In a country like India, following your passion is still not given the importance it should get. And in a male dominant society like ours, it is even more difficult for girls to follow their passion and do what they love.
In such a situation, Aashi Bhaiji has set an example for all by following what she loves and choosing the field of Designing. Even after securing a seat in one of the medical colleges, Aashi decided to let go of it to study designing. Apart from being an amazing graphic designer, Aashi is also a passionate dancer and has been dancing since she was 6 years old. Aashi is one of those people who have dared to follow their passion and do what they love.
We got a chance to speak with Aashi and she happily answered a few questions and shared her experience of being a part of the 8th Young India Challenge at IIT Delhi in March 2017.
Here’s a snippet of the conversation:
Q. What was your most memorable moment at Young India Challenge?
Ans. So my most memorable moment was the time when we were outside the room and we were going to present the final idea to the judges and we were fully prepared with whatever we had to present and our presentation was done really well and the entire team, we were really really nervous because we did not know if our idea would, you know, if they would like it or they wouldn’t like it and we were not very clear on what we were supposed to you know like ummm..we didn’t know if what we pitch in is something that the judges are going to understand and if it’s going to come across clearly as how we thought about it. And right outside at that moment we were standing in a circle, we were all holding hands and I think Gaurav was present that time too with the camera and we were just like having a small group moment and we were all just having a small group moment I think we were hugging each other and I think that was my favourite moment because the bond that we built even though it was just for a span of 2 days but we got together and we worked and everybody just had that bond like you know we will do what and we will present it the way we thought about it and that was like my favourite moment, just that, it was 10 seconds outside the judges’ room and we were going to go inside. So that is what I really really liked.
Q. How has your life changed after attending YIC?
Ans. There were so many people that I made friends with and who I thought were doing just the regular stuff and you know who decided to go to engineering and go do something that your family wants to see you do. But because I met so many people who wanted to do what they like to do or who are motivated to do what they like to do and that motivates me more because I was doing my MBBS, I was cracking my entrance exam to get into medicine and the only reason I had taken up Biology in 11th and 12th was because I absolutely loved the subject and I still really really like it. But I don’t think that was something I wanted to do for like a long period of time and that is why I in the very after writing all the entrance exams like AIIMS and JIPMER and everything else after getting my MBBS seat and after getting admission into the colleges, I decided to shift to take design and I wanted to be a graphic designer because that is what I enjoy doing and that is what I see myself doing. So I think YIC helped in that because you guys reinforce the fact that you should ultimately do what you like to do because then you ultimately enjoy doing it and then there is nobody else who can actually tell you or force you to do what they want to see you doing. So I think that confidence has also come up now and I’m able to you know present myself better in front of people, like at least suppose the fact that if I’m doing design, I know that I’m gonna be doing well in it and I’ve been in a position in four years from now where I thought I’m never going to be in and you know you wouldn’t tell me anything about it. So I feel like that confidence and the motivation has pushed us from there so that’s something I really feel like was a good decision to attend YIC.
Q. Have your friends and family noticed any changes in you after YIC?
Ans. My parents have kept telling me that you have become very confident about what you’re doing now because it was a very, you know, when you change from a field like MBBS to something like designing which is a new upcoming field in India and nobody really recognises it. It’s very, you know, people reacting to it like what is your job going to be are you going to be able to have a settled future later on because considering the fact that I’m a girl also and people want me to be settled in a certain way with a nice family, household everything. So my parents are like, it’s good that you have, you know, built up confidence about what you’re doing. Even though I did have it, I mean that’s the only reason I took up this field in the first place but now because of YIC, it’s just been reinforced again. And also because I attended this is Delhi and I travelled all alone, so my parents are also, they’re like you’ve become a little independent also in a lot of other aspects and you’ve come up to that level where you can go and stand for yourself. And you know tell people that that you’re doing is well and you’re good at it, then this is what you should continue doing and it doesn’t really matter about what you could have done or you know what you could have been doing. So that’s not there anymore, which is I feel like it’s nice, it give me confidence when my parents confide in me like that.
Q. You were also a student at Shiamak Dawar’s Institute of Performing Arts. So has dancing been something that you have always been doing or is it something you discovered now?
Ans. So dancing has always been, I’ve been dancing since the age of 6 and my first experience of Dancing started as a mistake actually. So I had a friend who used to go for these dance classes Shiamak Dance Classes itself. And I happened to join, I mean for a class they had told that this is a fun class so bring your friends along with you and she happened to take me in that class. And I really enjoyed it and i think the instructors you know noticed that this girl is a really good dancer and also then they had spoken to my parents, So my parents thought why not, let’s give her a chance and let’s put her into dance class and that’s how it started. So I was in Shiamak Dawar since the age of 6 and then after that I got selected for another batch called Showcase which is basically from the age of 12 years. All the dancers from 6-12years from different areas of Bangalore are selected to a higher training level and they put you in a separate batch called Showcase. Then I was in Showcase for around 3 years. Then after that I left Showcase and I joined Shiamak again and this time I got selected for another higher batch called SPB which stands for Special Potential Batch and it’s again dancers from the age group 13 and above, they get selected from all across bangalore they get selected to train on a higher level to become a part of the Shiamak Dawar Dance Company. We get trained in all styles, we’ve done Hip Hop or contemporary or bollywood or jazz. We learnt ballet. We learn everything in class and it’s a really tough training. So I’ve been dancing for a really long time and I’ve been a classical dancer in school, in school I’ve learnt Bharatnatyam for three years and I’ve learnt Kathak after that for like another 1 and a half years. So I mean dancing has always been a part of me, some way or the other. People know me as a dancer, so I don’t think I had any other identity. And when people go outside and even back in school when people hear my name, they’re like Aashi okay ya Dancer. So it feels good that way.
Q. Are you facing any challenges in doing what you love?
Ans. Okay this is like everyday I get to hear something or the other from, I mean even though my parents are still you know settling with the fact that I’m doing design and not doing MBBS anymore. They’re still like every time something happens in the family, when someone falls ill ya kisi ka phone aata hai type then it’s always like, my mom always gets into that mode where she keeps telling me “you know you could have been a doctor.” and that’s something she says in a painful hearted way and it sometimes just makes me feel really bad because I don’t know what to do. I mean I feel like sometimes they don’t appreciate what I’m doing and even from my friends for example when I was taking design, I hadn’t really told people and made my friends aware I’ll be doing design and for them I had just been putting myself into medicine, I had been going for coaching and study for medicine and just giving those exams. For me taking the field of design and shifting to them and I mean for them it was really surprising. They were like, did you not get your seat and people still say “haan isko seat nai mili hogi” and that’s why she took designing. She must not have performed well and people say things like that and it doesn’t really feel nice but sometimes we just really need to learn to ignore them and go forward with what you’re doing. And also because the fact that in my first semester my aggregate I got a 10 CGPA. So I still know that fact that I’m in the field that I love, I mean I’m doing something that I really love to do and I’m doing well in it. It is showing up in my report cards and in my grades and I received a scholarship, but they don’t see all these things and they still make comments. But you shouldn’t care about such people.
Q. What impact are you looking to create by doing what you love?
Ans. There have been many of my juniors and my cousins who are getting into colleges and they seem really confused about what to choose and they have been coming to me for counselling. So I have been telling them that you should do whatever your heart tells you to do because everybody has their own lives and everybody wants to live it their own way. Regardless of what your parents ask you to take up, you will always end up doing what you actually like in some form or the other. So in that way I want to tell people that it is of course hard to do what you love, but also it gives you a sense of satisfaction. Also I want my field of Communication Design to impact the education sector and bring a positive change to it. Being a communication designer I would want to design better text books for students so that everything is properly explained in them and they don’t have to buy extra reference books.
Interviewed by Nikhil Kamath