When I was asked to write about an inspiring woman entrepreneur that I know personally, I climbed the highest mountain in my milieu and with my binoculars starting looking for the women with ringing registers on the very clouds around. I saw one who was busy with her book shelves in a shop that was opened 20 years ago, at the spur of the moment, and which now had grown to garner a dedicated following, much to the envy of some of the best names in book-selling around. A cloud away, there is a grandmother supervising an army of 60 seamstresses for various brands, who threw her walking stick away and learnt to sign the cheque book even as she entered the sunset of her life. But then, an epiphanic moment later, I realized I was actually on the lookout for the Story Untold - a more down-to-earth, home-grown and inspiring one not by the magnitude of the enterprise but by the magnitude of conviction, calibre and confidence that went into its inception and then its execution.
Ameet Gulati belongs to a famous business family of Ludhiana, married to one of the most inspiring officers the Indian Revenue Service has seen. An MBA by education, Ameet worked for HDFC even as she went about being her father’s right-hand-(wo)man in his business enterprise. As she juggled the many hats of a successful business advisor, mother and wife, even a perfect hostess and the best of friends anyone can hope for, her head kept missing that one hat she always wanted to try wearing. And she went ahead and got that too!
Today, among the various feathers that she has collected, Ameet is also a recognized name as a Tarot Reader and a Numerologist.
I have seen and admired the spectacular sparks of inspiration that come flying out this woman’s persona. You have not, not as yet. So, in my attempt to connect you to her, I thought I will let her do the talking. I sent her a few questions that came to my mind, and this is what she has to tell us all:
Q: Why Tarot reading, Ameet? And why now, when both your hands are so deeply busy with home and business?
A: Tarot reading because it always interested me as an enigmatic window to a world I wanted to enter and explore. Yes, you can call it love-at-first-sight the moment I came to know about this practice and started reading books about it, often on the sly. Even Astrology cannot give you an objective ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer to your query like Tarot can. And now, because there is no time like Now! Let me also tell you something. The best way to hold the most number of things is to open your arms and embrace what you can call challenges in a big tight bear-hug. No woman has just 2 hands, Sakshi. Do you? We can have as many hands as the things we like to do, want to do and set our minds and hearts to do.
Q: It is a very unconventional idea of a profession, considering you were dabbling with numbers but the non-Numerology kind. Did you have any misgivings as to how it will be received by your family – immediate and extended? How did you plan to convince them?
A: I had a major dose of misgiving, to be honest. I knew no unconditional acceptance will come my way for this profession from both sides of my family. That is why, when I started my classes I took only my husband into confidence, who stood by me throughout. My doubts were not unfounded. When I became a qualified Tarot reader ready to practice and broke the news at the dinner table, the hushed silence could have made a pin drop sound like a bomb. I had to do a lot of convincing – that it is not a parallel religion, nor superstition. No, it is not black magic most certainly. Coming from a business background, where numbers often do the talking, eye brows were raised about how much money will it fetch me anyway? And I tell you, while the numbers coming in have started to impress them, the idea of seeing me comfortably surrounded by my cards still does not.
Q: What did you need to change about yourself, or maybe strengthen about yourself as a person in order to embrace an alien practice? Do you get depressed listening to people’s stories?
A: You know, when you willingly walk into a domain known and understood by such few people, ready to be tagged as something as rare as a Tarot reader, you strengthen yourself against all kinds of pre-conceived judgements too. I’ll be lying if I say I was totally confident that I will be able to do justice to my interest. But then, a few clients down I realized the power of healing, of helping, of showing hope and ways of reducing a stranger’s troubles. No, it is not depressing at all, Sakshi. If anything, it makes you count your blessings and say a silent prayer of gratitude.
Q: You have travelled different cities, got exposed to reputed exhibitions like Wedding Asia and helped innumerable people see direction. How has this profession helped you to grow, as a person?
A: I often sit back and think to myself the same thing. How, once upon a time, addressing my father’s business associates used to make me shake with the responsibility. How, just a runny nose on my child would make the mother in me go ‘Why me?’ No more. To see a stranger respond with such immense faith in you, and then get healed of all problems because of your advise is something that fills you to the brim with confidence. I feel very positive spiritually, and have learnt to empathise with people totally unconnected to me. I also feel I am a more understanding person overall since when I began my sessions.
Q: Feel free to preen, Ameet.
A: No feathers to flaunt, really. Ok, let’s see! One per cent of my clients are those who enter a session for the fun of it – out of sheer curiosity maybe, or to question my work in return. However, when they come back one fine day feeling that the predictions came true and the prescriptive advice helped, you tick another believer into the list and pat yourself for it. However, on a more serious note, Tarot is all about relationships. It deals with emotional issues which usually keep human bonds on tenterhooks. That is when every successful session and every happy client becomes a standing ovation, a self-affirmation of my faith in my practice, my cards and most importantly the trust generated between two completely unconnected people and 78 cards in between. Spreading positivity and getting results are the feathers, really! And it is amazing how they help to make your own daily life so much better.
She has no wares to sell and no training sessions to carry out. All she has is her ever-solidifying belief in the practice of tarot reading and numerology, and her faith in her own self to help heal and solve. I could not think of a better example to present when I heard the words “nurturing independence in the backyard”. Ameet has nurtured for herself another way of being independent. She has also nurtured in her family and friends independence from pre-conceived notions, and shown how learning something is the key to understanding and respecting it - no matter how alien the subject - in an unbiased manner. But most importantly, she has, and continues to, nurture in troubled minds hope of resolving the most irreparable relationship issues and problems that beset them. And that freedom of mind is what I call the real independence of being.
Post-script - Ameet was unsure about being featured, saying 'entrepreneur' is a very big word for her. But as her friend, I too have found ways around this woman's mind. I even got her to pose for me. Emotional blackmail works. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Written for the Indiblogeshwaris Ladies Independence Special Contest in association with http://womenentrepreneursinindia.com/]