stage.
As we wished the very best to these two adventurehearts Vidya added that she does think “Contemporary Indian women need to free themselves from their apron strings and allow themselevs time to be who they are. Most women spend their lives being someone else. They are always a mother, a daughter, a wife, a companion, but never themselves. They should find time to be who they are and enjoy life, by letting their hair down”.
If the reader wants to travel with SoulPurpose you can find them at – http://www.soulpurposetravel.in/#!about/c1va9