(Bhopal) “I am a clinical psychologist. In 1984, there were only two national institutes that offered a course in clinical psychology in India with only 12 seats in each institute. It was not difficult for me to get admission in the course. Being the daughter of a doctor, understanding and serving human beings grew in me as a passion.
Despite being immensely useful in the changing modern world, clinical psychology in India did not have many job opportunities. The mental health facilities and medical set up hardly had any vacancies. It was a surprise and a challenge for both my husband (also a clinical psychologist) as well as for me. The medical fraternity and administrators were ill informed about mental health issues. Awareness was abysmal. People used to misinterpret psychological problems as being “mad” and the treatment as “shock treatment”.
I started writing weekly articles in both English and Hindi newspapers and devoted myself to raising awareness in the society. Through mass media, people started recognizing me as a writer rather than a professional. But it helped me to establish myself and my clinic and enabled me to help the people who needed such services. With the help of my husband, I started an NGO for persons with mental disability. It provided functional vocational and education guidance to them. But gradually we were able to develop more services and now we have training centers, where we train teachers to teach persons with disability. We started with partial government aid and now we are almost self-sustained. Our NGO was granted National Award for its services. Once the first organization became successful, my husband and I started a second private institute, which serves as rehabilitation centre and long-stay home for people with chronic mental illnesses.  

I started my journey alone. I worked hard to establish a clinic and an NGO. Gradually, we built two successful organizations with a number of employees and patients under care.In the past 30 years I have seen more than 20000 cases and I have learnt from each case. Each case narrates a different story, and when we see things from their angle, it teaches us about various dimensions of life and, of course, how to deal with challenges. 

(Bhopal) “This is my tea stall. My husband and I run this tea stall together. I have two daughters and a son. They are all married. Everything is good at home.”

(Bhopal) “I am a Medical Officer and I work at one of the largest reproductive and sexual health organization in India. I have my own clinic too. I have been working for last 22 years. For me, patient satisfaction is the best part of my professional life.”    

(Bhopal) “I am a final year law student and I plan to work on women’s rights issues. Soon I am going to start working with a litigation lawyer. I have interned at a corporate firm and realized it wasn’t for me. Also, while I was interning at a non-profit organization, I met a number of victims of domestic violence who were trying to find their way back to a normal life. Their stories inspired me a lot.
I feel very passionately about women’s rights issues. There were a lot of reasons that pushed me into this field. When I was born, my grandparents were very unhappy because my parents already had a daughter. My grandparents tried to force my parents to have a third child but my parents were happy to have us and didn’t go for a third child.
Then there were smaller instances like my relatives asking me to wear salwar suits as I was growing up. In college, there was a weird stigma attached to girls seen talking to boys or being friendly with boys. Also, when I would tell people that I go for swimming, then they would ask me if boys and girls swam together and if I wore a swimming costume. I didn’t know how to respond to that.

I came from an army background and I was brought up in a completely different environment. Some of these things were like a cultural shock to me. When I was really young, I didn’t understand the situation; with time it dawned on me the whole world is like that.”