“Please welcome our celebrated guest for today, Mrs. Mina Badami,” the interviewer introduced as she walked on the decked-up stage with all the lights focused on her. The audience rose up in a thunderous rapture as they welcomed her on stage.
“Welcome to the function, Madam,” she said, “and thanks for gracing this occasion of the launch of our new Publishing House ‘Class X Publications.’”
“It’s always my pleasure to be part of any new start-up venture. I know how difficult it is to start something anew, against the current, on your own, when everybody including yourself, doubts you.”
Radhika was the host, who held Mrs. Badami in high esteem and had suggested an invite to her. The biggest non-Bollywood celebrity wife of the biggest business tycoon of the country. She would be perfect for the launch, she had thought.
“How do I introduce you Mrs. Mina, wife of a business tycoon, or an entrepreneur in your own right – Hospital chain owner, Education baron or a Badminton team owner?” Radhika said adding, “You’re an inspiration to the new age woman. Tell us your story, of your journey, your transition- your metamorphosis. India wants to know it all.”
“Ohh. . . now you are embarrassing me. But I’ll try. It all started in Gujrat, a small village. I was born into a typical business family. Not a big one, but none-the-less rich. I graduated as a typical rich business family girl was expected to do, in Home Science. Before I realized my parents had fixed my marriage to a small-time businessman, who had set on his journey, Mr. Badami, first son of the now legendary Late Mr. Himmat Badami. He was not a big man then,” she said and looked at Radhika. “Go on Madam, we’re listening,” Radhika prodded her on.
“It was expected that I would not work after marriage. And I was happy to go with the flow, but the desire always remained alive, like a cinder. I was devoted and committed to my family. My brother-in-law was a page-3 personality and married a film star. I was looked down upon in the family, as I was a typical ghunghat-clad, sindoor-wearing orthodox lady. But I did not relent. I stayed grounded and stood stoically behind my husband. He never complained nor asked me to change.
“Time went by. Kids grew up. My husband catapulted into a very successful businessman. I thought now is the time to start doing something useful for society and as well as for me. I started working in the school. Helping at first, getting actively involved and finally guiding them when required. It broadened my vision and confidence.
“Then came the hospital business. It was a new venture. I requested my husband to let me be part of it. He was skeptical but agreed to it. Said he would let me handle all the operations. My confidence and responsibility grew by leaps and bounds. I was now treated as a businesswoman and not just a housewife.”
Radhika interjected asking, “And how were things in your household?”
“Things for my brother-in-law and her pompous wife took a downturn, with the business going bust. But we stood by them as a family, bailed them out on multiple occasions. After all Family is Family!”
“That’s very apt and generous of you,” said Radhika.
Mrs. Badami’s daughter suffered from anorexia nervosa and that was something she had battled for a long time. It was a personal defeat for her as well as for the family. So when Radhika asked about her, she hesitated for a moment and then came out with the truth.
“Gargi suffered from depression and these food fads. I needed to do something about it. At the same time, my husband was mulling buying the badminton team. I encouraged it and said that I would love to get involved in it. He looked at me skeptically, but relented.”
Mrs. Badami continued adding, “It was wake up call for me as well. I had neglected my health for too long. Seeing the players in action, watching their fitness regimes, changed me beyond my wildest dreams. I became fit and changed my dressing a lot. I became confident enough to wear western-wear as well. It was a make-over of my image.”
“Did Mr. Badami object to it? How did he take it?” Radhika quipped.
“He took it lightly at first, thinking it was a fad and would die down. But then the results were for everyone to see. It had a domino effect. My daughter changed. She had observed my dedication and involvement with the team and the trainers. She realized that the body is like a temple. You have to worship it. Only then it will yield fruits. She corrected herself. Got rid of all the wrong things she was doing. She got better. Her health improved. Now, she is on track. She has joined an acting school in New York and is working on a play. Hope to hear from her soon. Now I am looking at my husband. I want him to get in shape. He too has abused his body, neglected it totally. I am sure with the results with Gargi, he will take a cue and course-correct himself. That’s my wish and desire. Hope he is listening! Hopefully, next time we meet, he will be fit like Salman.” They both laughed heartily.
Radhika posed her last question, “Finally tell us, Mrs. Badami, where do you see yourself after another ten years?
“Radhika, I had never imagined that a ghungat-clad, typical behenji would one day own a Badminton team or head a multi-billion dollar hospital and education setup. Even I am surprised that it all happened. But yes. I believed in myself and my convictions. I supported my family and we did everything as a team. God has been kind and life has been great. So, I really don’t know what will happen in the future.”
Radhika thanked her immensely and the crowd cheered her. They gave her standing ovation. Radhika next invited her to launch the website of Class X Publications. Mrs. Badami clicked on the mouse and the site went live. She had officially unveiled the new business venture.
“I congratulate the new venture and wish them best luck. I hope they set new standards in the world of publishing; encouraging and guiding young and budding authors, giving them a platform to showcase their talent. I urge them and I am sure they will not look at it just as a commercial venture. Like Aamir khan says it in Three Idiots, ‘You should strive for quality and success will follow.’”
“Before you leave Mrs. Badami, one final question, everyone wants to know – How does it feel to stay in the tallest residence in Mumbai?”
She laughed and blushed.
“Jokes apart, remember, it is not just our house. It is our temple of work. It is filled with relentless activity and nothing is wasted or splurged. After all, we are a typical Gujju business family. It’s in our genes. So there is a purpose in everything we do.”
“Having said all that,” Mrs. Badami added, “Feels like I’ve touched the sky.”
Photp By: Samuel Zeller
This is an entry for Greenhorns-3, #Metamorphosis, an Exclusive Writing event for the Feathers club members of room8 by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/metamorphosis-greenhorns-3-writing-event/
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