We have always had stories to tell you. However, the best part of our work is when we can bring to you stories of ordinary people from among us, our own brothers and sisters, who go on to make something big rising from nowhere. The dark horses of our society, who start unnoticed, but then with their hard work and perseverance, break the barriers, struggle through and go on to win the race, and thus our hearts. It makes us feel proud when we can present a story that can inject some motivation, pride and inspiration in all of us. One such story that we bring to you today is of Bebaychna, a fashion designer who rose up from scratches, struggled hard through her journey of learning, and now proudly owns a fashion boutique for Sari lovers in Gangtok.
Born and raised in Martam, East Sikkim, Bebaychna completed her early schooling from St. Joseph Convent School, Martam and St. Xaviers, Pakyong. A graduate with an Honours degree in Geography from Loreto College, Kolkata, Bebaychna took an altogether divergent and daring pathway in the pursuit of her “own inner calling”. In her quest to do something more, something of her own, where each day she would be motivated and inspired, Bebaychna, after a brief stint in corporate and content writing firms, decided to take a plunge in designing.
She joined a Designing School in Kolkata in 2010 for two years and acquired a Diploma Degree, and began her journey by working as an apprentice to a Fashion designer. Recalling her early days, Bebaychna says “Although it was an avenue for me to learn yet like every other apprentice, each day was a struggle. I remember dragging myself to work every morning, seated in Anwar Shah to Nimtala bus, in my mind I would keep praying and reminding myself to stay motivated & stay firm to the belief that one day all the hard days will pay off. I have to go through this to polish myself. At that time, I assured myself that every day was an opportunity for me to learn something new.”
Bebaychna then joined an Export House [RVP Export], Kolkata as a production manager, handling production related work and supervising the labourers to know more about management and production. Another learning period for Bebaychna, it was here, while working with the labourers from different backgrounds, who put in numerous hours of work, where she realized that designing wasn’t merely just glamour and even creativity. It entailed many unknown aspects and involves numerous processes to make the final output.
In her own words, she says “This experience for me was indeed one of the most challenging. To design was one thing, and to execute production was another. For any business at all, workforce management is a challenge, especially in a garment industry where one would literally be paralysed without a proper production team. Extended working hours or hard work never scared me but I definitely had a lot to learn about team management. Working with all men production unit, I sometimes had to go through patriarchal discrimination. Workplace would get uncomfortable sometimes. Not all men that I would have to deal with would be well mannered or educated. I remember having a heated argument with one of the workers who threatened me saying ‘Madam, factory ke gate ke bahar bhi duniya hai, ghar bhi toh jana hai apko’.” However, her deep faith in God and her thirst for knowledge and learning gave her the strength to overcome these everyday difficulties to create a pathway of her own.
Just when the entire process of creating something from scratch and working intimately with the labourers [karigars] was inspiring Bebaychna into broadening her own career aspirations, she got an opportunity to work with Anamika Khanna “the Designer who Designers celebrate”. Accounting for her experience of working with Anamika Khanna, she says “Apart from Anamika Khanna’s immense creativity as a designer, I saw her as a woman of compelling strength and determination who had made a mark in the fashion industry, not only in India but across the globe, truly with her talent, hard work, dedication and commitment towards her work. Working as her assistant, she would inspire me each day in the way she juggled her commitment towards work, family and social life.”
Today, Bebaychna has created a space for herself, through her struggles, determination and hard work. She has opened her first Boutique at Tara Complex at Namnang Road, Gangtok, for sari lovers. Here each sari or shawl has been created, designed and produced by her. She says “This is my way of curating a space for myself and bringing home my years of experience and learning. It’s not just about designing now. It’s about production and business. So with this shop, I am trying to do both. Each and everything here is made from scratch under my ideas and supervisions. ”
Talking about her driving force and inspiration behind her designs, Bebaychna says “My mother and my Late grandmother have been my driving force. I try to draw aspects of my creativity from their nature – my mother’s kindness, vulnerability and patience; while my grandmothers bold, powerful and fierceness… I try to somehow visualize these in my work… Also, I imagine them in my work too. I go for elegance and simplicity.”
A small message for our readers, “There is no job that is big or small as long as u learn and grow whether it be mentally, emotionally, intellectually or financially– they are all opportunity for us to learn and learn more. With hard work and belief in oneself, we can achieve our dreams. There will always be people who will have both positive as well as negative opinions but just follow your path and you will succeed. Filter the negative opinions, people will create doubt, overlook it.”
For Bebaychna, this is just the beginning of her exploration and hard work. With time, she intends to open her Boutique in other places like Darjeeling and Siliguri. I dream of creating more positive vibes through work. We congratulate her for her achievement and overcoming numerous obstacles in living her dream. Indeed, where there is will, there is a way and where there is a way, success follows.