Anita Muktaa Shourya: Carving a Niche in Performing Arts, Mental Well-being, and More

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Anita Muktaa Shourya is a Hyderabad-based senior Organizational Development (OD) facilitator with work experience that spans over 18 years. With a 23-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son, Anita used her time of sabbatical to nurture her dance passion, Mohiniyattam, and today has carved a niche for herself being the founder of LasyaDrutha-school for performing arts and dance.

She enjoys riding her motorbike and has traveled through India, was the Gladrag’s Mrs. India Finalist, and has given life to a few characters on television, screen, and theatre. She has modeled for a few notable brands but what sets her apart is being a role model in her conviction that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. All that matters is whether you begin, value yourself, and start working towards your goal.

  
Here’s a candid tete-a-tete with Anita –

Hi Anita! It’s a pleasure to be interacting with you here. Please tell us about your inspirational journey.

Same here Dr. Sailaja! Lovely to be sharing my thoughts and experiences with you and She Sight!

My journey has been a roller coaster ride! As a girl and woman, I had to stop working and restart several times to ensure my other responsibilities, for the benefit of my family, were fulfilled. Each experience taught me that in the journey of life, you need discipline, a plan, skills that are improved continuously, readiness through learning, and health above all. Time does not wait for anybody, but one can surely walk with time. The pace does not matter. Just Never Stop.

You have such a versatile profile! Any thought, plan, or incident that inspired you to start your different ventures?

LasyaDrutha – I started because learning was never easy for me with constant reminders of my age, marital status, that I am a mother, my religion, etc. I wanted a space with no barriers, no negativity, and one that ensured the learning experience was beautiful. It is never easy to retain the sanctity of a learning space as there are people with different thought processes who join in. It is important to know when to ask someone to step off the bus and give your 100 percent to those who trust and work along with you on the journey with a common goal.

Being there matters: a focus group for mental well-being. 
My inspiration came from my struggle with clinical depression, my interactions with several others who were yearning for help, and my conversations with experts in the domain of mental health. People generalize that if everything looks perfect from the outside, mental health issues are a figment of one’s imagination. What they fail to realize is that sometimes several factors need to be aligned. Sometimes, it could also mean your hormones go haywire and you are unaware of the same. Mental well-being is important for physical well-being too and vice versa.

As an author, my inspiration to write the book To Win Your Battles Stay Alive: Being There Matters was the ending of life by a 35-year-old mother. Society judges and completes the script of the person who cannot handle the loneliness of suffering the pain (Mental agony) alone. I was blessed to come out of the experience with expert help, and I penned down what my learning was. 

Recently, I came across a post that said “She didn’t know what the fuss about mental health was all about, and if one eats well, works out, and distracts oneself, there would not be a mental health issue. If it takes so much effort to even place one foot ahead as your mind does not cooperate, how could one do anything?”  These statements are due to the lack of awareness, and through my book, I wanted to
bridge the gaps.

Amazing! You have been impacting society through awareness about Mental Health. Has this been meticulously planned, or a by-product of another bigger goal?

Nothing that I did was meticulously planned; however, when I was able to do something, I wanted to share it with many more. My happiness has always been in seeing progress, whether it is in people, situations, society, etc. Being There Matters, LasyaDrutha, all took shape gradually, and we have a long way to go; so, yes! With one milestone achieved, another is always set, and the by-product surely will be a bigger goal achieved.

How’s the journey so far? How many people are working with you, and what significant betterment have they been able to see as a part of this project?

8 people are working with me, and the journey has been stressful at times, leaving me feeling numb at times but mostly energetic after the learning. In any journey, there are ups and downs, and it continues. I call it a lovely roller coaster ride. You may yell or scream, but after it is done, you feel great and feel like you can do it again! There may be several people discouraging you with fears about what may be in store. But when you reach that far, you will surely gain the strength to endure the same. So, always walk ahead one step at a time.

The significant improvement I have seen in those I have worked with is that they have been able to work better and live and lead a better quality of life. 

What are your short-term and long-term goals regarding your passions?

I plan to continue doing what I do because I love it so much! I work with passion, commitment, and purpose. Dance is to me healing and therapeutic and a student excelling in the same is a teacher’s greatest high.  Well-being can be promoted through art. It’s an expression of oneself. I have seen individuals transform through art.

 I’m sure this journey would have inspired many aspiring artists in our audience. Could you please share some insights with them?

Sure! Age doesn’t matter as age is wisdom. My daughter tells me about her college mates who are 60 plus. They don’t address them as uncle or aunty but by name and treat them respectfully as one amongst them in learning. I let my students know that greeting is not about noticing one’s flaws and letting them know but to smile, and exchange good thoughts.

Never let your life situations get in the way of your achievements as when you achieve, your situation will change. Women have the gift of nurturing by birth, but we often ignore taking care of ourselves. 

We should take at least an hour every day to check in with ourselves, decide what we want to do, and plan. It is important to do this exclusively for YOU as a person, and this will enable happiness in the other roles you play as a mother, wife, and so on. When we say we don’t have time for ourselves, it is because we are not our priority.

Make great friends who are supportive of you in all situations and with whom you can laugh or cry. That changes everything!

That was the uplifting conversation with Anita Muktaa Shourya

Dr. Sailaja hails from Hyderabad, India, and is a seasoned HR Leader, Guest Speaker, and Sustainable Practices enthusiast

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