Anais Nin says,
“How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.”
In our #FridayFeature focusing on the #WonderWomen segment, today we’re proud to present a woman who had defied all societal norms and stereotypes by being single as well as successful. Meet, Miss. Deepika Shukla, who is the principal of one of the most prestigious schools in Surat, Presidency School. Under her leadership the school has become ‘something’ from ‘nothing’. But, her biggest achievement is that she has done it single-handedly. How did she manage to achieve such professional success and how does she deal with societal pressures? Let’s find out in her own words.
“I had a keen interest in literature and teaching from a very early age. Having read up on so many strong fictional women and the women who wrote these characters, I always knew I didn’t need a man by my side to achieve success or to prove my worth. I was raised in a small town, but my parents never restricted me. Neither were they of the thinking that a girl’s purpose is limited to taking care of the kitchen and the family.
This resulted in me getting access to a top-class education, firstly in my own town and later in the city of dreams, Mumbai. Living and studying in Mumbai opened my career options and even my thoughts as a person. It was during those years that my belief in myself grew and I decided not to succumb to matrimony if I didn’t find the right person, even if that meant waiting for a lifetime or never getting married.
My hard work paid off, at an early stage in my professional career when I met the right people, who believed in me, and despite my having just a few years of teaching experience, bestowed upon me the esteemed title of Principal of Presidency School.
It has been 22 years since the inception of this school and I’ve truly grown, as a person and in age too along with this institute. The struggles, in my personal life were and still are about my choice of being single, which though the questions have stopped, the judgments haven’t. But each statement about this choice of mine, either to my face or behind my back, makes me glad rather than sad about my decision, because in the end, I have made my life a success and that’s what matters to me.
My biggest inspiration and supporter is my mother. Her belief in me and her support in my decisions, have made me a strong-willed person. If not for her, I might have given up long back.
The lack or void of a life partner is more than filled up by my work which on most days I even happily carry back home with me and work on it till midnight. As for family, I consider my Presidency staff and its students my own. Outside the school, I have my brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews, who fill up my life with colour.
Both these families are enough motivation for me to wake up each day and give in my best and are even the reason I sleep peacefully with a satisfied smile on my face.
Yes, coming to an empty house is sometimes tough, especially when I’m unwell, but I’ve made myself self-sufficient and I don’t wallow in self-pity. Rather, I take that pill and nurse myself to wellness rather than relying on someone.
Life has been extremely kind professionally, and that for me is everything. Because only through my work I have got recognition and even the chance to meet one of my favorite authors, Jay Vasavda. That too not once but twice. And soon, I’m going to be meeting yet another one of my favorite authors. What’s more satisfying than that?
Too many women throw themselves into romance because they’re afraid of being single, then start making compromises and losing their identity and thanks to my choices I didn’t succumb to such notions. It takes immense will power though, so for me single is not a status, but rather a word that best describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.
Through it all, my learning has been to
“Appreciate being single because that’s when you grow the most & with that growth, you come to know what you’re looking for.”
& to all the single women out there, remember that
“The only thing we need to be rescued from is the notion that we need to be rescued.”
You can drop in a message to Miss Deepika Shukhla or know about Presidency School through the links below: