Sasilekha Nair, who was crowned Mrs India Kerala 2018 recently, has a unique take on life as a woman. One's wedding and having kids shouldn't be the reason for woman to stay away from the 'true self,' she says.
“Every woman is unique and bringing up children is part of her job. The fact is several qualified women, who have been working but are unable to afford a nanny to look after children, may give up their jobs. But when the children are grown up, these woman are still in their prime and are ready for their second innings. But by then, they might have crossed the age limit for many jobs. It's time we give such women a second chance. The job sector and even the government can take initiatives in this regard,” she says.
Sasilekha Nair, who won the crown during the grand finale of Mrs India 2018 held at Feathers Radha hotel Chennai on July 30, is a Bharatanatyam dancer, an entrepreneur, and mother of two.
Mrs India, the largest pageant for married women in India and widely regarded as the gateway to premium international pageants, is conducted by Mrs India Pageants Production Pvt Ltd. under the directorship of Deepali Phadnis.
Sasilekha was mentored by Pratibha Saunshimath, regional director of the pageant, and emerged winner competing with 71 contestants across India, during a gruelling 5-day event.
Based in Bengaluru, Sasilekha is the managing director of the IT firm IQ Matrix Infoways Solution Pvt Ltd, Technopark Thiruvanathapuram. Her 15-year-old elder daughter Swati is a class X student and younger one, Jahnavi, 9, is in class IV. Sasilekha's husband, Rajeev Kumar Pillai, is with IBM, Bengaluru.
For Sasilekha, the Mrs India contest was incidental. “I came across the information about the contest on social media,” she told Onmanorama. “Unlike other beauty contests, this event focused on the intrinsic qualities of a woman. I was even bowled over by the message they conveyed, that they were looking for role models, not just models,” she said.
A postgraduate in English literature and a graduate in Microbiology, Sasilekha says she was not a career woman and was exposed to different kinds of lifestyles. In her school days, she used to visit most north India as her father was in the Indian army. After marriage, she lived in London for a while. A taste of different cultures has given her a wider perspective of life and humanity.
This also helped her groom herself for the event. And when the judges at the Mrs India asked her to choose a profession between a doctor, an engineer and a farmer, she readily said, 'farmer.' Her answer, “I would like to be farmer to save humanity from massive destruction and promote organic food that will eventually bring about a radical change in health related issues,” was spontaneous and she went on to score the highest points.
The Mrs India final was packed with more than seven different theme photo-shoots, personal videos shoot, acting, workshops like table etiquette, Odissi dance style presentations, self make-up in three different styles, silumbum (martial art using sticks) and so on along with tests like quick learning ability, spontaneous speech and personal interview.
The final started on July 26 with a press meet with all contestants dressed in white Ravi Verma painting style theme. The event drew to a close on the evening of July 30 when 71 contestants dressed in different regional attires mesmerized the audience.
Taking care of household and company affairs in Bengaluru and with frequent visits to her firm in Thiruvanathapuram, Sasilekha is a busy bee. Yet, she always makes it a point to visit her parents at Kattoor in Pathanamthitta district. The 39-year-old fitness enthusiast, who prides herself for being chosen for the crown from among younger women, has one important message for all those not-so-young woman out there – 'opportunities never dry up, no matter how aged you are. Not all doors stay closed - there will be always one door open for you.'