Shimla-based Lata doesn’t like to be defined by her disability. The 31-year-old, who suffers from a locomotor disability since birth, is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree from the Himachal Pradesh University. Born into a farming family in a small village in the Ghanhati district, she lives with her parents, brother and sister-in-law.
Spurred in part by adversity, Lata entered Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited (MHRIL) to realise her professional dream. As luck would have it, she sailed through her recruitment and finally got a job in Club Mahindra Resort, Kandaghat in 2017. “That was my Rise moment,” she says adding, “My training shows people with disabilities can do much more if they are supported well.”
Lata says the training was empowering and reinforced her ability to live with confidence. At the property, she remembers, her first day began with induction and an orientation. “On the first day, I met Gagandeep Singh, Shekhar Bhoral, Priyanshu Srivastava and Chaya Sharma. As part of the orientation programme, I was put up in the guest room and introduced to all the heads of the departments. I can’t thank our cluster head Gagandeep Singh enough, who agreed to have a special lunch with me,” she says.
She joined Club Mahindra, Kandaghat, as an associate (Tailor) in the Housekeeping department. Her colleagues emphasised on making her comfortable and boosted her confidence. They welcomed Lata positively contributing to her overall health. “I was so nervous on my first day at work, walking into such a beautiful resort was really daunting! But everyone was so friendly; so I soon loved coming into the office, seeing people, and it made me feel happy and included,” she recalls.
Initially, it was stressful as she was unsure about her work environment in the resort. That’s when her colleagues and team members realised that she needed more support. “People around me supported a lot since I was new to the culture and place. I will remain grateful to one of my roommates, Chaya Sharma, who kept me in good spirits. Suman Guleria, my HOD, and Mahinder Chaudary trained me on departmental procedures. I wanted to learn computer and Gagandeep Singh and Shekhar Bhoral got me enrolled into the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan,” she says. They have ensured that her needs are looked into, especially in terms of accessibility and transportation.
Lata feels blessed to have friends and colleagues who supported her end to end and made life easier in her workplace. She was constantly motivated and encouraged by them. “Initially, my biggest worry was how I would adjust in a professional environment. But thanks to my team’s support and patience of my seniors, I overcame all the challenges. My team has been sensitive to my needs,” she says.
Lata also credits her parents for her success, saying that she couldn’t have made it as far without their support and patience.
One of her fondest moments was on the Annual Day on December 13, 2017. She says, “I was gifted a blazer pin by the chief guest Mohit Chawal, the Superintendent of Police. He was impressed with my singing and encouraged me a lot.”
Lata never let her disability define her. For now, though, she’s pretty content in her current role. “I’m independent now, and I can support my family financially. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to work at Club Mahindra, Kandaghat. Now I can fulfil my family’s needs proudly,” she says.
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