Saturday, March 28, 2020


Pic Credit : Elan Punith Pereira

(Mrs Karnataka Style Icon, Model, EMCEE )

"Crowns aren't made of rhinestones, they are made of discipline, determination and a hard to find alloy called Courage."

The quote sums it all and rather sets the perfect tone to start this story. There was a whole lot of confusion about piecing this entire story together, but the above quote spoke about everything in just 3 lines. So, picking it up from there and starting our new journey to speak about the Hero of this story whose Life starts from the last word of the above quote-Courage.

Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld had rightly quoted, “The secret to modeling is not being perfect. What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second. You have to be given what's needed by nature, and what's needed is to bring something new.”

Strangely again, to bring something new needs Courage as well, and towing on the same lines is one personality who needs no introduction and has been climbing the ladders of fashion industry stamping her presence with her radiating confidence and sheer excellence. I take pride and deem it to be an honour to present before you the Hero of this story, Mrs. Shwetha Santosh. I am sure you would be wondering, why is Shwetha being referred to as a Hero. I am sure by the end of the story, you will have the answer to it as well....

Shwetha was born in Mangalore to a respectable and humble family who had their roots ingrained into the culture and value systems that engulf most of the household of Dakshina Kannada region. In her words, she describes her childhood as Dramatic having a lots of ups and down’s and ironically the down’s were relatively higher and steadier than the up’s. Her father was working abroad, and Mother was a working woman. She has a younger who she proudly dotes on. The camaraderie between the brother and sister is very strong and it is evident till date from the posts and pictures that her brother proudly shares about her. Her parents were strict disciplinarians who could never compromise with academics. Shwetha’s brother was very brilliant and really good with academics. On the other hand, Shwetha was inclined towards performing Arts and Dance. The mere sound of a temple bell or Aarti was enough for Shwetha to feel the Rhythm and start dancing. The Rhythm and its understanding were so astute within her that till date, it stays with her and helps her in her dance performances, or her stage shows. Although her parents detested her choice of Hobby, she found great support in her Doddamma who helped her pursue her dream of dancing. At that young age, where the child’s mind is like a sponge and is all set to absorb anything and everything that is thrown at them, Shwetha always found herself alone. Due to their busy work schedule, her parents would not have the time to sit and speak to Shwetha and her sibling. There used to be loads of queries that Shwetha used to have, but one look at her mother and she could feel the amount of tiredness that her mother is having and Shwetha used to shun her questions. Some of these questions were answered by her Doddamma, but then there will still loads of questions pending in her mind.... And sadly most of them are unanswered till date......This gave birth to a so called alienation from her parents and the vivacious, bubbly Shwetha slowly started going into a shell and chose to be quiet....A trait that was probably the rise of so many other problems that she was about to face in future as a Teenager and Adolescent. But on the hindsight, this so-called alienation also made her hugely responsible in a lot many ways. Being the eldest child of the family, she started taking care of her brother a lot and started cooking snacks after school for her brother, go to tuitions and return by 8 pm. This became the daily routine for Shwetha and her brother for many more years to come. Over the years, the bond between her brother and herself just intensified and he became her biggest pillar of support. Her Brother and Doddamma became huge influences for her and that can resonate from her talks even today. Shwetha has her priority list charted out and her Brother and her Doddamma come right on TOP of this priority list. 

She started performing at a very young age and she won her first silver coin at the Karavali festival when she was just 3.5 years old. It was just the beginning and there were loads of spectacular performances that kept on following . Shwetha was too young to understand the concept of winning and losing. Her mere joy was to be on the stage and perform to her best and that’s her best weapon in her Armory till date due to which stage fear has been her biggest adversary.  All the other concerns of being aloof and alone were probably taken out as an Outlet through these performances. 

She wasn’t the brightest of the lot in her class and managed to be an average student in academics, but her sheer enthusiasm and love for performing arts always made her bag the outstanding student award in all the Annual Day functions. Sadly, her mother rarely came for these functions. But she used to attend all the award functions where her brother used to get awards for his academic excellence. As a child, Shwetha could understand that there is a line of partiality being drawn here but could never muster the courage to ask her mother the reasons for the same and that’s one BOG grouse that she still nurses in her heart.

Shwetha always wanted to do something in dance. But this passion had to be put on the backburner or rather in this case, had to be erased off completely. Back in the time, Middle class families would fancy of career choices like a Doctor, Engineer, CA and Lawyer, any other profession apart from that was looked down upon and the mention of dance as a career was considered to be a grave sin. Shwetha had no choice but to stop dancing in 9th grade. This feeling of not having a personal choice about her own career and the lack of understanding towards dance performances by parents put Shwetha in a big bout of depression which was acting against her body and started showing up strong signals. Normally Girls attain puberty by 6th/7th Grade, but in Shwetha’s case this got delayed and she attained puberty at a much later stage somewhere in her PU. The 1st year was Ok, but the second year was taxing on her health as there used to be heavy bleeding and at one stage she was recommended bed-rest for a couple of months. She was way behind the girls of her age in terms of this new bodily development that was transpiring within her. Mood Swings, Hormonal changes were all happening at a sudden surge thus giving her and her Body no time to recover from this physical jolt. The effect was very adverse leading her to lose marks in her Math’s paper of PU Exams. She didn’t take that failure to her heart and kept working hard and applied for Diploma and then pursued from KVG College, Sullia. It was in this place that Shwetha and her talent bloomed into a fragrance emitting flower. Her introvert nature was slowly fading off and the world was yet to experience this side of Shwetha who was becoming Bold, outspoken and chatty. These traits evolved a new Shwetha and laid the founding blocks of BRAND Shwetha in the long run. It was at her chatty behavior that caught up the attention of NAMMA TV folks and she was called for an Interview for a TV Host. However, she was advised against it by her Mother and she virtually turned back from the doors of NAMMA TV office choosing to listen to her parents rather than her heart. That was the time Anushree was entering NAMMA TV and she banked on that challenge and went ahead and has become a name to reckon for in Kannada TV today. Every time, Anushree comes up on TV, it does pinch her mother somewhere deep down about her decisive thinking that back fired. However, Shwetha doesn’t feel bad about it and she chooses to be the reticent and obedient daughter to her parents. However, this silence grew deep in her creating a BIG Void leading her to a state of claustrophobic depression and even pushed her to thoughts of even ending up her life. Shwetha however collected herself and got back with her life thus showing her Fighter like qualities at such a young age.

She completed her B.Tech degree post her marriage and made her mother proud of becoming an Engineer who never wanted to be an Engineer. That degree and marksheet stands just a piece of stranded paper without any meaning or adding any value to Shwetha’s life. When Shwetha looks back, she still speaks with a heavy heart and her Mother understands today what a folly it was to send her for Engineering. Had her Dreams been supported back then, Shwetha’s Tryst with Destiny would have been very different.........

Marriage bells rang in for Shwetha and she got married in 2010 when she might have been only 19 years. She was getting married to a highly orthodox family who were governed by set protocols and procedures. She found herself into a situation wherein she had to be at her best by subduing all her passions and desires. Let’s not forget that, this is the same Shwetha who had zero interaction as a child with her mother and was completely bereft of the worldly ways and her situation at that point was like From the Frying pan into the FIRE. A gamut of expectations, responsibilities and commitments were exposed in front of her and she wasn’t sure where to start and where to nail it as an End. She was blessed with a Beautiful baby girl and by 2015 she had delivered her second child as well. In the year 2014, the ghosts of the past came back. Shwetha had HIT rock bottom of her life, marital pressures, compatibility issues, lack of motivation, fear of acceptance, aimless life were some of the turmoil’s running in her mind., She was Alive breathing, but she wasn’t Living at all. She was undergoing the worst phase of her life and once again she wanted to end her life. 

It was at this juncture that she met a DOCTOR to seek professional help. Her mother took her to meet the DOCTOR and that’s where the real Magic happened. What started off as a meaningless and aimless discussion with Shwetha sitting through the counselling aimlessly in a vegetative state became more meaningful when she heard the examples that the DOCTOR gave her and also the mantra that changed her Life. He asked her to “Love THYSELF” and turned Shwetha’s face from her darkest fears and showed her TRUE self to her and asked her to Love herself, pamper herself above LIVE Life on her OWN terms. This is one mantra that changed her life for GOOD thereafter. And that mere thought of ending her life actually turned to be a boon and that was her Easter moment, wherein a New Shwetha was born.

She started pursuing her long left dream of Dance and Fashion. With absolutely no backing and zero monitory support, she plunged into this. At this time, her Biggest support system once again came to her rescue i.e her Brother. He stood by her like a Rock and asked her to focus on her Dreams. Shwetha didn’t seek any help from her husband or parents. She came back from Muscat to India as she understood that there was too much of chaos out there and hence, she and her husband decided to take some time off each other, and she came back to Mangalore. This solitude gave both of them a lot of peace and understanding. Earlier, Shwetha used to hound her husband with calls asking him where he was and what he was doing every now and then. Shwetha realized her mistakes and came to terms with her own self and in the bargain found a lot of inner peace and positivity around her.

She took up her first job in Mphasis and her starting salary cheque was for 14k. For the first time, Shwetha was entering the real world without anyone’s support and was going to earn her first salary very soon. The work experience at Mphasis taught so many valuable lessons and that exposure to corporate life was life changing for Shwetha. She was exposed to that culture for the first time and slowly evolved into a more practical and better Human being. This was a plan that had high chances of failing, but the gritty girl that she was, She had told herself very clearly that she is not giving up now and that reminds us of the famous quote from Count of Monte Cristo that can be re-written for Shwetha now as “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a Woman is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout out loud, “Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you: as Shwetha the Woman!!!!!”

She still remembers the DOCTOR who treated her and happened to speak to him after her recent victory at the pageant. He was one Proud Doctor who took immense pride in her achievements and was happy to make this Big Difference in her life.

In today’s judgmental world, people form and frame opinions in a jiffy. Success often gets attributed some or other form of short cut. We might be active on Social Media, We might be Educated and cultured as well. However, the irony of the situation is such that If a Man Achieves Success, its Hard work and if it’s a Woman achieving success people term it as some kind of short cut used that is defaming and character assassination the very essence of womanhood. People have been brutal enough to pass such judgements about Shwetha as well. No one has ever pondered the facts neither has someone tried to analyze the amount of pains that she endured over the years to reach this state and position. Its just hypocritical of a section of the society that can’t digest the fact about a Woman becoming successful and resort to such cheap antics.

When Shwetha started off, she hardly received any support on this. Her In-laws, Parents and Neighbors went all guns blazing at her and trying to drive sense into her head. Sadly, the sense they were talking about was “GIVING UP” and thankfully Shwetha thought about this otherwise. She had equal struggle back at home convincing her mother. Her Mother was the typical Middle-class entity who lived more for the World rather than for her Own Home. Just that this time, Shwetha stood her ground firm and convinced her mother about the same. So what if she is a mother of 2 kids, so what if she is staying separately, so what if she is wearing Western clothes. She was wearing something that she is comfortable in and something that she can carry off well. Its just sad that she is living in a country where they measure the strength of woman’s character by the Length of her skirt and that’s something that the society has to think and ponder rather than Shwetha.

Shwetha started making TIK TOK Videos and some way wants to thank the Chinese inventor for bringing out this app. Its got manifold advantages, One it is keeping people busy and allowing them to explore their creative side, and Two its also generating revenue for people who shoot their videos and upload the same. This is one way of keeping all the IDLE minds occupied and do something more creative rather than sitting idle and getting whacky ideas through the idiot box.

Shwetha believes in balancing her personal and professional life efficiently. Her day starts pretty early, wherein she rises by 5 Am and does all the household chores including cooking for her kids and cleaning up things around the house. Once the Kids are out for school, she too will start her day and finish all her meetings and come back home by 6:30 or 7 PM. The first thing she does is to take the kids for a ride and then come back home, sit with them for doing their homework and then Family dinner and once that is done, it’s time to Hit the bed. Weekends are all for kids and she ensures that she doesn’t keep any professional work on weekends. However, if it’s a very important assignment she takes her kids along with her so that they too see their Mumma work and understand that Their Mumma puts in a lot of hard work and dedication towards her work. She believes in being a Friend to her kids and takes them out to all the places that she visits cos she wants them to be exposed to all the worldly things and get a whiff of everything around them. She has trained her elder daughter to be like her and she does all the chores pertaining to her and her sister every day. Shwetha ensures that she has constant conversations with her children and understands what’s happening at their school and in their world. She is a patient listener and is the perfect soundboard for her kids. Shwetha knows that her kids are studying in Vibgyor schools where the rich and mighty come. Its possible that the children get influenced by others and might ask something that is way too costly. She had a tough time adjusting and there were rifts between her kids and herself. They thought she was being stingy and not getting them things, they want. This brought Shwetha to her knees and started killing her from within. She then started Watching parenting videos on YouTube and also came in touch with Anajana. After all this she was able to teach the kids  the difference between a WANT and a NEED and asked them to pick and choose their requirements based on that. This value has done wonders for them as the kids add only those things to their shopping cart that are must for them and not just for them.

With help of Anjana, shwetha started training people on Montessori schooling.This training broke a lot of stereotypes in learning and opened her to newer and better ways to understand children through methods of child psychology. Rote Learning, Memorizing, all went out of the window and were replaced with understanding of concepts, Phonetic learning skills and above all the art of raising a child and not raising hands on the child. Every Kid is special and as teachers we have to understand the needs and aspirations of every child. Catering to these needs was the germination of an idea that was later called TINY STEPS, A school started by Shwetha for kids to live and experience childhood as it is. She is very easy with kids and has the ability any number of kids and can mold them to finer individuals who will be OUR Future of tomorrow. So in a way, her simple quest is to strive with the kids today to make theirs and OUR tomorrow better.

Shwetha is proud of TINY STEPS and spends her time over there at least thrice a week spread across 2 hrs. She also conducts Summer camps for these kids and teaches them Dance, Yoga and Performing Arts. Its her Dream to build a Dream House wherein she will admit every Woman who has a Dream and passion and encourage their dreams and she will take care of their kids in this Dream House. She refrains from using any other term for this house cos she doesn’t want to bracket it with any specific term. This will be a home for Dream Makers, and she will be the DREAM MERCHANT for this.

She is in awe of this generation who are so smarter and active in all walks of life. She loves going out with the younger kids and she always feels there is so much to learn from them, be it their lingo, their mindset and the IN thing in terms of fashion, movies or food. Shwetha likes to be updated and she considers this generation of kids as another level of Wikipedia. She understands that Kids of today have their own preferences in terms of lifestyle, but there has to be a line drawn by parents as its their discretion cos they are better informed and have crossed the same stages of life. Shwetha believes in educating her kids to speak their mind out and never shy away from taking ownership and speaking the Truth. She has told her kids that come what may come, they can come and tell her the Truth, cos she just not Expects their Truth, but she will Accept their Truth as well.

Shwetha strongly believes that Life is too short, and we must do everything under the Sun and live the life to the fullest. Its not about having a long life, but it’s about having a BIG Life and this life becomes BIG only by dreaming BIG and Living to see that Dream become into a BIG Reality. Shwetha wants to live her life to the fullest and die without having the slightest regret of being unable to do something. Its possible that people around us might not see our vision. Family might oppose cos they are from a closed setup and would not understand this world of Action and Arc lights. However, if we can sit with them and talk to them about our dream and slowly work towards that, then they too will start believing in our dreams. Shwetha had participated in Dance Mummy Dance and went upto the 7th round and lost it out. In the bargain she had spent over 1.5 lakhs in training for this show, she doesn’t have any qualms about it. Everyone suggested her to take a break from all of this, but she continued to pursue her dream and post Mrs India Karnataka Mangalore victory, All the family members took pride in her achievements and started believing in her dreams as well. So we need to relentlessly pursue our dreams and let our work do all the talking and leave the rest all behind. Climbing the ladder of success, she earned a large number of fans and she was bestowed with LOVE from all of them. There were also a lot of naysayers and backbiters but over the period she realized the if she kept focusing on them, then the climb uphill towards success will be delayed. So she let those people speak and kept quietly working towards success. Today Shwetha finds herself in a much-relaxed zone wherein she is at peace herself and she has accumulated her positive energy to do the best for her own-self. 

She derives immense strength from her Brother and her dear friend Ashwini who she proudly calls her 2 AM friend. Ashwini is her Biggest Critic and best sounding board. She gets her most honest opinion from Ashwini who doesn’t mince words and speaks her mind to Shwetha. Shwetha acknowledges that such friends are rare to find and she really treasures Ashwini’s friendship. She might not be speaking to her regularly, but if there is a problem, she knows it for good that Ashwini will stand by her like a Rock!!!

  1. Mrs. Mangalore ( Mrs India Karnataka Mangalore 2019)
  2. Mom and Me
  3. Mrs Karnataka Supreme
  4. Mrs Karnataka  Style Icon

Just some of the achievements have been listed above. And the Hunger to perform more, Achieve more and Live by her Principles and Morales is increasing day by day. Shwetha is going to focus her energies on Mrs India, but before that she has to do some preparations for the same. She knows that Winning Mrs India is not a small thing and requires loads of hard work. She is inspired by the lady who attempted Mrs India 8 times and finally managed to get the Crown the 9th time. In the same manner, Shwetha too wont rest until she has that beautiful crown resting on her head and that’s when she will Proclaim it loud and clear. “I feel like the QUEEN of this WORLD!!!!!”. She wants to undergo formal training for the same. But for doing all of that, she would need some monetary backup. Being the self-made woman that she is, she wouldn’t like to seek help from anyone. So she is going to focus on Event Management and EMCEE offers. She is going to use her skill and save up some good money for the preparations. The budget for the Mrs India prep work would go to around 5 Lakhs. She will also be indulging in Voice and Diction training and updating herself with the latest happenings around the world, fitness training in the form of Yoga and Meditation. Gymming is not something of an idea that she goes with. And in the meantime, she also wants to start a TED Talks kind of show. In a way, this is something special about Shwetha, cos she wants to give it back to the society and world that has given her so much. At the same time, she doesn’t want anyone else to face the trials and tribulations that she went through. People usually refrain from teaching their students all that they know. But Shwetha thinks otherwise and believes in imparting 100% education and teaching to all her students.

In the beginning, we had quoted Shwetha as a Hero and after reading all about her, there would be no doubt about her being a TRUE HERO for many women who are still pondering with their dreams. We Thank Shwetha for leading the true spirit of woman hood and reminding us the definition of a Hero;

“A Hero- You want to be one of those rare human beings who make history, rather than merely watch it flow around them like water around a rock”

We wish Shwetha all the best for all her future endeavors and hope to see her vivacious and contagious zeal to pass onto everyone around her. Closing this with lines that aptly fit the true Spirit of Shwetha.

“Sleek & Tender as an infant feather,
Yet able to stand against any weather;

In her womb she can carry life,
Many roles she plays from mother to wife;

Her charming spirit gives meaning to a home,
In the outer world she also rules the official dome.”