By Lisha Gomes | Opening Doorz Editorial | June 18, 2020

At Opening Doorz, we strive to celebrate people, ordinary people, not just celebrities who the world writes about anyways. We look for “you” and your extraordinary story which has the power to inspire and uplift our readers.

Vedica Saxena
From L to R: Vedica Saxena with her sister Dr. Mansha Saxena, a dentist, Aastha Saxena, a chef, and her mother Mana Mohini.

Vedica Saxena is one such Indian whose story is extra-ordinary. From having literally nothing to now being a successful ‘individual’ wearing many hats, and inspiring others around her, Vedica has come a long way. With her parents mutually divorcing when she was still in primary school, her mother took the reins in her hand and showed her three daughters what it means to take life by the scruff of its neck and look challenges in the eye and move forward.

That was the beginning of the seed that was planted in young Vedica’s life early on—to take life’s challenges head-on, to accept help from loving souls who came as Angels in their time of need, to now giving back to society, ever grateful for the help she received to making citizens aware of their social responsibilities.

While it is very easy to complain and whine about difficulties and failures, Vedica has turned out to be this ‘iron lady’ turning her struggles into strengths which has helped build her into the strong and compassionate human she is today.

Vedica’s story is one about rising above all odds, of taking the punches life has to offer, of being bruised but never defeated.

Raised by a single mother…

Being raised by a single mother wasn’t an easy childhood, but it definitely shaped me for the world and helped me build the confidence I needed to strive in it. I believe that being raised by both parents wouldn’t have made me as strong and as responsible as I am today. My Mom being a very self-made, independent person, never took favours from anyone and seeing my Mom struggle and doubling up jobs to raise three daughters added to my life’s success. From having nothing and living in just one room, to having a four-bedroom apartment today, my Mom and we have come a long way.

Life’s early knocks…

My parents divorced mutually when I was in primary school. It was a big jolt for us girls but Mother being Mother took charge of the situation, ensuring we stayed together as a family.

We were born and raised in Hyderabad. We went to a convent school. I remember that, for a year in primary school, we studied on donation. This made me believe and see the good in people. ‘Remember this good deed and when you are capable, care to pay it back to someone who deserves it more than you’. This is what my mother told us and these words still echo within me.

Being the oldest of the three daughters, I was expected to grow up immediately and learn things faster. No matter how difficult it was then, I thank my Mom even today because owing to my childhood, I was able to learn the tricks and trades of survival. I was a lot more independent and mature compared to a lot of children my age as I had learnt to handle difficult situations even as a child. I had also learnt to sense challenges that lay ahead of me. From helping my Mom with catering orders, to going to different construction sites with her helped me experience and learn a lot—I became good at multi-tasking.

Walking the ramp for 10 years

Vedica Saxena
Vedica Saxena during her modelling days.

From all the experience I got as a child and seeing my Mom do multiple jobs, I was never scared of trying new things; modelling was one of the things that fascinated me. Being raised by a single mother, I was always fascinated by strong, empowered women. Sushmita Sen was one of them. I was fascinated by her and the fact that she was a single mother. When I told my mother that I wanted to pursue modelling, she supported me but told me to never give up on my education and keep my head on my shoulder.

At sixteen years of age, when I decided to become a model, I wasn’t bold enough to face so many cameras and people and even ran backstage at my first show after being petrified of speaking in front of people. I went through a lot of training. Modelling groomed me in a lot of ways and helped me build my self-confidence. It built in me the confidence to speak in front of a crowd and also helped me develop an open-minded approach towards people.

Beauty of life’s uncertainties

Vedica saxena
Vedica Saxena at a TED Talk show.

Marriage was never on the agenda for me and even my Mom was fine with this decision of mine. I wanted to be an independent self-made woman. But as fate would have it, I met this guy who was an army officer at a mutual friend’s party. I was impressed by how respectful he was and we even shared the same past of being raised by a single mother. Marrying an Army Officer meant travelling to the remotest places but this taught me so much about people’s culture and the beauty of meeting new people. For a person who wasn’t scared of trying new things, career was never an issue. I began teaching soft skills in different schools and even wrote blogs for four years. I think that a woman is truly empowered when she receives support from her family, especially her husband. Here I am now travelling to different parts of the country when back then I did not want to leave the place I grew up in, forget getting married!

Giving back to society

Social activism happened because of the life I’ve lived. The anonymous donation we received when in school had a deep gratifying effect in us. I started giving back to society not because I had to, but because I feel content doing so. Today, I train students from STD IX to XII teaching them skills needed to be good social activists to give back to society. Acid Attack Survivors is a campaign running in schools since 2014, where we teach students to not only raise funds for the survivors but also groom them with skills which will make them independent. I also stand up for LGBT rights and gender equality. I speak to various NGOs to take care and raise funds for the survivor’s medical services, surgeries, medicines and we are also working on bringing in counsellors for the trauma they’ve been through.

Parting words

Don’t be afraid to take risks and build experiences. Start doing things for yourself, things you love and stop thinking of what others will think and their opinions. Most importantly, spend time with yourself, understand what you want and what makes you happy and work towards those things. Never lose hope or feel low when people make you feel small about yourself. Do not allow others to decide your self-worth!

Also Read: Lieutenant Colonel Vivek Singh Panwar: A life less ordinary!

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