On International Women’s Day, the t2 campus team picks 11 women who inspire them
From being one of Google’s first 20 employees to Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer’s vision and her resolution to rise up in the male-dominated corporate world make us look up to her. Apart from being on the boards of various Fortune 500 companies, she’s at the helm of affairs of several non-profits and museums.
The 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand is the world’s youngest head of state at age 37. She’s also made headlines recently when she chose to continue working through her pregnancy, while her husband chose to stay at home to take care of her baby, when it would arrive. Who could have asked for a more fitting 21st century Girl Boss?
At the age of 24, Emma Watson was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and her speech for the promotion of the #HeforShe campaign still moves us. She not only stood up for the Time’s Up movement but also taught us the true meaning of feminism.
Also: Jennifer Lawrence, for her philanthropic work.
We love how Lady Gaga has always promoted strong messages through her songs. She urged people to raise their voices against sexual assault on college campuses as part of the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign, started by former US president Barack Obama and his vice-prez Joe Biden. But what we are inspired by most is her determination and strength to stay true to who she is, the way she is. #BornThisWay
Also: Alicia Keys, for her stand on equality and justice.
Her fiction is not the only reason why we love her so much. We are also moved by her vocal support for environment causes and call for the preservation of human rights.
We love this 25-year-old for her simple, folk poetry-inspired lines of verse that express so much with so little. Thanks to her, poetry has been introduced to a new generation. Even the aesthetics of what constitutes poetry has changed for us after her books. What inspires us the most is that she uses her writing to start necessary conversations in pop culture and break stigmas about issues like menstruation.
She not just survived a traumatic childhood but broke barriers to become the richest African-American. We love how she utilises her immense wealth and power for various social causes. She also revolutionised the chat show format with The Oprah Winfrey Show, which raised so many important issues. She is the shero we all worship.
Also: Ellen DeGeneres, host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, for being a trailblazer and giving visibility to gay actors on television by coming out almost 22 years ago.
Once the fastest bowler in women’s cricket, Jhulan has become the first and, currently, only woman to reach the milestone of 200 wickets in ODIs. She has inspired girls — in India and abroad — to pick up the cherry and bowl fast and hard, and we are in awe of the “Chakdah Express”.
Known as the ‘Missile Woman’ of India, Tessy Thomas is a rocket scientist and the first female engineer to head a missile project in the country. From looking after her family and younger siblings after her father’s paralysis to being at the helm of the Agni-IV missile project, Tessy’s journey has proved that a woman can do anything she wants.
We love the reigning queen of Bollywood. She inspires us with the hard work that has taken her from mediocre in Om Shanti Om to phenomenal in Piku. She is an inspiration in real life too, coming out and talking about depression, which plagues people young and old but is still taboo in our society.
While Vidya Balan’s acting has always been appreciated, she has been severely trolled because of her weight. The way she hits back at them and carries herself with dignity makes her a shero for us. She taught us never to be ashamed of who we are. Bold and unapologetic. What is not to love?
Text: Sulogna Ghosh, Rushati Mukherjee, Ravjit Singh and Debolina Banerjee
BAR TO KITCHEN, CONSOLE TO GATE — T2 MEETS THE WOW WOMEN AT THE PARTY PADS
Head chef at M Bar Kitchen and Ozora
A hotel management degree holder from IHM Bangalore, Tania started her career in The Park kitchen. Now she feeds hundreds of guests at the Park Street and Acropolis Mall party addresses.
One thing you have learnt from your profession?
There is no substitute for hard work. This is not a profession where the growth is super fast. One has to be consistent and patient. Being a chef has helped me explore my creative side and grow as a person.
The most challenging part of your job: It is challenging when there are many people working under you and some of them are older than you. Often it gets very difficult for them to take orders from a woman, that too someone younger than them.
Most memorable compliment: From Wasim Akram, who happens to be one of my favourite cricketers. He wanted to have something meaty but I pushed him to have Seafood Ravioli, which he loved so much that he wanted to know the recipe!
The first dish you ever cooked: It was sauteed mushrooms as a kid because I love mushrooms.
One dish you find challenging to cook: An omelette or a both-sides-cooked sunny-side up! It takes a lot of patience to get it right.
Fave ingredients: Butter, garlic and chillies.
A celebrity you have cooked for: Wasim Akram, and Mayur and Rocky (from Highway On My Plate).
Pushpa Pandey, Michelle Paul
PR team and gate managers at Club Boudoir
Great friends, party pals and colleagues — (l-r) Pushpa and Michelle are high on style but difficult to impress if you want to enter the party pad on Shakespeare Sarani.
Best thing you love about your job: We love the fact that we get to meet and interact with so many new people each day. It never feels boring or monotonous. And meeting people builds your network too.
A challenge you have faced screening the crowd at the gate: Screening and stopping someone at the gate means a big problem for many people who take it personally and get aggressive and abusive. Many a time it has happened that we have gone to a club and people have pointed at us and said, ‘She is the one who had stopped us.’
One thing you have learnt from your profession: To not answer back to a person who is using foul language. The best thing is to wear a smile and ignore. Else the person will only continue.
A funny incident you remember: So many of them! Once someone came dressed as a traffic policeman, thinking it was a fancy dress competition.
Celebs you would never stop at the gate: Hrithik Roshan and Kim Kardashian!
Celebs you would stop at the gate: Shakti Kapoor and KRK!
Resident DJ at M Bar Kitchen
The Bokaro girl came to Calcutta to be a DJ because music was her passion, but she kept her profession under wraps from her parents fearing she would be called back home. After an opening stint at Xrong Place, she joined M Bar Kitchen.
One thing you have learnt from your profession: Never give up on your dreams. People over the years have accepted that women can’t go beyond a certain level and I wanted to prove them wrong by becoming a DJ and I did!
The most challenging part of your job: I think DJing is about having an ear for music, an understanding of the crowd and the atmosphere, and technical skills. These things are not gender-specific, unlike what some people think. The profession is challenging in itself as one has to be constantly updated about the music scenario and music trends.
Most memorable moment: Has to be when Martin Garrix dropped in at M Bar Kitchen for the after-party of Sunburn Arena in 2016. The whole time I admired him and thought to myself that’s where I wanna be one day.
Most bizarre song request you got: I was playing during peak hours on a Saturday. Someone came and asked me to play the title track of Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. I was like what the hell!
One song you will never play: PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen) by Pikotaro.
A genre you wished was big in Calcutta: Reggae because it is so groovy, and also tropical house.
Rockstar server at Hard Rock Cafe
Drop by HRC on Park Street and you will find the 26-year-old interacting with guests and serving them their food with a smile. She knows the long HRC menu by heart, and if you are lost between the pages, she’s the one to look for.
The best thing about your job: That I can be myself! I love talking to people and as women we do take care of things at home, which I do here also. I love knowing what the guests liked and taking their feedback.
The most challenging part of your job: Breaking the ice with the guys on the first day of a job and bonding with them. I have been blessed with a great team who are encouraging and co-operative.
One thing you would never tell your guest: No matter how crowded the place is, I will never ask my guest to leave.
Most memorable compliment: It was by a foreign guest who said I had good eyes — eyes to observe and my eyes in general.
How do you deal with cocky customers?
Being patient, that helps me be calm. If things don’t settle down, I let the manager know and leave it to my seniors to deal with it.
Funniest thing you have heard at a table: It was when I served a guest Chicken Wings, he asked me if the Chicken would fly. I told him, once you have it, it will give you wings to fly!
Customer satisfaction or tip, what makes you happy?
Always customer satisfaction, because if the guest is happy the latter will follow.
Bouncer at Nocturne
This spunky single mom is a troubleshooter at the Shakespeare Sarani hotspot. Fondly called “Arpitadi” by party regulars, she has been guarding the gates at Nocturne for six years, having started her career as a nightlife bouncer at Underground. The 35-year-old is hard to dodge, is soft-spoken but knows how to get her way.
How did you become a bouncer?
I always wanted to be in the police but due to various circumstances, things didn’t work out. My friends encouraged me to join the security line and then I became a bouncer.
The most challenging part of your job: This job requires a lot of physical strength. The challenging part is when a brawl breaks out inside the club on a busy Saturday night. Figuring out what is happening and who is trying to create trouble becomes difficult with a packed house and the music.
What change have you seen in the crowd over the years?
I feel there used to be fewer fights before because back then people used to come to just have a good time. Nowadays I feel there is a lot of attitude in people and some deliberately try to blow things out of proportion.
Fave time of the night: It is definitely when guests wish me good night and bye happily after having a great time. To see them go home after enjoying is the best feeling and a relief.
A funny incident you remember: There are several ones that I have seen over the years. Once a father and his son came to party separately, without informing each other, and guess what, they saw each other and looked away to avoid meeting face to face.
A common line you hear at the gate: “You know who I am?” and “Tumko main dekh lungi.” These lines have never changed over the years.
Guest Relation Associate, Roxy, The Park
If you go to Roxy, you cannot miss Tsalila at the bar. The 29-year-old stirs up a drink while also settling bills like a rock star. From suggesting a drink to a patron to keeping a tab on the number of drinks consumed, the charming Tsalila makes it look so easy.
The most challenging part of your job: I have been blessed with very supportive colleagues but when I had started out, it was difficult to fit in among the boys. But with time it became smooth. The only challenge was changing my personal style. Earlier I used to be more of a dress and heels person but now I’m more a sneakers and pants person. But I love my make-up! (Laughs)
One thing you have learnt from your profession: To be very strong and to not trust anyone very easily. You get a lot of attention from across the bar but you should be mature enough to handle it.
Most cherished moment: The best feeling for me is when we get guests who just come to sit and talk with me because I am by nature a good talker and then they have a drink and go happy.
The first drink you ever made: Long Island Iced Tea. It is one of the most popular drinks and one has to know how to make it.
A drink that is your speciality: Dahi Banana Margarita. It is almost like a dessert cocktail!
A celebrity you have made a drink for: Sushant Singh Rajput. I made a Grey Goose vodka with tonic for him.
Text: Pramita Ghosh
Pictures B. Halder
What is your message for these wow women?