Millionaire Housewives: Rinku Paul Tells 12 Fascinating Tales
- IWB Post
- September 7, 2017
An inspiring book put together by two strong-headed women, Rinku Paul and Puja Singhal, Millionaire Housewives, at its heart, carries a powerful message from and for the homemakers.
In the words of the author, it is a subtle yet strong reminder to the world that women have the power in them to reinvent their lives, and if need be, they can custom-fit it, too. A glimpse of which can be caught in the rather intriguing to-do list wrapped around the book. IWB had a candid conversation with Rinku Paul, co-author of Millionaire Housewives.
From a 16-year-long corporate career to becoming a life coach, trainer, and an author, tell us a little about how these changes happened?
It sounds like quite a journey (she laughs). To be honest, I always loved my job, and speaking of that time, not even once in those 16 years did I find myself thinking about giving up or switching professional tracks. I was a happy and content professional who thoroughly enjoyed her work. But ironically, it was also those years, and the experience they yielded, that in hindsight helped me realize my purpose and pushed me to step out. I quit my job at AajTak in 2012, and six years into my second journey, I have no regret whatsoever. I am happy that I am doing everything I wished to, from helping people in the role of a life coach, to training corporate officials, and of course, writing.
Wow! Your clarity and confidence are indeed inspirational. Diving straight into the writing sphere of your life, which we know is also your first love, how and when did you conceive the idea of writing a book?
You put it right, writing indeed has been my first love, and so happens to be very close to my heart. I have always been an avid reader, and it was my interest in books that led me to pursue graduate studies in English Literature, as also to see myself in the writer’s chair. But it was only a few years ago, when my dear friend Puja Singhal and I co-founded a Writing Studio, The Muse, that my dream took direction. At first, we were involved in Commercial Writing, but fortunately, it didn’t take us very long to address our desire of indulging in meaningful storytelling and creating an impact through our words. Soon after which we began to work on our first book ‘Dare To Be’, which was followed by the ‘Millionaire Housewives’.
That’s wonderful! So before we dig deeper into Millionaire Housewives, could you give us a quick view of your favourite reads?
Well, it is difficult to name a few, but amongst my recent reads, Sheryl Sandberg is one author whose books I have deeply absorbed. Her perspective on handling life and loss has created a significant impact on my mind. Amongst the contemporary authors, I am finding myself inclined towards Arjun Nath’s writings. I am currently reading his book ‘White Magic’, an interesting account of the author’s journey from the world of addiction and rehabilitation, to becoming a successful corporate lawyer.
And the mention of Sheryl Sandberg seems to be a fitting opportunity to now glance light on Millionaire Housewives. How did you come about to planting its seed?
Well, it was after the release of our first book ‘Dare to Be’, that Puja and I came up with the idea of Millionaire Housewives, which to be honest, was an indirect consequence of the overwhelming response that we received. Dare to be was a chronicle of stories of women who “dared” to give up their well-paying corporate careers to follow their passion (having taken a cue from their own career graphs as well), which later took the face of a movement. And it was the large number of emails that we received from women belonging to different domains, expressing how the stories instilled in them a new hope, that introduced us to the topic for our second book, successfully shaped into ‘Millionaire Housewives’.
Speaking of co-authoring, this is the second book that you and Puja have written together, how varied were these two experiences for you?
Oh, it was a wonderful experience, though an uphill task for sure. Puja being in California, and I in Delhi, we had our fair share of difficulties that came in the form of coordinating and managing, but technology came in handy, so that didn’t last for long. As you said, this was our second time co-authoring a book, and that for real aided our smooth sail. We were not new to each other’s working pattern, we shared transcripts from time to time, and writing it together added a great deal to the heartfelt experience this book turned out to be!
Any strange encounter with publishing houses that you can recall?
None actually. Collaborating with Penguin India, our publishers, turned out to be a fantastic experience for us. Major thanks for which goes to our literary agent, who managed to make the much dreaded ‘publishing experience’, a cake walk for us.
And now would you guide our readers to step inside the book?
Yes, of course. Millionaire Housewives is a chronicle of stories of twelve homemakers, who turned to entrepreneurship with no prior experience in business and managed to build successful empires defying all stereotypes. However, it is neither a compilation of business case studies nor does it intend to simply celebrate entrepreneurial journeys. It is a book that commends the tremendous contribution of homemakers and applauds those who stand by their choice of being one. While at the same time seeks to inspire women to think differently and reminds them that their choices need not be confined, all through twelve diverse-natured stories of women homemakers.
How did you narrow down to the 12 stories that have been featured in the book?
Well, the idea was simply to feature women whose stories were diverse, both in terms of the circumstances that guided them into entrepreneurship, as well as the challenges they faced in order to overcome the obstacles. Each individual’s story is unique, and no two can be compared, so picking the best of the lot was a bit difficult, but in the end we believe to have made the right decision, corresponding to the grit and gumption that each of the twelve tales displayed. The stories are told in their own voices, and are also varied in the fact that they took to myriad industries from those thought to be more woman-oriented to those which were considered absolute male bastions.
Did you have to adopt a certain approach in order to develop a deep acquaintance to their life intricacies?
Not exactly, all that it needed was us to remain honest. We didn’t have to make efforts to keep the conversation real, because there was no chance they could go the other way. Meeting the women and listening to their stories left us overwhelmed on so many levels.
You mentioned about keeping the focus on getting together diverse stories, would you shed some light as to how it added to the core-strength of the book?
It just didn’t add to the core-strength, it is the core of our book. The reason that we wanted to feature diverse experiences was to broaden the base as much as possible. Each individual’s story is different, and so is each reader’s takeaway. For Savita Chhabra, vice chairperson of Hygienic Research Institute Pvt. Ltd, entrepreneurship happened on account of unfortunate events disturbing her secure world, in the case of Ambika Pillai, one of the most well-known names in the world of hair and beauty, it was the need to be financially independent after separating from a bad marriage. Celebrity chef Nita Mehta on the other hand, donned the hat of entrepreneurship owing to her niggling sense of wanting to do something beyond her traditional role as a homemaker. So each story was different from another, while a few had the backing of family, others had only their gut to rely on, but it was their want to stop the voices that forever kept telling them what they can do (meant to do) and what they cannot do, that served as the common driving force on their respective paths.
A common refrain you observed that tends to sustain across all the stories?
The stories of these women have largely been about listening to their inner voice and acting upon, where each life experience is bound to be different from another, they were all connected with a hidden thread that drew strength from their ability to embrace change, face the hurdles, judge the situations, and most important, to not lose their focus.
How is the book being received, would you open the window for us to some distinctive responses?
Oh, the response has been extremely overwhelming. So many readers have reached out to us to tell how the book served as a necessary stimulation in their respective lives. I can recall this one email from a lady who was so touched that the newfound inspiration led her to write a poem on our book, I could not thank her enough for her gesture. And there was another where the reader shared with us her personal story of how after being in a low phase for long, reading the book rekindled the fire of “wanting to do something” in her heart. All I can say is that it is these responses that make us feel that our purpose is being met, however, slow and gradual the pace may be. We will reach there, we all will.
Did this journey as an author made you experience reinforcement to your existing views and beliefs?
That’s an interesting perspective to look from, and thinking about it, yes, I did find myself rethinking about a few things. So many times we address a situation being certain about our stand, but it is only when we get to know about experiences of others that we find a new perspective taking birth in our mind. What was particularly eye opening for me was the realization that grew stronger with each story we came across – A homemaker is a successful manager by all means. Yes, and it may sound odd, for it is far from the common perception, but if you think about it, it is their management skills that makes them successful in their very position as a homemaker.
Yes, it certainly makes sense. So, on this note, a message you’d like to send out to all the homemakers!
Well, I don’t intend to impart any piece of advice, each of us are different, so are our dreams and aspirations. If a homemaker is content with her decision of being one, she must continue to do so, and with utmost pride and confidence. But if at any point of time they feel the need of adding another feather to their hat, or have to step out owing to circumstances, they must not look back for even a moment. “Lack of education or exposure, should not stop you from venturing into the outer world. Don’t let yourself get sucked in by the enormity of the world, everyone is fighting their own battle, and we all have our own skill sets.”
And last but not the least, may we ask for a sneak peek of the next book in the pipeline?
It is too soon to give a sneak peek, but our third book is also women-oriented. This time we are looking forward to covering stories of second generation women entrepreneurs.
We’re leaving you with some insightful reviews, hoping you find your way to the book soon!
“There is no greater power than that of a determined woman. This book captures stories of women who put self-belief ahead of cynicism and took a chance on themselves. Their journeys marshal the rise of a revolution that’s enveloping women across the world” – Shaili Chopra, founder SheThePeople.tv
“This book offers women insights to gain courage and confidence to take the plunge and embark on their own entrepreneurial adventures. I think the account of these twelve successful housewives-turned-entrepreneurs will help answer some pertinent questions that women face, as they try to break out of the cocoons of their routine lives or when they have to start afresh, unsure of the choices they need to make.” – Anu Aga, former chairperson of Thermax Ltd; Padma Shri recipient.