Atika Dhandiya: Winner in her own right

Posted on: Saturday, March 9, 2013

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She has touched and changed the lives of countless youths, corporate professionals and women from all over the world with her incredible creative talent and profound spiritual knowledge. Jewellery designer, Image Consultant and International Teacher with the Art of Living Foundation, Atika Dhandiya reflects on why she is a winner in her own right.

She's a designer in the real sense of the word. Whether she is carving jewels or carving human lives, she does not rest unless she makes them shine with brilliance. Her only mission in life is to touch a chord in every human heart, so that every being can glow with love, joy and peace. "Only then will I call myself a successful jewellery designer," declares Atika. "My real joy lies in empowering youths with strong human values so that they can make a difference to this world." Atika heads the youth wing of The Art of Living Foundation and conducts youth empowerment and skills workshops across various countries to uplift the young generation. She is also the Director of the Foundation's Teacher Training Course and contributes towards building world class leaders and teachers for the Foundation.

The dawn of a  new realisation
"My first brush with spirituality was quite interesting," says Atika. "I was heading towards a room on the 3rd floor of a building for a Reiki course. My eyes fell on a signboard across the 2nd floor that read- The Art of Living. Mistaking it for an interior decoration course, I enrolled myself and chucked reiki, hoping to learn something new and creative. But what came up changed my life forever. The experience was so profound and life-transforming that I would never forget for the rest of my life," she reveals. After this, there was no looking back for Atika. She became a lifelong volunteer for this foundation and resolved to dedicate her life for service to society. "I became an instrument for transforming people's lives, thereby making them experience the same happiness which I had received in just 6 days! The rest is history."

Multitasking with a smile
Atika is a graduate from the Gemological Institute of America and despite her hectic schedules, teaching courses has not taken away her love for jewellery designing. "Yes, I am busy, but I manage to do the balancing act. Whenever I get the opportunity, I have my exhibitions in India and even travel abroad to showcase my work." After securing a degree from GIA, Atika was in Tokyo to study the Japanese jewellery market. While in Japan, she was offered a chance to work for the prestigious Radio Japan as a News Broadcaster for their Foreign Services. She became actively involved with the broadcasting services and anchored two live radio programs, which became highly popular.

Projecting the right image
Managing one's image is essential for success in every walk of life. "Which is why, I decided to become an image consultant," reveals Atika. "I want people to excel in their personal and professional lives. Your image which is essentially your communication to the world is mostly visual and it is all about optimally utilising your personal resources of clothing, grooming practices, etiquette and body language and vocal communication in order to create the desired first impression in every situation."

The journey of the self
Juggling multiple roles isn't easy but Atika remains unfazed by the numerous challenges that cross her path every now and then. "I take life as it comes, even as though I have huge responsibilities and have to cater to thousands of people across the world. Spirituality gives me the inner strength to keep smiling. The more I turn inward, the more I realise that there is something deeper that exists beyond your marriage, material life, career and fame. Today, I share a camaraderie with all types of people, wherever I go, whether I am in a slum or in a presidential palace. I feel fulfilled and complete and am proud that I have created an exquisite brand of shining authentic jewels in the form of my students. In fact, I still cherish those moments when I conducted a program for the youth representing 123 countries at the World Youth Forum at the European Parliament in 2007," she smiles.

Getting into her second skin
Atika loves to shop and read fiction and autobiographies, during her leisure hours. A fitness freak, one can also spot her at a Pilates session or a yoga class, when she's not teaching. "That's right, but more than anything else, films are a passion with me. I am a movie buff and love to catch up on the latest movies with my friends, whenever it's possible." A bookstore can easily pass as a second home for Atika, as she is a voracious reader too. "There are quite a few authors, I admire, but Gone with the wind is one of my favourite novels. I also have a lot of reverence for Premchand and Rabindranath Tagore. Their literature reflects the ethos of Indian Culture," she observes.

Enveloped in patriotism
So what next on her to-do list and she promptly replies, "I am involved with a project called Volunteer for a better India (VBI). This is a social initiative that we have started to inspire people to contribute towards nation-building through a spirit of volunteerism by giving one hour to the nation everyday. Atika is passionate about the initiative and has been ceaselessly working in Delhi over four months to mobilise support for the cause. "There's lot of unrest, fear and insecurity in the city, owing to crime rise, corruption and vandalism.  VBI will help to revive human values and awaken a sense of patriotism in every individual. There are a range of themes under which people can participate and contribute -Environment, Education, De-addiction, Girl Child and Women's Safety, Senior Citizens and Good Governance and Voice against Corruption. In fact 17,000 doctors of Delhi Medical Association have already pledged to dedicate two Sundays a year for free consultation under the program Do ravivar desh ke naam. We have also started a legal-aid helpline to provide free legal awareness, advice and mediation services. The Nirbhaya episode was an eye-opener and now I am eager to take my initiative to the next level, with the kind of support that I am getting from people." VBI was recently launched in the capital at the Ramlila Maidan in the presence of two lakh people.

Taking India to new heights
Not many know that when the Nirbhaya rape case happened last year, Atika was one of the first ones to rush to the India Gate and organise an impromptu candlelight vigil that later became a mass movement in Delhi. She even initiated a 24/7 helpline with 50 art of living teachers to counsel people with violent tendencies. The response was overwhelming and a lot of people were benefitted. Says Atika, "I have a long way to go. I have been into social service over 15 years and yet I feel my journey has just begun. I have huge responsibilities on my shoulders and I will not rest in peace until my last breath," she says and signs off with a smile, while inspiring us to plunge into action and volunteer for a better India.

Source: Wonderwoman.intoday

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