Born in a small town in Kashmir, with a religious upbringing, Namrata Dhar grew up under the wings of her father, who introduced her to the world of numbers. While still in school, she was talking math and economics. As she evolved, she worked for many famous brands like Nortel, Siemens, Aviva, Indiasign and FISB. Currently, with over 20 years of work experience behind her, she is working for Triotech Solutions as Deputy General Manage (m-Governance).
Excerpts from an interaction with Rajesh Prothi
Around the time that you were growing up, , the official career was medical. How did the choice of education happen and land you in a technology segment?
I never had any inclination towards medical science. The only option was engineering or commerce. While in school, or in optional after-school programs, I tried to take as many math and science courses. Taking additional courses helped me to determine whether to enjoy the subject matter, and also it gave me a head start on advanced coursework.
During your school & probably during your college, the word technology was ‘ alien’. How did this work barge into your professional life and what were the challenges?
One positive thing with me was that, unlike many others, I started out wanting to be an engineer, in high school. The reason behind this was that I was very good with numbers, that meant that I was very good at math. Science was another favorite subject. Also, the biggest advantage I had was coaching from my father. When I started looking at the school, I looked at Maths and Economics. When I first started college, I actually went for Bachelor’s Degree with Math, Economics, Psychology and English from Lady Sri Ram College, New Delhi. I completed my graduation and decided it wasn’t really what I wanted. I thought I wanted it because I was good at Maths. I then took a Computer Applications and Programming course followed by Telecom Engineering Course. These courses were picked by me to see if I would feel comfortable and be satisfied in this vertical. And I’ve continued on from there.
The challenges were many, since I had come from a small town, language was the biggest barrier. That was in the past. Now I am full of confidence while making presentations to large audiences.
What kind of opportunities has technology thrown your way?
Technology has helped me to move forward in my career. It has changed the way I interact with customers, the level of communication being at a different level altogether. The catch with technology is how well you are able to handle it. For me, besides increasing my productivity, it has enabled me to increase the levels of customer retention and recognition.
What have been the high and low points in your career?
The high points of my career are many. One of them was when I got selected in one of the MNC companies among a couple of thousand candidates who had applied for the single post. When I got the Best Performance award in the year 2010. When I got an opportunity to deliver lecture classes to MBA students wherein I could relate my practical knowledge with the academic syllabus. The low point was when I lost a big opportunity over the competition. I wasn’t able to accomplish my goals as desired.
Between the high and low points, I have learned many lessons.
Let us discuss five important lessons which have become part of your life.
• Change happens. Embrace it. I’ve realized that being able to adapt to changing circumstances makes you stronger, wiser and calmer. Change can be unsettling, but it also spurs growth. I have learned to embrace change, rather than shy away from it.
• The universe knows better than you.Trust it. I used to demand that my life should work out in a certain way I always tried to be in control of the circumstances. But life takes its own twists and turns. I have realized that the universe was infinitely wise in bringing opportunities that were a perfect fit for me and trying to control was futile. I strongly believe that one should do his/her part, and then trust the universe to take care of the rest
• Gratefulness is a practice. Thank it. I’m grateful for the positive people, circumstances and energy I have found. When you notice, acknowledge and appreciate the positive events in your life, you invite more of the same in.
• Happiness is a choice. Choose it. Here’s the thing about happiness: you’re confronted with many opportunities to be happy each day. I have come to realize that I can choose happiness in every decision. So, I choose to be happy in both the simple and big events in my life. The people you’re with, the places you go, the work you do – all are laden with choices.
You have the power to choose happiness, and that’s a compelling feeling.
• Happiness comes from within. Be it. You don’t have to go very far to be happy. No one person or event or job will make you happy. Happiness is an everyday practice. And more importantly, it comes from within. You have the ability to be happy exactly where you are, without doing one thing more.
What is your philosophy of life?
Find the happiness in what you have, where you are, in the moment.
“I could choose to see this differently.” – A course in miracles. I used to feel like I had so much control over my life. Now I feel like I’ve surrendered my life to the universe, and it leads me.I used to be so averse to change. Now I welcome it, accepting that it’s a part of life. I used to strive towards happiness some day. Now, I simply choose to find it every day. I used to hate falling. But now I realize that the more I fall, the more I learn and the quicker I get back up.
Where you are in life has a lot to do with perspective. If you’re willing to change your perspective, the world around you changes.
What connects you with Kashmir?
The characteristic spirit of the people and heritage of spiritual messages of Rishis, Saints and Sages. Tolerance, ethnicity and its language, food and music, religion, customs and traditions, festivals and above all Kashmir Shaivism.
Literature as an essence of life, analysis of human condition and a reflection of human society, has blessed us with ample opportunity to imbibe the true human values. The cultural heritage of Kashmir cuts across all the regional, religious and ethnic barriers.
We have been hearing a word ‘Kashmiriyat’ for long now. What is your interpretation this particular word?
The values of humanism and tolerance which is collectively known as Kashmiriyat, the most important part of the cultural identity of the Kashmiri. Kashmiriyat, .e., Kashmiri-ness is the social consciousness and cultural values of the Kashmiri people. It is characterized by religious and cultural harmony, patriotism and pride for the mountainous homeland of Kashmir. Kashmiriyat, when experienced as a culture, is so syncretic that it inspires and epitomizes co-existence: man’s oneness with man; man’s oneness with nature.
Kashmiriyat is believed to be an expression of solidarity, resilience, and patriotism. It is believed to embody an ethos of harmony and a determination of survival of the people and their heritage. It is very surprising to know that very few Kashmiris know how to write their mother language.
Do you think, we there are any possibilities of old days returning. The Kashmir in which our generation grew up?
If Kashmir will be designed like a smart city as per the Digital India initiative, a place where Kashmiri Hindus feel secure and comfortable, emergence of upcoming industries, development and peace combined with more job opportunities, possibilities of old days returning will be there.
We have to create a climate in Kashmir where Hindus will think it is worth their while contributing to the history to the coming generation.
We can not escape from our past. Do your think the gap between the communities will close in true sense in the near future.
Unfortunately, no serious attempt has been made to bridge the gap between the people of different regions and to involve them in the peace building process as the major actors. On the contrary, the parties and groups involved always engage more on larger political differences. None of the parties has made a serious endeavor to connect the people in order to reduce the barrier between them.
It is very important to scrap the internal geographical barriers and connect people through all the ways and means of connections. These connections will act as social connectors and provide avenues where communities can interact, understand, identify areas of differences and develop a widely acceptable solution.
The internal socio-cultural diversity and the pluralism of interest and aspiration it breeds are always ignored. This plurality is due to lack of good media or the social connectors to bridge the gap. Hence, it can be argued that social connectors are imperative to the Kashmir solution.
The areas which are different ethnically and linguistically are further geographically isolated from each other by high mountain barriers. The barriers are so strong that many parts of Kashmir exist more as closed communities without having any proper means and common space to interact and share with fellow citizens across the state. Thus people inhabiting one part of the state are held blind toward the lives of people in other parts of the state due to these intangible boundaries. This nurtures mistrust and misunderstanding amongst the people in the state as a whole. Lack of trust gives rise to perceptions of threat and insecurity in the masses. As a consequence, this results in opposing views and different voices. These different voices deny the scope for general consensus on any approach to the Kashmir solution with each approach being opposed by one or another. Thus even today it remains an impossible mission for many aggrieved parties on Kashmir.