ODD-CAT believes in the philosophy of celebration. I celebrate not just festivals / occasions but also people who are admirable and inspirational in more ways than one. It’s Women’s Day and I couldn’t think of a better day to express how I overwhelmed I am, thinking of the women who not only have accomplished but also inspired. The very first person who comes to my mind is my mum (no surprises here) who has made me who I am today and also set an example of a brave woman in my life. Truly, standing up for what’s right and expressing her thoughts no matter what day or age it may have been. Also, she is part reason to why I am ODD-CAT. From my childhood, I remember- I would love to dress up and will perpetually drive her crazy over my clothes etc. All she would say to me was- wear whatever you want to wear, as long as you carry it! This kind of stayed with me to an extent that I would OVERDRESS and then work the hell outta it!
Shruti Kapur Malhotra
(Editor-in-chief: Platform Magazine) Editor of a “one of a kind” talent magazine that also shares the same philosophy of “recognizing & celebrating” people!
We asked her a few questions that give us an insight into her “beautiful mind”.
- Describe your journey as a magazine editor of a talent magazine. It’s exciting, challenging and extremely inspiring.
- Who would you pick as “new talent on the block” in the world of women? Any genre. Avani Rai, Photographer, Shubhangi Swarup, Writer
- What is your take on #metoo movement in India? Any story/ incident you’d like to share. I stand for ethical and responsible artistic and individual practices and extend my support to the #metoo movement.
- Who is your favorite style icon? What’s your personal style like? Don’t really have a style icon. My personal style leans more towards comfort and functionality. However, I like to add that one twisted/ unassuming element to the look.
- Tell us a bit about yourself- your profession & life interests. I am a design addict who has enjoyed a prolific innings in the world of aesthetics. In the world of fashion, ahead of the time, I founded the first ever India born kids wear label Li’l Tomatoes. 2015, with BollyGoods, I found yet another creative bastion in bringing tinsel town to the capital city like never before.
- Describe your journey as a woman- a curator, singer and photographer: a woman of many talents. I am a trained singer of classical and popular Indian music whose performing career is expanding. I produced a contemporary version of Vande Mataram– Re Strung bringing home a strong gender message that “Mother, through you we become men of tomorrow”. The single was launched by Universal Music and is available on iTunes, Amazon, Artist Aloud, Airtel, Vodafone etc. I have now taken on photography and exploring the world (through my lens), Kumbh being the latest.
- What’s your take on #metoo movement in India? Any story/ incident you’d like to share? I have been a strong woman from the very beginning and did not ever have to bend forward for any favors. God has been great. But having said that, this movement has certainly raised awareness among women about their rights as individuals in the work place or outside and helped men understand the consequences of the same. Only when we have strong characters and stand up for our rights, will justice prevail.
- Who is your favorite style icon? What’s your personal style like? Anaita Shroff Adajania & Sarah Jessica Parker. My Style – Comfortable, Boho; Mix & Match and make my own statement.
- Tell us a bit about yourself- your profession & life interests. I am a Fashion Designer and run a design studio in Delhi, doing mostly Indian Wear & Fusion Wear for Women & now kids.
- Describe your journey as a woman- from a daughter to a wife to a mom and back to being a daughter. I know you have made some life choices and would love to know how it defines you, now. My journey hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it. From being a li’l rebel to being a fulfilled woman, it has been a roller coaster to say the least. I have always followed my dreams whether it was studying subjects of my choice (Fashion Graduate from Pearl Academy of Fashion, MBA from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management) or running a small design studio that was a 40km self-driven trek (with 2 tiny toddlers) or donating an organ to my father. It has always been challenging but extremely fulfilling, to say the least. However, my toughest times were recuperating after I (willingly and happily) donated a kidney to my ailing father. The surgery was successful for my dad and I, but what came after was a blow! Not prepared for never-ending physio sessions to hormonal imbalances to constant medical tests, it was physically and emotionally draining. But, thanks to my spiritual leanings in Guruji & Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, I have battled it all, showing the power of manifestation. There’s not a dream I haven’t fulfilled- latest being my meeting with Mr. Amitabh Bacchan. I met him not as a fan but as Mamta Agarwal, a proud organ donor who is inspiring lives.
- What’s your take on #metoo movement in India? Any story/ incident you’d like to share. I am totally in support of the #metoo movement. I believe it’s very important for all women to make a mark of their own and it’s not easy looking at the roles we play as a woman. However, we should come out and support each other and celebrate womanhood. About sharing an incident- I remember, as a child, my only scare was not to get raped (naturally so, looking at the state of our society). But, my mom- being a strong woman, taught me to be one. Once, I had gone to a gold links mela. I must have been around 11 or 12 years old and this guy came beside me and touched me from behind. I was scared and was crying when my aunt asked me what was going on. I told her about this slimy fellow behind us and she turned around and slapped him hard across his face. Later, she told me to do the same thing and not be scared of such perverts. In my growing years, my brother and my mom would tell me how safety is important and how I must be strong and look after myself. Today, I have a teenage daughter and I have inculcated the same values into her- of being strong, independent and never being defeated.
- Who is your favorite style icon? And what’s tour personal style like? My most fav style icon is Sonam Kapoor and my friend, Aanchal (not saying this because she’s featuring me in this), the founder of ODD-CAT. I have always loved the way she dresses up and carries herself in whatever she wears. My personal style is simple, elegant and comfortable. I love dressing up for myself on a daily basis. I am dressed for the work and use make up daily to look the part. I think dressing up for me is an extension to myself. I had got custom hospital gowns/ sleep sets for myself post surgery because I didn’t want to look and feel like a patient. Talk about obsession with style. And finally, my biggest secret to look good and feel good is meditation.
- Tell us a bit about yourself- your profession & life interests. I have been the creative food head at Cremica Foods. Developed all sauces and condiments for 15 years. Had bakery passion and continued to work on that too. Successfully ran a home bakery in Punjab for many years.
- Did you at any point want to give up? If yes, how did you push forward? I moved to Delhi from Punjab, 10 years back and almost gave up work as settling in took time. Also, the fear of bigger city and making a mark here looked daunting. Coaxing from my kids made me give it a try and that’s how Zoet came about. The happy customer feedback keeps us trying to better ourselves. And, we are growing.
- What’s your take on #metoo movement in India? Any story/ incident you’d like to share? I hope that sharing and standing together with many has helped women become stronger.
- Who is your favorite style icon? What’s your personal style like? Favorite style icons are many- from Audrey Hepburn to Madonna to both my mothers to many more. My take back from them is whatever you wear, wear it with confidence, because that’s what gets projected not the clothes, they are always no.2. Personally, I’m best in edgy but comfy clothes!
(Wedding Planner & Hospitality Consultant)
- Tell us a bit about yourself- your profession & life interests. I have been very fortunate to have lived a life filled with diversity & intercultural experiences having grown up in the Middle East and studied and worked in the US & India. This has given me best friends all over the world and an intrinsic nomadic spirit which has only been further fuelled by a very loving, crazy and absolutely rock solid family😍. I am a strong believer that a well defined purpose is really all we can own and that ultimately becomes our security blanket . I attempt this through our intellectual property ‘The Bespoke Woman’. My hobbies include writing, travelling to quaint places, cooking for my family and friends and eating good food.
- Did you ever at any point think to give up? I have never wanted to give up on my profession. However, there was a time when I needed to slow down a little bit to realign our strategy and modus operandi.
- What’s take on #Metoo movement in India? Is there any story you would like to share? It is a bold movement that I support wholeheartedly. There should be a structured, swift punishment to anyone found guilty. Cases shouldn’t drag on either as it takes its toll on the victims/survivors and all matter is lost. I have not had such an experience & I truly empathise with any individual who has. If I did encounter an individual who made an unparliamentary move, I would ensure severe punishment for the perpetrator and make them incapable of even thinking in a twisted manner, leave alone making a physical move.
- Who is your personal style icon? Any style tips and your personal style? My three biggest style icons are Sushmita Sen, Salma Hayek and Meryl Streep. Flatter your assets but also be comfortable. My personal style is very elegantly sexy but definitely comfortable.
(Management Consulting Manager- Accenture)
- Tell us a bit about yourself- your profession & life interests. I work with clients to transform the way organisations work in today’s digital age and am truly passionate about people matters and the intersection of technology and human behaviour. Other interests include music, travelling and calligraphy.
- Did you ever at any point want to give up? Yes – excess work hours and nonstop travel made didn’t let me focus on myself, family or friends! I am constantly making a conscious effort to bring in a balance.
- What is your take on me too in india? Any story you would like to share? First time women (and men) came together in one voice but the campaign needs to sustain itself to truly bring change. Multiple stories to share – name calling on the way to school, autodrivers/Uber Driver’s making inappropriate remarks and looking at places they have no business to, being groped by a random man at the age of 8 in a random delhi market to name a few.
- Who is your personal style icon? Any style tips and your personal style? Deepika Padukone – keep it simple and classy! Highlight one thing and one thing at a time only – for example, either go for strong eyes or heavy lips. Similarly, keep the clothes simple and go for one contrasting accessory – for me it’s typically some sort of jewellery.
Celebrating people is a complete joy. More so, when we are talking about women who are always putting their best foot forward. Happy Women’s Day y’all! Keep Shining.