What makes a woman happy

Friday, 25 July 2014 - 10:47pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
An iPhone5? A Vero Moda Outfit? Money? Family? Coffee? 11 Women across age groups and social strata tell Averil Nunes where they find joy

Family 
No matter how old or young, or how big their dreams or high their ambitions, for women across Mumbai, their families are the source of their happiness. 

Appreciation 
Being recognised and appreciated for the hard work they put in is a big deal for young women; whether the appreciation comes from work or family.

The Little Things
You’ll notice from our responses that the more women mature, the more they value simple things—a walk, the flowers, bhajans... 

Shanta Krishnamurthy, 65, Homemaker - I don’t think luxury brings happiness!

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs40,000-Rs50,000 per month is required for any family nowadays; this is not counting unexpected heavy expenses, touring or expensive entertainment.
Your happiest moment?
When my husband and I went to America to look for a bride for my son and he introduced us to a girl he already knew—that was my happiest moment. My children are my greatest happiness.
What makes you happy? 
Small things bring me happiness, like when I sing bhajans in praise of God. I don’t think luxury brings happiness. I don’t feel like we should own a big car or a big house or have `70 lakhs or one crore in the bank to be happy. Being happy with whatever we have in life brings happiness. Taking life as it comes and doing your duty sincerely brings happiness,” says the woman who has “no regrets” about quitting her administrative job in a school, so that she could bring up her children full-time and exactly the way she wanted, in the absence of her frequently touring husband. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
“We should be happy and healthy forever. Maybe we should have a big bungalow,” she jokes. “But we are content with what we have. We are blessed and we don’t need anything to be happy.”

Sonal Jadhav, 23, Security Guard - Planning my son’s future!

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs10,000-Rs15,000 per month  
Your happiest moment?
The birth of my son, Swayam  
What makes you happy? 
At present, I’m happy planning to send my son to school and to give him the best. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
“I have done a course in tailoring and started doing a beauty-parlour course, but have not found the time to finish it yet,” Sonal tells us. She studied upto standard ten and married for love at the age of 20. Sonal continued to work post her marriage. As a security guard with MSF, she works seven days a week, eight hours a day, but still intends to make the time to finish her beauty course. Maybe one day she will finish that course and have a parlour of her own. 

Devika Kalapi Makwana, 35, Housekeeping Staff - My sisters bring me joy!

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs10,000 per month 
Your happiest moment?
I’m happiest when I am with my sisters. 
What makes you happy? 
“Dukh aaya, Sukh aaya” (There was happiness. There was sadness) is Devika’s philosophical take on life. The second of four children, her parents passed away when she was 5. Her paternal aunt and uncle looked after them, but as the eldest girl, she took charge of looking after her siblings when her aunt was at work at Wadia hospital. 
Though she was married off early (14), she has no intentions of marrying off her elder daughter until she is 20-22, and even then it will be to someone her daughter chooses. Sansaar (family) is the centre of her life and while she may have studied only till class 5, she’s determined that her children do well. 
The mother of three, is currently working in the housekeeping department of a large corporate, which requires that she leave home by 6.30 am and return at 10.30 pm. 
Her sisters Dhanu and Meena who have always been there to support her bring much joy to her life. Her eyes twinkle as she describes the happiness she feels when her sisters are around. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
That my children do well and have better jobs and lives than us.

Milee Kothari, 28, Freelance Fashion Designer - Appreciation and A Cup of Coffee

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs30,000-35,000 per month is required for a comfortable life
Your happiest moment?
Being featured in a national newspaper, when I was in college
What makes you happy? 
Sipping a cup of coffee with my loved ones or friends; being appreciated for working hard.
What are your hopes for the future? 
To expand my business, whilst maintaining a good work-life balance. Rs30,000-35,000 per month is required for a comfortable life
Your happiest moment?
Being featured in a national newspaper, when I was in college
What makes you happy? 
Sipping a cup of coffee with my loved ones or friends; being appreciated for working hard.
What are your hopes for the future? 
To expand my business, whilst maintaining a good work-life balance.

Chhaya Dnyaneshwar Koli, 38, Fishseller - My work brings me joy!

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs250-Rs300 per day; enough to fill my stomach and raise my children 
Your happiest moment?
The birth of my first child
What makes you happy? 
The best part of her day is the time she spends at work up to 3.00 pm, sometimes 3.30 pm, because the minute she goes home to her big joint family of 12, there are so many things to deal with. Chhaya wakes up at 5.30 am every day and attends to her usual household chores, before picking up fish from a middle-man and selling it in the Malad market. Of course, it would cost less if she went straight to the source. But that would mean waking up at 3.30 am. The odd thing is, while her mum was a fisherwoman in the Khar Dhanda area, she never touched a fish till she married into a family in the Malwani locality of Malad and started selling fish herself. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
That my children do well

Rani Shetty, 45, Domestic Help - My daughter was my happiness

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs10,000 per month is required to run the house 
Your happiest moment?
When my daughter was around
What makes you happy? 
“My daughter used to bring me happiness. She was very smart. She wanted to become a doctor. She died three years ago. She was 13,” says Rani, who was looking forward to her daughter’s promising future. Rani who comes from a good family in the South that was doing well enough to afford maids. It was only when Rani married and came to Mumbai that she realised she would have to earn her own living and started working in people’s homes. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
No hopes

Rochelle D’Souza, 27, Private Equity Professional - Recognition and Moving Targets

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
It’s a moving target (`1,000 was a good amount in college; when I got my first job it was a few lakhs; as human beings we always aspire to better things, so it keeps getting higher).  I have no golden figure that I’m set on. Though I do believe money is important, I measure my life and time by my achievements.
Your happiest moment?
My dad telling me how proud he was when I topped the CET rankings amongst the women; it gave meaning to all my hard work and sacrifices. Also, my dad telling me that I was the best gift he could have hoped for as he walked me down the aisle.
What makes you happy? 
My achievements make me happy; especially when I get positive recognition for all the hard work I put in, when entrepreneurs appreciate the value I add, when promotions come my way... Spending time with my husband, despite our horribly packed work schedules is another source of happiness. And then there’s the sense of inclusion I feel in the lives of key friends and family. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
I have time frames to achieve some of my career plans; but eventually, I want to have enough of my own funds to be an angel investor; to invest in companies and watch them grow. At a personal level, I take things one day at a time; it’s not like I have to make a family in this time frame.

Joan Sequeira, 60, Retired Secretary - It’s the Little Things

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
“Rs25,000 per month; I need just enough to pay the bills and have a little left over, though more money is always welcome,” she laugh.
Your happiest moment?
The day my son joined the seminary
What makes you happy? 
Little things make me happy; early morning mass followed by a walk, Bible class, looking after my two little grandchildren, the house being spic and span, watching the plants and flowers in my garden grow, the children getting promotions, my morning meditation, listening to hymns, Sunday dinners with the entire family...
What are your hopes for the future? 
Peace of mind; to see all my children happy

Priya Nayak, 18, Live-in Maid, Mere maa, baba ki marzi!

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs5,000 per month 
Your happiest moment?
Time spent in my village in Odisha 
What makes you happy? 
If my parents are happy. I’m happy.
Priya, who looks after an elderly lady in Mumbai, currently sends much of her income back to her parents in Odisha. She received a proposal from a boy, who didn’t want her to study further. But she kept studying and the boy left her. She gave up studying sometime after that, in grade seven. People in her village tend to marry once they turn 18, so she is likely to marry someone according to her parents marzi in the near future. 
What are your hopes for the future? 
She smiles, not quite sure what she wants. But perhaps her constantly ringing phone is an indication of a boyfriend in the background, who will make his intentions known soon enough.

Jolanda Gonsalves, 28,  Bridalwear Entrepreneur - Travel, good food, loved ones, the beach

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
To spend: Rs 20,000 per month to sustain myself. To Earn: Rs80,000-Rs1,00,000 per month. With more money comes more stress, I think  
Your happiest moment?
My designs winning collection of the year award at SNDT University’s Graduating Fashion Show  
What makes you happy? 
Travel, good food, spending quality time with loved ones, books, the beach...
What are your hopes for the future? 
To travel the world, expand my business, to teach, have a home, family...

Preeti Bhimrajka, 30, Women’s Wear Buyer at Hypercity India, taking a pregnancy break  - Getting my promotion letter

How much money will it take to make you happy? 
Rs80,000-Rs1,00,000 per month  
Your happiest moment?
Getting my promotion letter in my hand  
What makes you happy? 
Eating food, sleeping, exploring places, planning holidays, being with loved ones, working on challenging projects, creative cooking, meeting new people... 
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to be happy in life and dream of travelling the world.

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