The route? Badagara to Bangalore. Stopovers at Mangalore and Dubai. Destination? IT industry. Fallout? Law. That's been Shamim's road map. "Basically, I didn't want to be a lawyer. More like an escapism. I didn't want to go back home otherwise I'd be forced to do law," confesses this bright sparkle with a smile. And if her smile could launch a thousand ships, then her stunning good looks could cause traffic jams on the high seas. But there's lot more to Shamim's story than sailing ships and the seven seas.
Raised in a fairly broad-minded Muslim family in the small coastal town between Cannanore and Calicut, Shamim had the benefit of convent school education. Which perhaps explains the total absence of the Malayali accent, quite predominant amongst most Keralites. Early on she had decided that she'd seek greener pastures away from home. "My Dad's an engineer, my elder sister used to be a lawyer and my second sister is an engineer too," says Shamim. Hence, the family imposed no barrier of any sort in her quest for a career. So she trooped off to Mangalore to study law and once done, the next stop was Bangalore in pursuit of a job. Initially, she got by doing odd jobs and then she joined a travel agency who were also into event management. "That was the start to my career," she adds. She tells us she did pretty well and we are inclined to believe her. Ask us why and we'll tell you why.
Now here's a young, dashing and daring sort of woman who, five years ago left home not with a satchel slung on a walking stick like Charlie Chaplin did, but with determination in her heart. She had one objective - to carve a niche in some career. Leaving the travel agency where she worked, she hopped on to a plane and landed in Dubai, worked for an investment company for two years and then came back "when I had enough over there" and continued her search for a structured organization. It took a while and eventually her search for excellence led her towards Digital GlobalSoft.
It didn't bother her if the world out there was big, bad and treacherous. She had a strong-will and hell-bent on achieving success. If pitfalls came her way, she'd learn to overcome them and remain focused on the path she chose to tread. That pal, is called tenacity. And this tenacious part of her character epitomizes a sort of special breed that never says, 'I give up.' Imagine just for a moment if she'd thrown in the towel. She'd probably be back in Badagara, happily married (much to the delight of her folks), maybe nit-picking at law and enjoying Karimeen with boiled rice.
"Not going back home has changed my life. At home, I'd have been looked after and supported by my parents. What I have now is my independence, my privacy which I wouldn't have got had I gone back home," adds a very self-confident Shamim and believes that life is much larger than what she once thought it to be. At the same time, she admits that her community may probably look upon her exploits as some sort of a rebellion. So be it.
From bits and pieces accounting for participants at industrial exhibitions, event management, investment brokering and now in an IT company handling the HR function seems a bit far-fetched. To top it, she hadn't an iota of experience or qualification to boot in personnel management. So, what gives? Experience. Whoever said that, "experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards" fits Shamim to the 'T'. Experience developed her interpersonal skills and the interest in HR was the consequence of her decision to focus on one career and not, as she says, "wander about all around." Her first interaction with the software community was during her travel agency employment. And then came the two-year work period at Dubai with this MNC owned by a UK-born-brought-up Pakistani. Says Shamim, "We had these different cultures within the organization. We had Pakistanis, British, Americans, Russians, and Indians - a mixed culture. It was quite an experience working there. In fact, I came back from Dubai saying that if I could survive in this company for two years, no matter where I am in the world, no matter which company, I would survive. It was really tough. That place has given me a lot of exposure."
That reminds us of what Aldous Huxley once said. "Experience in not what happens to a man. It's what a man does with what happens to him." Interchange the "man" to "woman" and the "him" to "her" and you have Shamim in a nutshell.
Note: This story was written when the company was known as 'DIGITAL'.