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Women need to focus on holistic wellness

“Women are always taught to take care of people around them. But, nobody tells them that it all starts with the woman herself. If you are not fully alright, how can you be doing things for others? Wellness does not have to do only with physical health,” affirmed Kalpana Rao in reply to the moderator’s first question on whether the definition of well-being has changed over the years, in a session on 'How to be Whole and Well” on Day 2 of the at the second edition of the Under The Raintree women's cultural festival on Nov 3, 2019.


"Women have realised that if they have to be out there and live longer -- why not be fitter and healthier?", says Kalpana Rao



Kalpana, former entrepreneur and owner of Bengaluru-based clothing store,

reinvented herself after she turned 50 to became a television actor and model. She dug into her own experiences, to explain the value of self-acceptance and liking oneself. “I just gave the impression of being confident earlier. Inside, I was insecure as anyone could be. We have to accept ourselves for who we are, if we don’t like or love ourselves or take care of ourselves, how will be able to take care of anybody else?” asks this fiery, brave woman, who did not bat an eyelid to do a “confrontation” scene in a film with none other the invincible

superstar, Rajnikanth.


The other panellist Pragya Bhagat, a New Delhi- based poet, who is passionate about mental health, also gave her opinion on what wellness meant to her. She however went on to criticise the body worship perpetuated by social media. “If you go on Instagram and Facebook, you will find selfies and filtered images. It is the same stereotyping of women’s bodies we see in Bollywood films,” she said. But, this is slowly changing and there is hope that women will start looking at their body differently, stretch marks and all.

"It is not about how much organic food we are eating or the gluten free diet we follow. It is all no point if we are not healthy in our minds and hearts", says Pragya Bhagat


The conversation was helmed by Seethalakshmi S, an acclaimed journalist, writer and field reporter, who has worked with several major publications including The Times of India, and is currently co-founder of Antardhwani, a think-tank, building strategy around tobacco control and cancer. She took the discourse towards the topic of well-being of kids today and the parental pressure, which drives them to commit suicide.


Seethalakshmi ably steered the discussion on the changing definition of well-being.


The panellists discussed about the inability of children to channelize their energy and anxiety, and frustration in the right direction. Pragya pointed out, “Society is uncomfortable talking about these things as well. And, in the past, children could count on a community but my generation does not have that. We are isolating ourselves in pursuit of some kind of independence.”


Words like depression are thrown about and has become a lingo today. But, the panellists had a solution: children or even adults should talk with people they care about or find a community who they can open up with and communicate. Also, yoga and meditation were good practices which helps to increase attention span, energy, focus and provides physical and mental wellbeing.



A lively 74-year-old woman from the audience joined the panellists to

share some homespun advice: Just be happy with what you have and always train your wavering ‘monkey’ mind, and transform and transcend!






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