Vandana was born in Calcutta and she was introduced to her role model, Mother Theresa at a very young age. She says that whatever she does in life, she always looks at how she can give back to the world. She is an architect by education and works passionately with several NGO's as a trustee and designer for the holistic development of women, children and artisans.
What is your favourite word?
"Joy", "Joy from within" is what I'd like to say. I believe that we have to do things in life that give us a sense of inner happiness and joy. For me, the joy from within is when I give that joy from within to someone else. We may be in the most beautiful and luxurious places and still be unhappy. We can engage in basic simple acts of kindness and feel really joyful. If you are happy from the inside, you can really enjoy life. We can share chocolates or balloons with a stranger and enjoy it. A simple smile and hug can also go a long way.
What was the moment in your life that made you Blossom into the person you are today?
There are lots of such moments. I will tell you one such moment in particular that I keep going back to. There was this one time I saw a lot of kids playing on the street near Gandhi ashram. I felt like offering them something. So, I went home and figured that I had a lot of plates I never used. I presumed it would be a useful thing to give to the kids so they have a clean plate of their own. When I finally gave the plates to the kids, they looked at me wondering why I was giving empty plates. Then I made up my mind to cook food for all of them. The next weekend, I pulled all my strength and somehow prepared food for all of them. It seemed like an easy job, but once I finished it, I felt as if I just climbed the Mount Everest. I found a nice terrace, arranged everything for the kids and served them all the dishes I prepared for them - puri, sabzi, rice, dal, sweet - but they didn’t touch the food. Turned out that they had never had a proper dish in their life until then. They were only used to eating with all the curries mixed as a kichidi, and in one bowl with their entire family. Having one plate all for themselves and with different dishes was pure alien to them. So we actually had to mix everything for a lot of them and only then they started eating. Many of them started packing the food in some paper and plastic bags for their homes. Seeing that - I realised that it's what I want to do. Help these people in whatever way I can. I did not think about the impact I might create or anything. All I wanted to do was be of help in any smallest way possible - do whatever I can within my strength. And the amount of satisfaction, the inner happiness that it gives me is something I never found anywhere
What would you want the young boys & girls to learn from your journey?
The lesson from my journey would be to count the blessings in everyday life and to just be grateful for what you've got. Recognise the simplest things that you are blessed with. It’s when we recognise what we have, that we can recognise what others don't have. Then we can do something about it. There are a lot of people in the world who can do something for others and who also want to. They don't know what to do and how to do. Begin anywhere and anyhow, don’t think about big or small or meaningful. Put your heart into it and rest will follow. Each one of us must devote some time and energy for those who are not as blessed as us.