June , 2021
11:58 am

Manisha Lohia


Fail, fail, fail again and again and Rise like a phoenix. Do not compromise or settle on your dreams…be greedy and hungry for your ambitions!!!

You will fail nothing but try, try and keep trying, never give in. Get up…dust yourself and dive deep! 


Push failures aside and move on…Be fearless and fierce…Let your dreams fly and always keep learning. Be a student in life. Make your will, your brahma astra!


A very powerful speech on one of the television channels by a celebrity Bollywood actress, Priyanka Chopra shook me from deep within. The daughter of an army officer from Bareilly dreamed big, dreamed high, was bold and chased her dreams. Her dreams did not make her sleep, made her aspire to keep doing things, keep learning and developing herself. A multifaceted personality, bollywood actress, a Grammy award singer, an author, a producer and what not! She realised very early that she had never arrived enough, there were always newer opportunities to keep exploring! 


The phrase “ Rise like a phoenix ” found a special place in my heart and propelled me to rise. I had received my training in the Montessori Method of Education through an affiliate course from the London Montessori Centre. There had been a very deep transformation with respect to children while I was studying. Shortly after that I had given birth to a baby boy and within two years we moved to Chennai from Kolkata. Unable to get a Montessori school for my son, I started a Montessori House of my own. I wanted my son to grow with the philosophies and principles of the Montessori way as I had seen a significant impact on my life and towards children too. 


I started my Montessori school, Vatsalaya (meaning motherly love) in 2002 and was blessed to grow it from 2 children to about 60 children in 2005. When, suddenly in 2005 I fell sick and had to be hospitalized for a couple of months. I had to hand over the administration work to another qualified person but of course it could not do as well, without my presence. So finally in 2007 we merged this into our bigger school which was managed by my father in law. At that time my son was only 8 years and my health was also recuperating. I would not be in a position to look after the Montessori House as before. So prudently we decided to merge it with our higher secondary school which we renamed it as Vatsalaya. 


My quest to be with children never ended as I went into establishing the Montessori department in one of the most prestigious schools in Chennai in 2008 for a few months. Having completed that in 2009, I started taking Kathak classes for children in my Guru’s school, Devaniya. This went on till 2013 and it gave me adequate time to be there for my son too. I was enjoying the journey of BECOMING a better me with every new venture which I was undertaking. 


Finally in 2013, I got a proposal to start a gym and nutrition studio for children by a renowned nutritionist from Kolkata. Expanding gym and nutrition to a holistic space (which would encompass overall mental, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development), I excitedly plunged into this new opportunity yet again.


With my vast experience as a Montessori educator, writer (as I had started an emagazine for children), a dancer, a seeker, a mother and with the support and encouragement of my father, I started “iSpark Holistic Happiness Studio” in 2016 in Chennai. I was vibrating with a new filled excitement and enthusiasm for life as I loved being with children. Life had filled me with beautiful enriching experiences in which I realised the company of children energized me. I realized I was my BEST SELF when with them. 


When I had started iSpark, I was a novice in the field as I was not a qualified nutritionist nor a person who could develop a program to harness the various developmental attributes in children. All I had with me was an innate desire to do something magnanimous for children and their mothers with all my learnings from child psychology and the Montessori principles. We started iSpark, a niche venture in 2016 and while we were making baby steps to move ahead in the market, the pandemic hit the world…in 2020 March. 


My studio has been closed from one and a half years, a person who would love to be with children was kept away from them. I felt something had hit me very deeply and I was unable to understand what to do next. While I am not a person who favours learning through the online method yet we started something for a very short duration for children. As it progressed, I realised online was not the best way. It would retard the natural development of the child as during their formative years their minds are like sponge. They absorb everything from the environment so what we would have to do is something different. To identify this “difference” which in a layman’s word may seem quite abstract but that was the ground reality. If we could tap upon that we would be a success by reaching out to a huge audience and touching their lives. 


It was high time I decided to close the physical space as it was lying dead unable to generate any revenue but I was contemplating. I was contemplating on something big to unfold and I was sure it would. As I knew the universe was conspiring for me for my dreams to come true. A book by Paulo Coelho, Alchemist had channelized my thoughts towards this direction. Yet within the silent chambers of my heart, I was feeling a little weary and sad.


Questions like – why, what, when, where, which, how kept playing in my mind. The satan within me was haunting me and saying, that I had not been a success anywhere while the angel within me was encouraging me and saying : “ Manisha you are a lioness, you have been trying and never stopping. Whatever opportunity came your way, you grabbed it and made the most of it. So here again these experiences are teaching you something and taking you towards a new horizon. Never GIVE UP.” 


I introspected and it seemed as if a revelation happened. I had been a success when my Montessori House was running. I had touched upon the lives of many parents and children who related to me even now. I had done my best to set up the Montessori department in another school. For sure I had given my heart and soul and even more (if there was anything more than that) in teaching Kathak to children. Above all I had been a devoted mother, wife, daughter and daughter in law and had met all the roles of my life well…So what was the reason for me to feel dejected and low now! 


Just because my studio had not been sustainable, I had no reason to pull myself down when I had all the reason to only aspire and keep aiming for something higher and higher. So what if I had not been a successful entrepreneur, I had touched the lives of young ones. The words of a REVERED SOUL kept churning within my mental frame : “ When God upsets your plan, HE has already SET HIS PLAN to execute.” So what was there to question? I had to live with my innate quality of surrender and let HIS will be executed. In HIS WILL, would be my will and HE would guide me to use that as my BRAHMASTRA to achieve whatever I was aspiring for….for in serving children I was actually doing God’s work. I always believed that children are the purest forms of God’s own creation. 


With those words I found my within RISE UP LIKE A PHOENIX…I started visualizing a LOVE CENTRE filled with babies, expectant mothers, children, mothers, young adults and elderly people basking in my love and filled with happiness. THAT to me was ISPARK HOLISTIC HAPPINESS!!!


A motivating speech from Priyanka Chopra had ignited a spark of FAITH and TRUST in myself and in the infinite force and I had geared up to face life head ON…


My dear friends and readers, I pray each one of you can also find your passion, tap on your dreams and visualize them coming TRUE. I have started implementing this with immediate effect and I can see a humongous difference. I am sure you too will…come let us meet in this journey ahead to complement each other and learn and keep growing….


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