Meet the SHEROES - Rohini Vij
Do you still remember the days when your mother or grandmother sat at your bedside reading you stories? Those were the days that got etched in most of our minds and hearts. Today we feature a young parent and professional story teller - Rohini Vij who thrives on teaching children through the lost art of storytelling. Why did she opt to make this a career? It's interesting to know!
Rohini Vij, our SHERO today recently also authoured her first book - The Silver Lining. She shares her thoughts with us here,
What line of work are you currently in?
I run an early learning centre for children by the name of NutSpace, it is a division of Inknuts Multimedia Solutions. At NutSpace, I focus on three fundamental learning aspects - Explore, Create, Grow. Our sessions are a mix of dramatised storytelling, fun and educational music, body movements, and art and craft in theme with the story being told. The focus of our sessions is to reinforce creative thinking while building literacy skills. We have a range of programs for children aged 1-15 years and training programs for teachers, corporates and even parents and grandparents - basically anybody wanting to learn the art of storytelling!
All our sessions and training modules have stories as the apex element of learning.
How did the inspiration to enter this field of work come about?
I was a part of the corporate workforce in New Delhi for about eight years. In those eight years I worked in fields like public relations, publishing, corporate communication and even the disability sector. All along I craved for a creative outlet. In fact while in school and college, it was only on the stage that I always found myself. The stage beckoned me but the cost of living 'comfortably' in a metropolitan city did not allow me much time to find a creative outlet. In 2011 we were blessed with a baby and along came a whirlwind change of shifting cities for family support. We moved to my husband's hometown Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
I began reading stories to my son Viraaj while I was carrying him, after he was born we found solace in books and stories in a new city. I often found myself performing for my son and getting a fabulous response from him. I tried reaching out to other mums like me in Kanpur for play dates. Sadly I discovered that entertainment for children in Kanpur meant only a trip to the mall. Parents mostly stepped out for social calls minus their kids and there were no book clubs, libraries or even book stores here. I invited the few mothers, I knew in Kanpur, for the first storytelling session, at home. I was nervous and excited. It was all falling in place bit by bit. I was thrilled when most of them decided to continue. This was when we officially rented a space for NutSpace and set it up. Since then there has been no looking back. Long story short - Motherhood is my inspiration!
You've written a book recently - The Silver Lining - tell us your thoughts behind it and other ventures / projects you have in mind?
It is my dream to take storytelling to the classroom. I believe if children are taught by way of stories the learning is fun and permanent. Stories, which rely so much on words, offer a major and constant source of life and language experience for children. Stories are motivating and memorable, and stimulate imagination thereby creating a love of stories that translates into a potentially life-long love of books.
The Silver Lining is my first step towards take storytelling to the classroom. It is a simple story about the formation of cumulus clouds. It is also a tale of friendship, benevolence and hope (age group 4-8 years). Currently I am working on an anthology of short stories for children (age group 7-12 years) on childhood fears, school life, friendship, challenges of growing up, and a couple more stories for the classroom (Science, Maths, History and Geography).
What challenges do you face as a mother and working woman?
As a mother and working woman I am constantly juggling. My day starts very early and ends late but I couldn't be happier! Yes there are days when I feel envious of all the mothers who can accompany their children to activity classes, play dates, and more. There are days when I feel terrible for not picking up my son from school. I miss catching up on those precious after school moments and feel awfully guilty about it. But I am trying - trying to balance work and motherhood, work and domestic duties, work and my relationships. I am juggling. Then I look at the positives, the biggest being, that I can take my son to work. I make sure he attends almost all my sessions. That makes up for some of the guilt pangs, yes.
I have seen myself fail in a few roles I am expected to play, it is upsetting but one cannot ace every role one plays, can they? I constantly tell myself that it is not possible to keep everyone happy - it is all about setting one's priorities - for me they are my son and my work.
As a working mother, the challenges are many but a supportive spouse can make the life of a working mother slightly 'guilt' free. Parenting is all about sharing responsibilities and I am fortunate to have a very supportive and understanding husband who makes it a lot more easier for me to work towards achieving my professional dreams.
What advice would you give other Sheroes?
Building a company is like nurturing a baby, it needs everything in the right proportion especially patience and time. At times you might feel you should go faster than your normal pace. You might feel you are lagging behind. Be kind to yourself and remember that all you can do each day is get as much done as you possibly can and move on the next day. Make time for yourself even if it's just to breathe and smell the air.