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From a model to a primary teacher
From a model to a primary teacher - that's a remarkable shift. What prompted you to switch careers?
Modelling was thrilling. I modelled from the age of 17 till about 22. I bagged high-profile assignments and was even declared the best new face at the Delhi Fashion Week in 2008. The same year I was shortlisted as one of the finalists in Femina Miss India. Apart from that I did some teleserials for Star Plus and Star One. Although I was doing great, somehow it didn't really make me happy. I was uncertain where I was heading. Modelling is full of uncertainty. It may look very glamourous from the outside, but the truth is somewhere else. I decided to pursue teaching for a couple of years. I began teaching a primary class for an NGO called Nagrik Satta. It felt good to have helped someone. Moreover, in teaching you get to learn a lot about the human personality, about kids and about working as a team.
But don't you miss modelling, the fame and the adulation?
Of course, I do! But the pressure to remain thin and look beautiful was overwhelming. The peer pressure, the constant race to outdo one another, the unnecessary bickering - it all got to me. Also for a model the only logical progression to her career is being an actress. To tell you the truth, I can't act to save my life and I didn't see myself having a career in Bollywood. I thought it would be wise to quit modelling which anyway has a very short shelf-life and focus on better things. I sat for my CAT entrance exam and scored 96 per cent. But even with that admission to the best institutions wasn't very easy. While the pressure in academics is competitive, in modelling it gets very personal. If you give me a choice, I wouldn't want to go back to my old life as a model.
So what do you like about teaching?
Teaching came to me naturally because I am really fond of children. Also, I believe in education - that it can guarantee you a better life. If kids are taught things at the right age then the growth in their personality is phenomenal. My attempt is to get a child to think for himself/herself and not just follow orders. My parents taught me a lot when I was growing up and that has shaped my personality.
What do you feel is lacking in India's classrooms?
I am against the tuition system. I think classroom teaching is best. A kid should not be overburdened with out-of-school hours cramming sessions or extra-classes.
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