International Motivational Speaker, Corporate Trainer, TEDx Speaker, Communications Coach and Entrepreneur Ms Mannsi Agrawal interacts with Raaz Dheeraj Sharma, a user of Youth Ki Awaaz, about her life as Motivational Speaker, Woman’s Power and Right and about issues related to menstruation and also discussing why society is treating young girls as different and isolating them during the time of this natural process and about the special bond between people of India and Nepal and about life and strangers and more.
Raaz Dheeraj Sharma (RDS): You are motivating people. Is it difficult to motivate people or yourself?
Mannsi Agrawal (MA): I am a very self-motivated person. I have taken out time during this pandemic to understand and figure out my goals. And because I have such a clear picture of what I want in life, I have my goals very sorted and I am extremely motivated. So, I think it is more difficult to motivate others than myself.
RDS: It is difficult to adopt change, but at the same time, change is the only permanent aspect of this nature. So how you are observing this change in this world from motivating women to women motivating?
MA: I believe that women are truly motivated and strong. However, sometimes they don’t understand and recognise their strength and the world doesn’t either. My main motivation does come from the many women I am inspired by and I also know that if I can be a mouthpiece and inspire other women around me, my life will have been successful.
RDS: Is it the right time to proclaim that society is ready to accept the change where people are ready to learn from women, or is it too early to think about it?
MA: I am a corporate trainer who’s been working in this field for the last 12 years. Very often, I come across groups I’m training where I am the only woman in the room. And I train a group of 20, 30, 40 men. Initially, they might find it slightly difficult to learn from a woman trainer. However, within half an hour of training, they do understand that I come from a place of knowledge and authority and understanding of my subject. So, they are not really hesitant to listen to my words or accept what I am saying.
I feel society is ready. Yes, it might be a bit of hesitation, but people more or less are ready to start learning from women. Isn’t it true that some of our primary and pre-school teachers are women? Mothers who are the first teacher are also women, aren’t they?
RDS: We can listen, read and watch motivational stories, but in the end, it’s upon individuals to take steps and think about subjects and the meaning of life. What is your message for people who are uncertain about their future?
MA: The future is something that nobody is certain about. However, I do feel that people who have a clear idea of their vision they have in mind for themselves or people, who are sure of what they want from life, can more accurately work towards and predict their future than anyone else.
I do understand that it is not easy to motivate yourself. Reading books is not sufficient. I feel that the one thing that you can do to motivate yourself is to ask yourself why you’re working towards your certain goal if you have your “why” clearly in mind, you will be able to get there.
RDS: As in my book “15 Strangers: Conversation that mean a Lifetime” I have mentioned individuals have the liberty to share anything with strangers and the other day you were saying the same thing. According to you, what is the importance of any stranger in our life?
MA: Strangers are as important as we make them. Some of my most amazing interactions and conversations in the world have happened with strangers who have then become my friends. Strangers also sometimes show us a mirror and strangers are also sometimes the best people to have conversations with because we are not scared of any judgment or any feedback from them; after all, they don’t matter as much to us.
I feel that strangers can transform into either long-lasting friendships or people with whom we may not share more than a moment in time, but we may share a lot in common.
RDS: You are a daughter of India and daughter-in-law of Nepal. From your personal experiences, how will you elaborate this special bond between people of both countries?
MA: People of both the countries, sometimes, focus on the differences between them. However, having lived in both countries for many years, the only thing I can see is the similarity and love between them. India and Nepal have many things in common from our culture to our beliefs, the way we deal with situations, languages, food, to the way our families and societies are net up.
I think that, for me, coming from India, Nepal wasn’t a difficult place to live in. Both places are unique, yet, we have such strong bonds of love and relationships when they say that there is a “Roti-Beti” relation, which means people come and go from each other’s country for either employment or for marriage, they were not wrong. These have made us close for generations and I hope no divisive forces in the world can pull these two countries apart who have historically shared good bonds.
RDS: As you are speaking for and on behalf of all daughters from India and Nepal, what you want to say to those daughters who are facing discrimination on the issue of menstruation?
MA: I think the moment we as women start speaking up about issues such as menstruation, we will stop facing discrimination because we need to understand that this is a completely natural process of the body. I think women are the one who should be less silent and less quiet about it. And the more we talk about it, the more we will be able to normalise it.
Also, as I always say, as a generation of mothers, it is our responsibility to bring up little boys to believe that there is nothing taboo or nothing mysterious about menstruation. We need to bring up the generation of men who understand its importance and give it its due respect. I feel the more we talk about it, the more people are going to accept the fact that it is a natural process.
Hence, with more awareness, women need not face the problem of untouchability, being isolated, staying alone in a cold room. We as social beings need to respect the natural process and celebrate the fact that it is a process from which a new life gets born.
RDS: At the occasion of celebrating her ability to become a mother, society is still treating them as different and isolating them during the time of this natural process. How can we make a balance between culture and rights and respect of daughters?
MA: These cultural practices surrounding menstruation started many years ago when proper hygiene products were unavailable. However, in today’s date and age when the world has advanced and we are extremely conscious about hygiene and health, we need to understand that menstruation should be celebrated more and more. I think if we can educate people from all parts of the world, especially our countries about the fact that menstruation is completely normal, we will be able to remove cultural stigmas associated with it.
Another huge impetus would go to Pharma Companies who are producing female hygiene product for this period because they need to make these products accessible to everyone since this is not a comfort or a luxury product but a basic product required by half of the population of the world. Therefore, access to hygiene products would also make a huge difference along with subsidies would make a huge difference to the way the world perceives the cultural and social aspect of menstruation.
RDS: You are a traveller and connected with nature. What can we gain from travelling and nature and how will you elaborate on the importance of travelling and nature?
MA: I feel travelling gives us a perspective of life that we don’t ordinarily get being where we live because when we are living in our day to day lives there is a certain amount of mundaneness or normalcy to our lives that we get used to. Travelling gives us not only a fresh perspective but also a fresh routine and a fresh sense of geography, which changes us and makes us look at things differently with more curiosity. Every time I travel, I learn not just because of what I see but also because of what I experience.
What I can learn from nature is there are lots of lessons to be drawn from nature. I think the most important one of them is that everything has its speed and time. And if you just let things be, they will happen if they have to. I think this is a very profound meditative thought and it does take a bit of understanding to be able to practice and I am trying to learn myself as well.
But nature does give you a perfect example of it, doesn’t it? A baby will be born in 9 months no matter what, a flower does take a certain amount of time to bloom no matter what. We need to be able to understand this to have a sense of detachment from our worldly pursuits. Of course, this is easier said than done and even I am embarking on this journey right now. During my tough and challenging times, I do tend to want to move away from things and I do tend to want to escape out into nature or another place.
RDS: At the time when we are living in this competitive world wherein we are connected with the artificial world and digital relationship and have grudges, insecurities, jealousy and having a feeling of loneliness and sadness after having expectations and attachments, how can individuals still be positive and believe that life is beautiful?
MA: I think there is just a one-word answer to this and the answer is gratitude. The moment we start feeling grateful for everything we have; the sun, the moon, the stars, the rain, the grass, the flowers, the sky, the water, the food, everything. The moment we start feeling grateful for everything we have we will be able to enjoy all the gifts we receive and we will be able to feel happier about whatever it is that we are pursuing and doing in life.
So, I think gratitude is one of those extremely important components that can make us lead a more fulfilling and gratifying life.
About the Author: Raaz Dheeraj Sharma is an advocate and author of “15 Strangers: Conversations that mean a Lifetime” who is writing for Youth Ki Awaaz on different issues and interacts with renowned personalities and motivators.