Monday, March 29, 2010

Pushing Tresholds

Pushpanjali Reddy is a tall woman. Being an architect and builder by profession, she was forced to stand tall in a space that has for long been a man’s stronghold. As an entrepreneur, she is the founder of three business ventures. Pushpanjali has now donned a new hat and has turned author. She is elated about the release of her first book, de Facto, the definitive women’s directory.
Big ideas invariably have small beginnings. What began as a search for a lady surgeon to perform an operation gathered momentum and is all set to fly out as a first of its kind ready reckoner for women. The book was launched on 8th March 2010, on the occasion of International Woman’s Day.
“Initially people were skeptical and it was hard to get information. But soon, the idea caught up and many were enthusiastic and excited to be featured in the book”, she says with a smile. The highlights of the inaugural edition of de Facto are profiles of women achievers, “must knows” for women, pioneers in various fields and a listing of women entrepreneurs who have carved a niche for themselves in different spheres of life. It also contains details of organizations, associations and services for women. “Famous Firsts is about women who have broken barriers to achieve something that has never been done before”, says Pushpanjali speaking about the section, which is her personal favorite.
The women of today are standing tall in what was once a man’s world. They dare to take the road less traveled. Defying the odds, they can make the impossible, possible and are redefining the phrase that the “sky is the limit”, quite literally. The book features achievements of about 70 such women who have scripted stories of success. Dr. Sakhubai Ramachandran, the first lady veterinary doctor, Dr. Pushpa Dravid, the first candidate to be awarded a PhD in fine arts from Bangalore University, ace swimmer and coach Nisha Millet, social scientist and activist Rohini Reddy, fitness expert Wanitha Ashok, martial arts exponent Vandana Rao, coffee taster Sunalini Menon and graphics designer Sujatha Keshavan Guha are some go-getters to be profiled in the inaugural edition of de Facto.
de Facto is spruced up with interesting trivia like the sari that plays music and a course for women who aspire to become priestesses. “Swaramadhuri”, a silk sari embedded with micro-speakers and can play as many as 200 songs on the trot, is the brainchild of a designer in Dharmavaram. An institution in Pune offers a one-year course in priesthood for women. Priyadarshini is a project introduced by the Ministry of Tourism to train women in driving, vehicle maintenance and foreign tourists etiquette.
“With each passing day more women are becoming independent and are taking up challenging jobs. We have lady mahouts, detectives, pilots, auto drivers and even a lady priestess. There is nothing a woman cannot do”, says Pushpanjali. She hopes that youngsters dream big and work towards making their dreams a reality. “The book features inspiring stories and tough journeys of women. I hope it motivates the younger generation and provides a window to opportunities that lie ahead”, she adds.
“The research for the next edition of de Facto is already underway.”, she says mentioning that the book is scheduled to have an annual release. “Since this is a directory the profiles are short and crisp. This is going to be followed up by another book that traces the journeys, hardships and success stories of the women featured in this book”, she adds speaking about what’s next in line.
“It’s a one-woman show, I have done everything from funding to research to publishing. It has been difficult but fulfilling”, she adds. Youthful and bubbling with energy, Pushpanjali is one those who will remain sweet sixteen forever.

Priced at Rs. 495/- the book will be available in all leading bookstores.

This article was published in The Hindu, Bangalore edition on the 30th of March 2010. Below is the link to the online version of the article.

It was also published in the Chennai, Delhi and Coimbatore editions of The Hindu.

Delhi Edition:

Chennai Edition:


  1. Inspiring! Looking forward to read her book. wonderful work Shalini! keep it going...