Meet the SHEROES - Mukta Naik
An architect and urban planner by training, Mukta Naik is a researcher, writer and practitioner with an interest in inclusive cities. Her focus areas are migration, affordable housing, participative planning and community-centric urban design. A consultant and advisor with several NGOs and start-ups, Mukta is affiliated to New Delhi-based micro Home Solutions City Lab. She also teaches at the School of Planning and Architecture. Mukta is an avid blogger, travel enthusiast and kathak dancer. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband and two children. We talk to her in an interview
Tell us more about you and what you do.
I'm an urban planner by profession, so I research and write about urban issues as well as work on urban projects especially related to low-income housing and inclusiveness. I teach architecture students for a few hours every week at the School of Planning and Architecture. I am also a prolific blogger, a kathak dancer and a mother of two. I enjoy doing several thing at the same time and believe that if there is passion and a will, it's possible to make time for everything.
How do you make the work-life balance work for you?
I am driven by passion, so balance is not the word I would associate with me. My children anchor me and inspire me. Because I prioritise them, I stick to a schedule and remain disciplined. But for the most part, I keep chipping away at the things I love doing and somehow it all comes together. This means many late nights and early morning, weekends spent snatching work or dance practice time between social commitments and many other such small adjustments. But its all worth it to feel fulfilled and to inspire my children to also follow their dreams.
What is one most valuable advice you will give someone starting a career in architecture?
I never practiced architecture, though I did study it. I feel every person has unique abilities, so even if you are trained in architecture, keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to try new things and explore your talent. Its never too late to explore new avenues at work and architects are trained to think creatively as well as analytically, so don't get stuck inside stereotypes.
Message to all SHEROES out there.
Use diplomacy and brutal honesty as the two razor sharp edges of a double-edged sword. When used intelligently, each at the right time, its possible to tackle the toughest of situations, be it a complex family matter or a niggling issue at work. Women, especially, lead happier lives when we teach ourselves to get rid of that superfluous emotion called guilt! Taking out time for yourself is the most important mantra, even as we respect everyone around us. Be your own SHERO first, everything else will follow!