A few years ago, when 45-year-old Sarita Vijayan was heading to work in a car, she came across US entrepreneur Elon Musk's interview that featured his inspiration behind making SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket boosters, that the US Air Force used for their mission to carry satellite into space. Musk's idea behind making the rocket was to take humanity forward, and it is his vision that inspired Sarita to venture into something that make women move forward. In an extraordinary move, Sarita has launched an online platform named The War Room, to help women who seek their independent rights.
“My idea of empowerment and freedom is women being aware of their legal and financial rights, and also knowing self defence. My venture comes with the premise that women have to take responsibility for themselves and my platform can only help them lead them to the path. It is not for victims or survivors, but for warriors who believe that their life is their responsibility,”says Sarita, an entrepreneur and social activist.
Although women in India have come a long way, they still have to fight the traditional male dominance to emerge as strong independent entities. Cases of rape, workplace harassment, dowry deaths, illiteracy, and ignorance about their rights are still rampant. But unlike other social platforms that consciously work towards changing the mindset of society and men towards women, The War Room works towards changing women's mindsets.
“It majorly forces women to take responsibility of their life. It helps women to define their identity even after being victims of certain incidents, choosing their financial freedom over being dependent, and taking complete responsibility of achieving a freedom of their own definition,” says Sarita, who, along with her team of young minds, is determined to help all the women who want to drop their sense of entitlement. “We can't control life outside. But how we interpret life is something we can and should control. Ultimately, life becomes a summary of the choices one makes,” she explains.
While the country has seen some resilient and powerful women in the past, Sarita is amused with the Bollywoodised definition of 21st century modern women. She believes that women today have become more aggressive and promiscuous, which suits the male-constructed idea of a modern woman. “The ability to be resilient which is a true feminine quality, is treated as weakness. The modern woman is a man-made construct because that fits into their idea,” she asserts.
Sarita, an alumna of Sophia College and Government Law College, grew up in an atmosphere of complete equality and freedom. She had worked with multiple organisations as a journalist, but her inclination has always been towards working for the rights of women. And in spite of being busy with her social work and The War Room, she also curates and choreographs contemporary dance shows at various cultural festivals.
An avid traveller, Sarita likes exploring different places across the world, but Gurez Valley in Kashmir and Wadi Rum Village in Jordan remain her favorite destinations. “I try to visit places away from glamour and which have a lot of stories and architecture," she reveals. Sarita is also an author of a book The Death of an Ordinary Mother that chronicles her mother's journey, who died of cancer. However, she still categorises herself as a boring person. “I am a boring person,” she laughs, adding, “I love being like that. I have some wild and crazy people around me, but my party is to be with myself. I am instinctively like that,” she concludes.