A budding physiotherapist by education, yoga instructor by profession, dancer and theatre artist by passion and a social worker at heart! Such is our young lady Roushna Aziz. Roushna has successfully emerged as a strong woman who refused to succumb to the irrational conventions of the society.
What follows is a detailed interview with this Real Life Durga, second from the series on “Life Stories Of The Everyday Sheroes”:
Name - Roushna Aziz
Profession - Founder - The Yog Project; Yoga Instructor
Gourmet Cooking (Italian & Middle Eastern Food)
Social Worker -
Has been actively associated with a number of NGOs over the years. Some of which are -
Save The Child ( especially for Rohingya Refugees)
Sri Bhavani Mahila Mandal (own property converted into a home for ~40 women. This NGO is run and maintained by an ex-army officer’s wife in Begumpet - Hyderabad mostly only through the pension and inconsistent donations at times.
How do you manage so many things together?
I typically work on things in clusters. With yoga being the common point, I keep shuffling my priorities in life, but do not ever shy away from my passion. Like for a year or so, I dedicate the maximum possible time to social work, including residential volunteering and then finish off the project and move on to the next one, which might be my role as a gourmet chef or theatre artist. Since I am also a fitness trainer, I somehow know how to be on my feet even while I am working day in day out.
Majority of us who turn out to be true inspiration for folks around, do not have an easy background. How has your life been on those lines?
I had working parents and it wasn’t easy from the very beginning, especially because I was constantly depressed as a kid. For those who grow up all by themselves, with less emotional and moral support, life undoubtedly presents them with wisdom, but that comes at a cost. For a long time, my depression went uncured which gradually turned up into a bigger challenge. I had multiple sessions with talk-therapists which made me realize how my emotional constraints were affecting the daily life conduct. Right after that I met with an accident, the effects of which were more emotional than physical. I soon gained a lot of weight, which made this worse.
For a long period of my life, my life decisions were never mine and in fact I remember that not until post-graduation, I took a single decision about my life. Yes, that’s how it was. But the best part of this journey was that when I narrate my story, I take pride in it. Though there is still a lot to be done, but I have come a long way. I have a purpose to fulfil and I keep reminding myself that. It keeps me alive, every single day.
Something that you would cherish forever?
There’s an interesting story from when I was in NIT and it was one of those moments that I want to think about whenever life turns upside down. I was overweight and participated in a Fashion Show. It was supposed to be a grand show and we’d been preparing for it day in and day out. There were pretty women and handsome men participating in it, and everybody fit exactly as per the “so-called norms of fashion industry” except me. I wasn’t liked by the co-participants. But I was determined. I remember the day we were travelling to the show-city, it was my first day of periods and I felt extremely tired, low, and the excruciating pain had got on my nerves. I was carrying a huge bag and was walking all alone, crying within, hating it all. I had almost given up, when I heard myself asking not to and I kept walking. I got the award for the best Diva award . I had actually broken all stereotypes associated. I did it. If I could do that when I had almost given up, I know that no-matter what, I will be able to do whatever I truly strive for.
What is your message to other women?
For us women, everyday is a war-zone and you have to fight. You are the only one who has to do it for yourself, and you ought to because it is your responsibility. If you are not getting what you deserve, fight for it. I did it. I learnt martial arts to defend when required. We have to fight today to make tomorrow livable. Don’t wait for help. Be it mental health, emotional wellbeing, physical well-being, future security, financial independence, living conditions, or anything else, don’t wait for help. Find a solution. It’s highly unlikely that someone else will help you out. You are your own responsibility. Fight for yourself and be a mentor that you wanted for yourself.
We, women, are fighters, not by choice, but conditioned to be one ever since forever. We all have one life. The question is - Do we want to let everything be as is, or do we “burst the bubble”?