Meet Malini Gowrishankar, a young mum entrepreneur who shares with Mums and stories in an one on one meeting her journey and perspective of leading a travel company for women and being a parent as a single mum.
“I grew up in a traditional household and I had an environment where my parents encouraged me to pursue music as I had shown immense interest since childhood. I was also participating in many reality shows all through my teens. When I stepped into early adult life, it was a set chartered path of joining a software company and having an arranged marriage. While I loved my work and gave my best always, my heart was somehow not in it.
I was used to a lot of family travels and post marriage we as a couple had continued to pursue travelling as a passion. By this time I had started doing voice over assignments as well.
It wasn’t easy to do voice recordings in the beginning. Due to the participation in reality shows I was used to rejections and I started working on all aspects to improve on my skill.
It so happened that after a few months the unfortunate Nirbhaya incident occurred and I was deeply disturbed. There was a lot of talk on the social media of how women required to be cautious of travelling or being weary of staying in destinations other than their own homes and so on. I felt that I had to do something about it and that was when F5 Escapes came into picture.
By this time I was a mum to a 6 year old too. Due to various reasons I got separated from my husband and at one point of time in life I was on the threshold of keeping a young startup alive, running the household as a single mum and a cloud of uncertainty was prevalent in my life. But something kept telling me not to give up and that I could manage it all.
I started with one trip a month and now we have done over 100 tours. Solo trips, mum and kids trips, one day travels, women groups – we have done it all. I am also an established voice artist now.
One thing I have realized about myself is that the more I travelled, the better I became as an individual. I was able to handle problems in a much better way. I became more and more compassionate and accepting of the world around me. It also made me a happier and contented person, reminding me to be humble, every step of the way.
F5 is about recognizing this need for self-discovery and offering it to other women too.
My son and I are in touch with his dad and it has been encouraging for my child to be able to spend a lot of time with his dad too. I do believe children need both parents’ love and it is unfair to deny the same to them as long as the parent doesn’t deny it. A fallout of a relationship between adults need not affect a child who requires both of them in his or her life.
I have a voice studio at home and a huge support system of family, friends and well-wishers. I used to be a RJ with Worldspace too before I finally decided on travel as my calling. It took my parents a while to believe in me and accept that I can live on my own as an individual, single woman, single mum and also take up entrepreneurship head on. They perhaps would have been happier if I had agreed to go back to my job so that they can be assured of my financial safety. Now they understand that this is who I really want to be and are absolutely supportive of me.
I would like to tell other moms this – Do consider taking time for yourself once in a while to introspect and realize your self-worth. Learn to swim through adversities with your head held high. Be positive about yourself and be confident of raising positive children too.
My son very well understands my work and the path I have chosen in life. He has already travelled to seven countries within nine years. He knows that travel means a lot to me and he is a born traveller too. We work together on assignments where both our voices are used and oh boy, don’t we love working together!
Over the years I have built a lot of humility, compassion and resilience in my system. You never know what battles people are fighting in life. The least we can do is to be kind.”