Wonder Women

Creativity & Strength Go A Long Way ~ A Professor, Dancer & Stand-up Comic Shares Her Story

Ever heard of the phrase “Naam ek, kaam anek”?
(meaning “one name, many acclaims”)

Our #WonderWomen segment on every Friday will talk about such women who are fulfilling many roles, and whose achievements in professional and personal life are nothing less than extraordinary.


The first #FridayFeature story will focus on Professor, Dancer and Stand-up Comic Parini Surti, who dons more than one role in her professional life, and many others in her personal life; and all so, quite admirably.


Life threw many curve balls at her, but what kept her going? Here’s what she had to say about that. 👇


“I had always been a competitive person. Even as a student, I couldn’t stand missing out on being in the toppers list. That’s a good quality to have, of course, but then, it doesn’t really help you when failure actually knocks on your door, unpredictably.

Being on top of my game, in anything and everything that I did, ultimately became the cause of my depression. I hit rock bottom when I failed to complete my Ph.D. despite putting in four years of my life into it. Self-doubt crept in even more when I was framed and blamed for the failure of things I was not involved in. Thoughts like, “Am I really that incapable? “, “I really must be a good-for-nothing, why else would such things happen with me?” haunted me for days and gave me many sleepless nights. It was around this time that thoughts of self-harm started making their way into my mind too.

Not only was I not prepared for such a failure but I was not sure what to do with my life anymore either. I was jobless and insisted on being left alone most of the time. But the ones who really care don’t really leave, not when they see you like that. It was then that these people became my strength. I couldn’t put them through the pain of losing me completely, as I could already see them breaking slowly as my spirit broke too. I wanted to get better for them. I found the solace and motivation I was looking for, in friendship, family and luckily enough, even love. These three helped me get back on my feet, stronger than before.

Stand-up was something of an impulse. I saw an ad somewhere for an open-mic and thought, “Hey! Why not? I hardly have anything to lose anymore.” The first performance wasn’t that great but it helped me come out of my shell. It also gave me a platform where I could use my experiences to make others laugh. I started living on the motto of “If you can laugh at yourself, you have life at your feet”

Nautanki is what most people close to me refer to me as. Now I have a platform where I can actually be one and get appreciated for it. As for my passion for dancing, it got lost somewhere during my Ph.D. pursuing years. It gave and continues to give me a joy like nothing else. So it became another stress-buster alongside my new found love for stand-up.

Once I had these two going, I stopped worrying about a full-time job. Just then, my current job as a professor landed in my lap, quite unexpectedly. I experienced the effects of positive vibes and outlook, firsthand that day!

I rebooted my life and have now been reborn; a phoenix risen from my own ashes. The one most important lesson I learnt? Getting too serious about anything or counting on just one option never works. We need to make room for alternatives and be open to trying out new things, in order to continue living, and more importantly to survive.”


Here are a few external links to her works (as a professional dancer)



2 thoughts on “Creativity & Strength Go A Long Way ~ A Professor, Dancer & Stand-up Comic Shares Her Story”

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