Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Novelist, ex-Army officer & Navy Wife Sajita Nair draws inspiration from her military life

Hello everyone! Today, I've invited Sajita Nair at #thebrigadethatbuildsbrands. She is a former Army officer, a Navy wife & an acclaimed novelist. We talk about how the #military life can actually spur a #Milspouse to create meaningful work for herself.

C. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji wife.

S.I am a former army Captain and writer based in Bangalore. My father served in the Air Force and I have been married to a Naval officer for the past twenty years. Hence I have experienced life in the three arms of the forces.

C. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?

S.Post my tenure in the army, I began to work towards my dream of being a writer. Initially I published short stories, articles and travelogues in reputed publications. Only when I gathered enough confidence, did I attempt writing a full-length novel. My debut novel ‘She’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ was published by Hachette India in 2010 and follows the life of two pioneer women officers, trying to find their place in the male dominated army. 

C. Were you in a different profession and re-trained for the current one? If yes, can you share how/where you learned the skills required for your current profession?

S.I learnt everything about writing, on the internet. Formatting query letters, researching information, editing written work and presenting a polished piece of writing to the editor – I learnt all these from various websites. For serious learners, there is no bigger guru than the internet.

C. Fauji wives make their home in an assortment of obscure places across the country. Our lives are about living in the moment and doing what we can, when we can. Can you share how you stayed creative or found work that satisfied you while moving across the country?

S.I think fauji wives are the most resourceful people on the planet. A fauji wife manages everything with flair and without complains. If she moves into a temporary accommodation or an old house, she transforms it into a beautiful home. If there is no upholstery, she improvises creatively. With minimal resources, she creates a cozy haven for herself and her family. 

Being a fauji wife, thinking out-of-the-box has become second nature to me.  This helps when I pitch stories to magazines or approach publishers with an idea for a novel. As a writer, I consider myself lucky to be able to have rich experiences in a fauji environment. And with the internet, it is possible to work from any remote corner of the country.

C. How do you market your business and products while moving from base to base, place to place, and often to remote areas?

S.With the flourishing of social media, marketing has become much easier and economical. And since internet connection is available in most remote parts, its power must be unleashed to reach out to a wider audience.

C. How do you juggle that load of social commitments & welfare activities that are an integral part of the fauji community, while nurturing your passions and meeting work deadlines?

S.The network formed in the social and welfare activities help with marketing, as like-minded people get the word around faster. Hence I believe they are a blessing.

C. As a creative/entrepreneur + fauji wife, is there something that you cherish very much about being part of this community? And is there something you feel must/can change for the better?

S.Life in the fauj inspires the writer in me - the bonding, the travel, the unpredictability and the streak of adventure we imbibe by just being part of it. A fauji adapts to new places, people, cultures and situations commendably. What I like the most however, is that I see the bigger picture and my mind is not compartmentalized by boundaries.  

 C. What challenges have you faced in balancing work and fauji life?

S.‘So what employment have you taken up now?’ people ask me when I say that I am a writer. Writing is still considered to be a hobby, not a career option. Most people don’t understand or appreciate that writing is hard work. Hence the demands to my time, sometimes pose a challenge. 

C. What tips would you give to fauji wives out there who’d like to pursue their dreams while living at small and busy bases (many still believe or led to believe that you can either be a fauji wife or a professional, and that’s not true)?

S. One could be a fauji wife and a professional at the same time. It just requires more dedication, focus and sustained efforts. Instead of finding excuses, one must find reasons to be motivated and work towards professional goals.

C. A parting quote or philosophy that helps you stay calm and do what you do?

S. From the Vipassana course I attended, I learnt about the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence called ‘Anitya’ or ‘Anicca’, which implies that everything is transient. This helps me stay calm during difficult times. And this is also a reminder that time is limited and one must do what one has to.

Thank you, Sajita.

A note from me: I recently released a #KindleBook called ‘The Work-At-Home Military Wife’ for Armed Forces ladies and anyone who desires to create self-employment for themselves on the move. Check it out here:

A gift: And hey, if you’d like to explore work-from-home career ideas that you can pack and carry, download my FREE ebook '25 Work-from-home Careers for Military Wives’ by signing-up for my email updates, here.

Note: And hey, I welcome you to my quirky, cute Jugnoo #artstudio, where I create vibrant, illustrative art for eclectic home decor & kids' room decor. Do like us @jugnooartstudio.

Connect with me:

Twitter @ChandanaMilSpo
Instagram @chandanamilspo

#thebrigadethatbuildsbrands #milpreneur #MilSpouse #smallbusiness #workfromhome #workathome #selfemployed 


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