1. As Editor of Femina, I travelled the length and breadth of India to address groups of women in cities as well as small towns on social and woman-centric issues. I received several awards and much recognition for this job including Best Woman Executive of the Year. As Editor, Femina, I was invited by the Government of Germany in 1970 to travel all over Germany while it was still divided and to interact with artists, writers and women in various professions. I travelled to all the cities in the year of the Munich Olympics and interacted with the media and the leading women athletes. My German visit included a visit to both sides of the divided city of Berlin. In 1975, International Women’s Year, I was chosen by the US Government as the Woman Media-person of the Year to travel all over the United States to interact with women’s groups, artists and achievers. In 1989, I was chosen to lead a 17 nation women’s delegation to the Peace Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Moscow, Russia. I delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Indian delegation.
I also led a women’s delegation to Iran, Teheran and Isfahan, to exchange experiences with the women of that beautiful country.
Iran is an exotic country with tree-lined streets and avenues and fascinating bazaars. Teheran is the picturesque capital. Isfahan, the blue/turquoise city on the River Zayandeh is lovely. The Naqsh-e-Jahan Square with the Jameh Mosque is one of the biggest city squares in the world and an outstanding example of Iranian architecture. It is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The ornate bridges over the river are marvels of architecture. The Pol-e-Shahrestan bridge was probably built in 12th century!
2. In 1982, the Banaras Hindu University honoured me as one of the ten most outstanding women in India. I was fortunate to be one among them.
The visit to the University to receive the award was inspiring and seeing the sunrise on the Ganga at dawn and the Sarnath Park were memorable experiences!
3. I conceptualized the Miss India contest for decades. For the promotion of Indian textiles and handlooms, I presented fashion shows in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Fiji, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Senegal and at the Festival of India in London, UK.
Today, Indian high fashion designers have made an international impact by designing ensembles and jewellery for world celebrities and stars. The Femina annual fashion show in several big and small cities of India and other countries helped the success of the fashion industry.
For Femina, I led a fashion troupe to Yugoslavia three times – 1975, 1977 and 1979. Shows were held in Zagreb and Belgrade. The show in 1979 coincided with the World Bank Meet and was covered by world media as an all-women show with technicians also being women.
One of the most beautiful cities of Yugoslavia – before its division into three nations – was Llyblyana with its ice sculpture caves. With my troupe, I spent a whole day inside the caves on a toy train seeing ice sculptures of wondrous varieties.
4. In 1999, the Travel Agents’ Association, India, awarded me the Travel Writers Award. The prize was a luxury bus tour of England, Wales, Scotland to see the countryside. The journey through various parts of Britain was wonderful. Edinburgh with its castles and majestic Gothic buildings, Wales with its rivers and England with its lovely gardens, heritage castles and palaces, were familiar sights from my student days. This trip through England also took me to Stratford-on-Avon to see Shakespeare’s home once again!
During this trip, I was lucky to visit the village of my favourite poet William Wordsworth in the Lake District of England. I saw his favourite daffodils too!
Some of Wordsworth’s beautiful lines:
A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees: Fluttering and dancing in the breeze: For oft when on my couch I lie: In vacant or in pensive mood: They flash upon that inward eye: Which is the bliss of solitude: And then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils.
5. A prestigious award from Meenatai, wife of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
Behind every successful man there is a woman and Meenatai, wife of Bal Thackeray was no exception. She was a wise and erudite woman. I received my award for Excellence in Journalism from her in 1992 in a glittering ceremony.