It has been exact 1825 days since the departure of Kushali’s father. Prior to these days, Mr. Jaiyant Jain was a happy man, had a lovable family, enviable relatives and his profession was running smooth. He had been married to Jhaveri since 1989 and God had blessed them with two beautiful daughters. Initially, life was not easy to Mr. Jain. Being brought up in the family traditional business of cloth merchandising, he was moulded to adopt it as his profession but had dreams quite contrasting. He wanted to expand his business, make it among the global markets. Initial hurdles, though, did not make his goal to deviate. With minimum support from home, he set out of Kolkata to advertise the alluring business his family had run since 1950.
After an ample means to persuade the people to believe and invest in his dream, by 2003, he was successful in setting up his first shop in Chennai named as ‘Nazakat’ and in 2007 its branch named ‘Ghunghat’ in Mumbai.
The response was overwhelming which led to the set up of another boutique in Delhi in 2009.
But in spite of having achieved his goal, life was not completely perfect.
Kaushali and Khushi were not lucky enough to witness the much-needed presence of their father. The often abrupt presence at the shops, located at different location acted as a barrier of communication between him and his daughters. Though he never failed to satisfy their demands, but the lack of physical presence of their father made them want his presence all the more.
Growing up, the girls were too moulded into liking the profession and wanted to follow their father’s step. But life was not rosy. The pressure from the elders to get the girls married off was imperative.
“You are from a well-bred family. Your father is rich. You don’t have to go to jobs to support you financially, so why do you want to work?”
“We’ll have to urgently find a good and rich guy as a husband to her. Then you can do anything in your sasural. We will not interfere.”
But who would make this traditional narrow-minded ignorant understand that it was not only for money that one works, Kaushali would debate. I have been dependent on my father for twenty-one years, now I don’t want to depend on anyone else. I want to work. I want to be successful and renowned like Papa, Kaushali would always claim.
Interestingly, she had learned bike riding and car driving as opposed to joining a culinary course at 20 which made their relatives rage with anger! She believed if a “man can, so can a woman.”
“Don’t give so much freedom to a girl, Jaiyant, she will go out of hands.”
Nevertheless, Jaiyant supported her. Always. He saw a spark in her which was identical to his. At times, he would wonder had she been a boy, things would have been so different.
Despite not wanting, he succumbed to the societal pressure and began his quest for a befitting groom for her.
But Nature had planned for something else. It was the unfortunate night of 7th June 2010 that Mr. Jain met with a car accident. He was eroded to brain hemorrhage. The pain amplified itself each passing day and it was on 18 August 2010 when he got independence from his suffering. Everyone mourned for him but Kaushali. She was relieved. She had always been at his side, skipping her semester just to idolize her father. Along with him, she had gone through the immense pain as well, both emotionally and mentally.
It was harder to face the reality now. With no one supporting her and everyone insisting she be married off as soon as possible. But Kaushali was more determined now. She needed no entity to empower her. She was powerful enough. She wanted to fulfil the dream her father had dreamt about; she wanted to globalize their trade.
Just like her father, she, too, faced with initial prejudices and obstacles. But it made her only stronger. She never once showed remorse or helplessness which made everyone quiver.
The more she got into the business, the more she understood how it is not all rosy. The struggle to keep up with the brand name, the traditional hierarchy. And moreover, the gender stereotyping. It was tough, difficult and pressurizing to work in such an environment, but she had to. Now she had to not only because for herself but for her father, who she knew wanted to achieve a respectable place for her as much as she did.
Today is 18 August 2015.
“The Times” magazine has organised an event that has revealed the most coveted article, “Top 10 Influential Entrepreneur of 2015”. It is stated that Kaushali Jaiyant Jain is the only woman from South Asia to procure a position. Everyone is thrilled. They cheer and applause her.
The host announces Ms. Jain as the toughest contender. Within a span of 5 years, she has changed the scenario of the textile industry. She started with “Jai Jaiyant and Company”, a perdure to her family business, Nazakat and Ghunghat in India, and make it a global phenomenon with its business running successfully in Dubai, Pakistan, and Bangkok.
The host announces her name to say a few words. She is living her dream. She finds it surreal. She goes to the dais.
Her voice chokes a little. The first thing that comes to her mind is, “I have fulfilled your dream, Papa. I hope I have made you proud…this would not have been easy if not for…I thank everyone who stood by me… It was only because of my father’s death that has landed me here. It motivated me. I-I…I am blessed. My..My father would say no one needs to empower anyone. Especially women. Women are born powerful. The black sheep in our society diverts them from achieving. They suppress women because they know if a woman can, she will. We don’t need anyone to empower us. Women are empowered already. We need someone to believe in us. I had many protestors, but one believer and it made me make a change. I add my father’s name after my name, not because of patriarchy of a society I am born into, but because I am honored to be his daughter. I am Kaushali Jaiyant Jain, daughter of Late. Mr. Jaiyant Raghuveer Jain and I hope just like me, everyone finds a true believer of your dream.
Thank you, everyone.”
Thank you, everyone.”