Siya Sood on how a month with Radhika Chandrashekhar taught her how to balance passion and pragmatism

Anxiety – it gets to the best of us, and even gets the best of us. When I decided to dive headfirst into the field of media, and experience the ‘production life’, I was a ball of nerves. But I soon found out that my passion for travel, media and culture could not have found a better outlet than the one I had. #IndiaMyWay (Discovery Channel) – a travel show that explores novel ideas and unusual people in the country, gave me the rare opportunity to engage with new age entrepreneurs and age old traditions alike. At the core of this enlightening adventure was one person making it all come true. Not only did she take the time to guide me through work and processes new to me, but with great interest and insight, she helped me think more clearly. I was encouraged, taught, advised, listened to – all of which have helped shape the career path that I am now on. Radhika Chandrashekar gave me the space to open up to her, and with a gentle but experienced hand she helped me find direction.


I admired Ms Chandrashekar’s passion and enthusiasm for the work she does. I was reassured that if one followed one’s dreams, one would not fail. You could see the zeal for children’s and women’s issues in her gleaming eyes! Radhika always seemed ready for the next big thing, and at the same time she continued to give her present work a hundred percent. She was always on time, stayed focused during work hours, looked out for her team consistently and kept everyone on track. As a person who values individuality, and authenticity, she demonstrated how to lead by example. She encouraged her team and me to think for ourselves, form opinions and voice them no matter what. She created an environment of trust, acceptance and independence. I realised what an enormous difference this made to the team – everybody felt comfortable, even excited, with the idea of coming to office the next day.


Even though she handled a major chunk of the project herself, Chandrashekar found the time to mentor me effectively. My month with her was a success because she met me halfway – she was as keen to help me with my decisions, as I was in learning from her. She easily put herself in my shoes and understood where I was coming from. It was almost as if internalising information came to her naturally – she always came back with valuable and sound advice. From the very first day I could tell that everyone in the team, no matter how old, confided in her. I could tell she was the one they felt comfortable with and the first one to be approached in times of complications. The creativity and originality in her work and the way that she is, is just one of the qualities I aspire to achieve.


Seeing my enthusiasm for the work being done, Chandrashekar generously offered to take me along for one of the many shoots. She felt that exposure to the final output of the team, was essential – and like always, she was right. Travelling to Rampur with my mentor and her team was my chance to see her in action. Her command on set, her people skills and the way she communicated with the locals, all made sure that work was priority and that we were on schedule. To be honest I was not so surprised to see her work so effortlessly, from my time in Delhi, I had expected nothing less. Being with her instilled in me the confidence to listen to myself, and to fearlessly follow what my heart told me. She taught me about balance – between passion and pragmatism, between work and play, and finally between relationships like hers and mine.


As our time together came to an end, so did my inhibitions. To lead the way as Radhika Chandrashekar does – with dedication, intuitiveness and patience, while not easy, is something I will try my best to do.



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