Falguni Vasavada never fails to light up any room she enters. Dressed in a bright pink sari, quirky earrings and bright lipstick, she is the closest we have found to Jab We Met’s Geet, proudly proclaiming ‘Main aapni favourite hoon!’
Vasavada, MICA professor and fashion blogger, is known for breaking rules in style. But it has taken decades to be the person she is today. Born and brought up in Rajkot, Vasavada had a protected childhood. She was brought up by her grandparents. Being the eldest child in the family, they doted on her.
With a doctorate in advertising, she started teaching in 1998, and joined MICA in 2004.
At 29, while she was a double gold medallist in management studies, the only thing her relatives thought of was her marriage. “Shaadi kab karungi became a bigger thing than all my achievements,” recalls Vasavada. But once she did, motherhood became a stumbling block. Vasavada had to deal with the trauma of infertility; with family members crossing the line to inquire about pregnancy and her choices in life.
For six long years, Vasavada battled social stigma, underwent painful procedures to become a mother and struggled with her new job at MICA, all the while settling into responsibilities that come with marriage. “I was young and vulnerable. I took a lot of nonsense from people that do not really matter to me. I underwent expensive treatments just to satisfy someone else’s ego. Society signifies motherhood as a milestone in a woman’s life. That is so wrong. We complete ourselves; not marriage, not motherhood. I learnt this the hard-way,” says Vasavada.
Her struggles, however, turned her life around. “I had to choose if I wanted to be defined as overweight and infertile — or a woman who is an educator, is compassionate and open to experimentation.” On this journey, Vasavada’s husband Dirghayu Oza turned out to be her biggest cheerleader. “My husband is a real feminist. Our choices in life are different but that doesn’t stop us from encouraging the other to pursue their heart,” says Vasavada.
“The pressure on women to look beautiful on and off-screen is immense. My husband accepts and celebrates who I am. That made me present my original and authentic self on social media,” she says. The mantra, she adds, is “to find happiness in everything”. Not bothered by petty things, and keeping gratitude as a priority, Vasavada’s positive attitude washes away trolls on social media. After all, it is one life; a grain of sand in the sea of time.