Gourmetdelight, A Journey From Taj to Startup of The Year 2018

Images of Raka Chakrawarti, founder of Gourmetdelight in her store, in a round table conference, With an Award in hand for first runnerup Retail Startup of the year 2018.

“When something is important enough you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” —- Elon Musk That’s exactly what Raka Chakrawarti did when she set out to start Gourmetdelight. Having spent 10 years at Indian Hotels, she quit the organization in 2013 as Director of Public Relations for Taj and Director of Content Marketing for Indian Hotels to follow her passion – to set up an outlet that provides differentiated food items. At that time there was not much happening in this domain. There was a fledgling awareness about organic and free-range produce. Only a few outlets in five-star hotels were dealing in organic and free-range produce. For the common household awareness and accessibility to such produce was limited. The Taj group had previously explored the organic/free range food concept with its restaurant ‘Pure’, however the concept did not have many takers at that time. Raka liked the concept of Pure and wanted to do more with it. She could gauge that the tide would change and with increasing levels of awareness the Indian consumers would very soon want to know more about what they are consuming and where it is coming from. This self-awareness would create a need for natural produce and that’s what Gourmetdelight would cater to. Having spent a decade in a job she loved, shaking her comfort zone was not an easy decision to make. Raka experienced a lot of turmoil and kept pushing her decision to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Finally, […]

Career Tracking, Yardstick To Achieve Excellence

Image courtesy: timeshighereducation “Anything that is measured and watched, improves” – Bob Parsons It’s true that work becomes our secondary life. Something so cherished requires constant introspection not only for the Individual, but for the Organization as well. Since ample energy, efforts and manpower is spent at work, it becomes inevitable to ensure it’s on a progressive path. While some start their careers in their respective field, some might opt for greener pastures offering better monetary compensation. Though in the beginning stages it’s reasonable to experiment, there comes a phase where settling in and constant self-evaluation becomes a must. The important aspect of Career Tracking is to be cognizant of the person’s academic proficiency, areas of expertise and then setting deterministic career goals accordingly. Having short term goals and evaluating them at regular intervals yields better results. If an individual is feeling stuck in a job that does not add value, it’s better to make a lateral move in the related field to enhance learning and experience. Also, it’s perfectly fine to take a break, sharpen one’s skills and make a comeback. In today’s era, many companies offer mentorship programs. Apart from imparting knowledge and sharing best practices, such associations do help in understanding where one’s career stands and suggests the improvements needed. If in course of time, an individual is unable to pace up with the set targets, it’s always wise to seek help from peers or mentors.Also, continuous learning ensures to bridge the skill gap and stay relevant […]

All About Blogging

Image Courtesy – Pixabay, Frontier.com Networking has shrunk the earth’s size into a global village. Numerous non-technical opportunities are trending in recent years. Women, nowadays are more inclined to switch to a career that offers  flexibility to work from home, to balance their work and personal life in an efficient way. If you are one among them then Blogging is a best option. Recently I received an invite to attend a Bloggers meet, to my dismay the participants were quite finite compared to the meet held at other locations. Soon I realized that due to lack of motivation many don’t take blogging as a career option. What is Blogging? – A catalogue of all your work done till date I remember seven years ago I was a fresher with an offer letter on my hand. I dint receive my date of joining, so I planned to enroll myself for any internship in an organization. I along with two other friends joined an organization as an intern without any pay. They dealt in customizing Word Press into a website as per client’s requirement. We three had a mentor who motivated us in understanding the fundamentals of the industry. During our tea break he encouraged us to create our own blogs and other social handles in order to get acquaintance with the latest trends and get contacts to nourish our growth. One of us asked our mentor how a blog would be useful in building our future in the industry. His reply was “A […]

The Art Of Balancing Act

The Art of Balancing Act - Woman balancing and walking on a string

Image Courtesy: mapixel.freegreatpicture.com We all are faced with challenges and choices. Most often a woman has to make a choice between work and family, career and marriage. Well, one does not need to be sacrificed for the other. Both are equally important and contribute in totality to a woman’s life. They can very well coexist with a little smart planning and doing what we call is the balancing act. Here are a few tips that can be followed to master the balancing act.   Accept the change: Most women try to continue the lifestyle they had before marriage, after marriage too. Though this is not an unusual expectation to have, it is an unusual experience for sure. Changes will come. Priorities will change and things may not seem as before. But that’s what it’s all about. To accommodate that change into the current lifestyle. Accepting it makes the transition easier. Further as the brood increases with children, lifestyle will change more. A loud jarring tv channel with constant swaps, or a fight for the remote may replace a quiet evening watching your favorite Tv channel. That’s absolutely fine. Maybe an occasional quiet evening someday will help in rejuvenating.   Balance and not juggle: Most people get confused between balancing and juggling. Juggling is doing too many things at the same time whereas balancing is the art of prioritizing and doing things one by one. A work life balance is achieved when a bit of priority is marked to certain activities. Anything that […]

Identity Of A Woman

Image Courtesy: cloudfront.net “Women can’t have it all” said Indira Nooyi and I could not agree more with it. As a working professional who quit work to embrace motherhood full time, I have gone through moments where I have wondered, “What defines us?” Are we defined by our qualifications or positions held, or are we defined by our relationships or are we defined by our material possessions? Or are we hostage to all of these. These thoughts arise more often when people around me judge my decision not to work. Life is a journey and we are defined by the experiences that we have during this journey. Whether these experiences of life were good or bad depends on perspective. There are a lot of women I come across in situations like myself, who are not happy with their situation. Lot of working women with kids back home are not happy. Again, it’s a matter of perspective towards the choices that we make in life. For a woman staying back at home there is a whole new array of avenues to explore. Be it being active in kids’ schools, cooking, painting, writing, meditation, you name it and a newer experience is awaiting you. Every experience teaches us something in life and makes it richer and more meaningful. The fact that you are not currently in the workforce does not subtract anything from your identity except a paycheque. Not only do you have more time for yourself now, you also have time […]

The Joy Of New Beginnings With A Right Job

The Joy of new beginnings - Image of a girl in scenic green background looking at a sign board reading - The best time for new beginnings is now

Image Courtesy: Pixabay   “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”– Lewis Carroll   More often than not, many of us are set with the question “Am I doing the right Job“? “Am I fit for this role“?  “Should I pursue my hobby as a profession in parallel with my work”? After spending a number of years in the same field, it’s common for monotony to set in.  In the starting phase of career, some do compromise their ambition for a higher paying job that’s outside their interests. Owing to factors like personal constraints, work-life balance or monetary benefits, some might look to work for flexible working hours or projects with different challenges. Thankfully, in this day of rapid advancement in technology, the world has open doors for opportunities that were hitherto only dreams. Alternate career can rejuvenate us from the boredom of routine, whether pursued mainstream or in parallel with existing work. It certainly takes courage to change the course and venture into the unknown after spending years in our comfort zone. While it’s always an option to reskill with new talents and embark on a journey in a different field, I believe that pursuing a career in one’s own areas of interest yields better results. If given a second chance in career, it’s fun to do something that sparks your curiosity. Choosing an alternate career, despite its hitches, […]

Work Like A Woman

Work like a woman article. Image of two doves flying in the sky - there is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise

Image Courtesy: freewallpapers.com How often is a woman irrespective of her age, caste or creed asked ” But you are a woman. How can you do this? Or “ Are you sure you can do this”?  Well, The answer to that question is “ Yes I am a woman, and that’s why I choose to do this”. It’s been far too long that women are still trying to break glass ceilings and are constantly answerable to the society at large. This question has not escaped the rich, famous, influential women too. Leave alone the underprivileged strata.   There are many roles that a woman essays as, a daughter, sister, wife, mother and she does so with much grace and élan. In fact, A woman is gifted with the art of multitasking and does a great job of balancing every aspect of her life. A day to day life demands physical, mental, and emotional strength to get through.  Yet, she often is made to crumble under the pressure of societal diktats. Unwritten rules that have no base or structure. It’s time to break the stereotypes of what career a woman should choose and what not. This seems to be the right time. A time to ignore and move away from anything and anyone that does not serve a higher purpose. And work towards realizing one’s own goals and dreams.   Women have shown their worth in what was thought to be  unconventional career choices. Be it cricket, Boxing or defending our […]

8 Guru Mantras For The New Age Woman

Image Courtesy: Freepik.com It’s been years since you left your job. Your kids are now in school and don’t need your constant time and attention. Your husband is settled in his job and progressing in his career. Where does that leave you?  In a state of transition of identity and self-confidence that affects a majority of women in late 20s, 30s and even 40s. It is a story of a lot of women as we settle down in our lives confining ourselves in bubbles of comfort not realizing this complacency will come back to bite us later in our lives. Read on to know how to break this bubble –   Take care of your health. While taking care of the entire family, husband and kids don’t ignore your own self. Only a fit person is able to live life to its fullest extent and being healthy leads to both physical and mental well-being. As women we are more prone to developing Diabetes, Cardio-vascular diseases as well as bone problems such as arthritis etc so keeping fit should not be a choice but a necessity. Go for a walk, exercise, do yoga or dance, do whatever you like but make it something which can’t be compromised. Healthy body leads to healthy mind and happy life.   Eat healthy. Make sure what goes inside the tummy is healthy. Be mindful of what you eat by making diet richer in calcium and proteins. Being a woman you need it more once you […]

Are You a Financially Independent and Empowered Woman?

Image courtesy: Freegreatpicture, Flickr.com You are a financially independent woman, but are you empowered to take money decisions at home? Sheena is a marketing head at an MNC in Gurgaon. Her take-home salary is around Rs 1 lakh per month. She is well-settled with her husband and one son. She loves indulging in the latest fashion wear and shoes. On the 3rd of every month when her salary gets credited, she goes on a shopping spree. She is also responsible for day-to-day budget management of her home – how much to pay to the maids, milkman, and so forth. However, if you ask how much she saves or invests, she has no clue. Her answer is, “Oh, my husband takes care of this stuff.” Is she financially independent in the real sense? No, she isn’t. In most families, it is the man of the house who is entrusted with the responsibility of key money matters. There is no issue with the husband, father, son or brother taking charge of financial decisions. It is not about not trusting the man of the house. It is not about feminism either. The question is why women don’t take the financial matters into their hands? There could be plenty of reasons: It is deep-rooted in our minds that men should do all money management in the house. Women don’t have the confidence to take independent financial decisions. Women lack awareness about how savings and investments work. Women don’t want to bear the additional burden […]

Sabbatical – A Pause & Resume Mode of Career

If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit. Sabbatical is quite an alarming term in every women’s career. Women often opt for it to make their personal transition smoother. I have a decent number of friends in my circle who neither want to give up their career at any cost nor willing to take any break and to my surprise their opinion about sabbatical is more or less similar “I will be outdated and I wouldn’t get any opportunities after this”. Their outlook towards sabbatical is a mirage that has been created over years. While drafting this post I was collecting stories of non-Celebrity woman with successful comeback post hiatus who can inspire you and keep your spirits alive. But I couldn’t prevent myself telling you about Sudha Murthy & Mary Kom. I know you all might have read about them. If you see them through my eyes then you would really find them distinct from other high profile woman.                                                                           Sudha Murthy  First Female Engineer at TELCO, Computer Scientist and Coder during initial days of Infosys. I read it somewhere that at a point Narayana Murthy told her that either of the two should take care of their start up and other should maintain their family. With a heavy heart she stepped […]