I truly believe in the philosophy – ‘Life is not a bed of roses neither it is full of thorns’
It is more than just a story of success. It is a memoir of a professional mom and her special needs kid (cerebral palsy) who shares her intimate story of struggle and triumph to motivate society especially women who are often in the dilemma that professional life comes to a stop post marriage & kids.
This is CA. Geeta Dhingra (B. Com, FCA, DISA(ICAI))- 1st women CA from Gwalior (M.P), Founder & Senior Partner of M/s Geeta Dhingra & Associates, Founder of “EHSAAS” an institute established for Imparting special education and other required therapies to children suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation & Autism since 2003.
Being married to Mr. Alok Dhingra (Advocate) and blessed with 2 children, a daughter (24 years) and a son (14 years), I would share my 32 years of struggle cum experience (journey of life) after graduation. Hailing from a middle-class family with 6 siblings, it was a real struggle for parents to manage the education of all children and making them all capable of what they all are today.
Well, as most of our fellow professionals would say, my story also started when I decided to take up the Chartered Accountant course (Year-1989), or rather I would like to say my opportunity to share my story today started with this one decision. Though this choice of mine was just a rescue option to delay getting married, as there was a 3 years training period in the curriculum, bottlenecks as well as societal challenges of allowing a girl child to take up such professional studies challenged me for a step ahead. I somehow managed and eventually started loving the course and my passion for the same grew and allowed me clear my exams paving way for what I started dreaming for.
Joining Articleship, Clearing Inter Examinations, learning the practicality of the profession, being 1 among the 1st 3 girls of the city pursuing such higher studies in the area dominated by men folks, and then getting married to the person I wanted to(whom I met in this articleship journey) made me think ‘Life is a bed of roses’ as knowledge, fame, life partner everything has been the gift of this profession. I started believing that, I am the chosen one and can write my destiny.
After marriage, I accompanied my husband to the office, managed all household chores being a daughter in law in a joint family of middle-class status (The year 1994), in the evening prepared for my Final exams (most of my friends of that time would agree with me had faced the same). I cleared final exams in Jan 1997 and was accredited ‘1st female CA of Gwalior’.
November 1997, after the birth of my first child, my way of thinking and living life changed. My daughter was suffering from cerebral palsy, (a disorder that affects a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture), a disability that we never heard of in the year 1998. Raising a child with special health care needs can be very isolating and depressing. Indeed, it’s very difficult to pin down the parental experiences of the increased vulnerability and dependency of their child, intensification of the parenting role, loss of control, and dependency upon healthcare professionals.
‘Life seemed to be a bed of Thorns’ but I knew this is an invitation to explore another way of coping and interpreting your experience. If you are ready to learn that your mind, thoughts, and intention are more powerful than you could ever imagine and that you truly do hold all your answers within. I realized that I am the chosen one by destiny to overcome the challenge through inner strength.
In my endeavours to secure the very best treatment for her, I left no stone unturned. Though there was an improvement in her condition, the hard reality had to be accepted and so we did. I then thought of the numerous parents with the same helplessness which made me ‘REALISE’ a need to initiate a change and cater to the needs of such children around me. And so with the support and efforts of my husband we initiated ‘EHSAAS’ - a rehabilitation centre for children suffering from cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and other neuro-related disorders in the year 2003. Ehsaas has come a long way and has successfully covered a roadmap of helping and catering to more than 150 children of special needs in this 18 year of journey. This journey apart from giving me strength led me to earn various accolades as I have been the recipient of –
- ‘PRABHAT GAURAV’ Samman in 2006
- ‘Outstanding Young Women of Gwalior’ award by JCI Gwalior Priyadarshani in 2009
- ‘Nari Shakti Samman’ by Rashtriya Yuvak Parishad MP in 2013
- ‘SPANDAN’ National Award by National Trust of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, New Delhi in 2013 (Indeed the most special award for a parent)
And after the birth of my son in 2008 life became more complete and satisfactory. And that’s the point I finally started believing that ‘Life is not a bed of roses neither it is full of thorns’
‘Although it has been a very tough journey, with strong willpower you can turn impossible into ‘I am Possible’. I equally engaged myself into the profession and I always believed: -
‘a woman alone has power; collectively we have an impact.’
So I have been more focused on venturing with females may it be my partners, articles, or staff members, I can proudly say that 90% of them are females. Traditionally we have been taught to be competitive with one another because there was such a scarcity of jobs at the top but I believe in raising each other and channeling the power of collaboration can truly change the equation—and have a lot more fun along the way. Along with this motto, I headed my professional journey encompassing women's strength, and have even served as an executive member of the Branch in my tough times.
- Past Executive Member (2000-2002) &
- Past vice Chair-Person of Gwalior Branch of Regional Council of ICAI (2002-2003).
I feel proud that more than 30 article trainees from our firm have cleared final exams and now serving in various capacities professionally. At times when I look back at my journey, I appreciate and thank the supreme power almighty and my family for their immense support because of which I not only coped up with the situation but also emerged as a stronger human being balancing work and family life together. I could rightly quote a famous quote by Author Joshua J. Marine
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”.
My life would become more meaningful if my piece of the story could motivate women who are young, newly married, or mothers who have completed this esteemed course but due to family responsibilities think it is difficult to maintain work-life balance or are still in a taboo of society that girls’ career gets over after marriage or kids. I strongly believe we should think of a way forward to societal norms. Your one step ahead today will pave way for future generations to take 10 steps further.