Namrata Dhar who grew up in Bijbhera, finished her higher secondary school from Anantnag. With her father as her mentor and guide, who introduced her to the world of numbers, she understood the ways of the world. With time as she evolved, she worked with the top international brands and with over two decades of working experience, Namrata’s approach towards life is much refined.
In the 2nd part of her interaction, she shared her thoughts on issues which are close to her and her homeland, Kashmir
Excerpts from an interaction with Rajesh Prothi
What interest you apart from your professional career?
Through the course of our lives, we bide our time doing particular tasks that may either help us to earn our living or build the staircases to our future and career. However, amidst these compulsory tasks, most of us also do things which we enjoy doing. Activities which help us escape the daily grind of life and work and give us pleasure and peace of mind. Tasks which help us discover talents and abilities which we may never have known ourselves to possess also giving us an insight of all the elements around us, making us learn new things each day.
As far as I am concerned, I spend quality time with my kids, family & friends. Sometimes I keep for reading, music, collecting, gardening, boating or cooking. I enjoy gardening. The joy of witnessing blooming flowers and leaves fills my heart with a sense of achievement and in realizing the fact that the work of my own hands is bearing fruit definitely. This gives me immense pleasure.
It is always a great feeling to have my garden admired and appreciated by my kids, family and friends. It helps me feel like I have accomplished a great goal. I feel proud when my kids taking sample plants from my garden to exhibit in their school instead of buying it from Nursery.
What efforts do you make to keep the culture of Kashmir alive?
This is interesting as far our culture is concerned. There are several aspects to our culture and for each, I have a different approach.
For example; when it comes to ‘Kashmiri’ our mother tongue, I am of the opinion that languages are the living signs of a nation’s literature, heritage, culture and civilisation. For any nation to keep its civilisation and culture alive, promoting its mother tongue is essential. We must read, write and speak the Kashmiri language. Our mother tongue is our identity. Therefore, the usage of ‘Kashmiri’ language is very high around me.
As a Community, we should be proud of our distinctness. As Kashmiri individuals, we are doers and achievers. We struggle and overcome. This is our greatest strength. This optimism needs to be preserved, this stems from our faith in the divine design behind this world. It is our grandest opportunity and we should educate the upcoming generations about the same.
The other most important part of Kashmiri culture is its cuisine. I try to cook in Kashmiri style and eating food while sitting on the floor. Trust me this is possible and sooner or later children do appreciate the effort. Though small effort but I continue to offer three kinds of tea to whosoever comes to our home, i.e Kehwa, Sheer Chai (Salt Tea) or normal tea. This is all part of our Kashmiri culture.
In an effort to retain this, which has been passed on to our generations in terms of our age-old customs, traditions & festivals, documentation needs to be done.
How difficult was it for you to adjust yourself in a cosmopolitan culture?
One of the most popular pieces of advice that people receive when operating across cultures is, “When in Rome, Act Like the Romans.” This advice essentially means that in order to be successful in a situation different from your own, you need to adapt to the local customs, whatever they happen to be.
Besides, for a female adjusting to newer surrounding comes as a natural instinct. The pain of migration was very excruciating. It was like uprooting a plant and trying to replant in a new place. Once landed in Delhi and joined college, Delhi has become my new home. Though it was never like Kashmir. For younger generations like us, there were ample opportunities but for older generations, it was quite tough as they had spent majority of their life there.
The profession you choose, how has it impacted your thought process?
One of the most important life skills that one can have is the ability to control our thoughts. While this may seem relatively simple, it is much harder than what meets the eye. We live in a day and age where our minds are constantly being bombarded with information. To be successful in life, we must keep control of our thoughts at all times.
The type of behavior that we want to become familiar with is ‘adaptive behavior’. I believe the adaptive behavior gives the ability to perform activities successfully during the course of our lives. Adaptive behavior can also be thought of as a manner in which you will be flexible when it comes to changing and adapting with the times.
The best way to adapt to change is to continue learning. The process of learning does not stop once you graduate from college; it is a lifelong process that never stops. Technology and skills will continue to change as we move further into the future, but the person who is always learning new things has absolutely no reason to fear these changes, and will, in fact, be able to embrace them.
Another important factor in being able to control ones thought process. Always look beyond the surface. Instead of running from challenges, one must always be ready to embrace them.
When we are faced with any challenge, we are faced with an opportunity which will allow us to grow as a person. Embracing challenges will not only allow us to become wiser, but they will also allow us to harness our skills as well.
We are able to deal with unexpected situations in a manner which is not only creative, but constructive as well. We can focus our mind in a fresh direction, and can make a decision based on outcomes which are desirable.
To succeed, we should welcome change, since being able to adapt to important changes is a factor which will allow us to become successful. As we go throughout life, we always take the time to think about and analyze situations so that misinterpretations can be avoided.