We are sharing a story of how some of us carry on with life careers that we never thought we would be doing.
Situated just opposite the Tourism Market at Bhaktapur, Deepika Beauty Home and Training Center is a full-fledge service that covers everything from getting your facials, to make-up and even training.
Like most Nepalese youngsters, Ms. Deepika also joined several classes during her 3-month break after her SEE exams, or SLC as it used to be called. A common choice for girls back then, Deepika took a beautician training course during her after-school break.
She tells us how she got into this field, “I’ve been in this field for more than 10 years now. I took a course together with my friends right after my SLC exams and soon after, my friends had opened their own beauty parlors. I thought I should do the same so I asked my parents and they were very supportive of it. I started out very small, providing just a few services as I was new and had no experience.”
“Opening a parlor of my own was definitely a challenge, I didn’t have a business partner and for the entirety of it, I have been operating it solely, with no partners. It took a lot of time for me to get where I am today. It was not fast or rapid progress, it started from the bottom and progressed gradually in a slow process for me to own what I have today. I went from doing a few services to slowly integrating more services and then finally a training center. It has only been four years since I opened training services.”
“It was not my interest in this field that led me to open a parlor, in fact, I was never interested in it. It was more of an ‘I already took the training so I should just go with the flow’ kind of thing. My aim in life wasn’t to be a beautician. Even today, I am just carrying it on as work and not ‘passion’. It is an agreement I have with myself that I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into this so I should just carry on with it.”
“What I am most grateful for is the unconditional support I have received from my family since the beginning. Even my husband supports me a lot. I am often engulfed by thoughts of giving up this business but my husband is always motivating me. He urges me to make a name of my own and to have milestones in my life.”
When we talk about difficulties, there is no way we can ignore the downfall the COVID-19 has brought to people in almost all fields. Talking about this, Deepika says, “The lockdown was a very big blow, especially for a business like mine where touching people and making contact through hands to faces, our business entirely collapsed.” She adds, “I had a lot of old clients calling me and asking if the parlor was open or when it would open. But another factor was that I also gave birth during the lockdown. The safety precautions were there but I had to be extra-cautious because I was more vulnerable and weak. It sometimes got in my head because I had to take care of my child too. You cannot really track down where your customers have come from and how safe they are.”
Since beauty services require hands-on service, it is obvious that people are going to be hesitant. “It is going to take a lot of time for businesses in this industry to recover or operate like before. I’m thinking it will take at least a year until everything operates smoothly like before. A lot of my clients have gone back to their villages and hometowns. So there are not a lot of people here. Also, our services are not really a necessity, it is just an option or an extra service/facility. When it comes to financial situations, it has been very bad. I have only been making 10% of what I used to make before but the expenses are the same, I still have bills and rents to pay. On mental health, the entirety of the lockdown was very depressing, I did not know what to do and was not able to think of how I was going to recover from this. The most I did during the lockdown was learning a few things on the internet.”
When asked about what her aim in life was, Deepika shares, “I actually wanted to study and become a nurse. My parents also carried a dream of making me a nurse. At times I do think of what it would’ve been like if I took that career path but I try not to dwell on it too much. I consider myself pretty successful so I do not have lingering hopes or attachments to that”.
Sharing her achievements, Deepika says that she considers her participation in the 2018 Mrs. Universal as her greatest achievement. “I saw the post calling for auditions on social media sites and talked to my husband about it. He supported me a lot, I bagged two tokens and made it to the top 7. The experience was my first and it really gave me a lot of confidence and helped me create a name of my own. More people came to know about my beauty parlor so it has helped me. It was a memorable experience.”
Shrawana Shakya, Kathmandu, Nov 01, 2020