How do I introduce her to my readers? I thought long and hard. No one word, no one adjective befits her. She is vibrant, energetic, cheerful, stylish, ambitious, professional, emotional, grounded, religious, loving, responsible, accountable... she simply flows.
Preethi D'Souza - the lady with a beatific smile and beautiful eyes! Yep, that's what strikes one at first glance. No sooner than we settle down than she zooms off. No barrels held.
The sacrificial lamb she was
And you soon wonder, is she speaking of herself or someone else? Married at a tender age of 19 into a business family in Mumbai, India, Preethi, then a fresh graduate, looked forward to marital bliss. By 25, with three kids in her arms, she realised she was stuck in a 'loveless' marriage.
Preethi attempted her best to become the woman of her husband's liking. Whenshe failed, she turned to her mom, who advised her to stay put, as "it would bring bad reputation to her two younger sisters".
|Proud mom... her best friends|
The beautician is born
So what did Preethi do? The determined woman that she has been, she returned to Dubai and continued to play the wife and mother and, yes, decided to spruce herself up. She successfully earned an international degree in cosmetology - 'CIDESCO' - from Zurich.
|A moment to cherish... one for the album|
Later, she requested her husband to help her setup a salon. When he dillydallied on his promise, she did the best she could. Preethi distributed brochures detailing the services she could offer among residents in the community. Soon, she found herself being a 'mobile beautician' - she carried her kit and visited clients at their homes. The bubbly person that she is, it wasn't long before she became the talk of the town. So, she turned the maid's room of her villa into her salon. But as business boomed, some jealous eyes threatened her of legalities. So she quickly wound that up and applied for a professional licence and set up her first salon in Dubai in 2010.
A mentor and guide she turns
Her professionalism combined with her warmth drew women in hordes towards her. They came not only for beauty treatments but also to share their woes. Preethi would give them all a patient ear and advice the best she could enabling them to stand on their feet and become financially independent.
|Taking a break...way to chill!|
As her counselling sessions increased, she was advised by her women clients to start a Facebook page in order to reach out to more women. And thus was born 'Moms World'. With 4,000+ members, Preethi had her hands and days full. She even organised an exhibition in Dubai - free of charge - where her mentees exhibited their handcrafts.
Lessons from naivety she learns
So was everything honky-dory? Well, Preethi being a Giver, people did take her for rides, utilising her for their own selfish ends and turning her down when she sought help. But the lovely lady does not pause to delve into details. "I bless them. Let them go." Large-hearted, indeed!
Meanwhile, she opened a branch of her salon 'Mothers World' in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah. Unfortunately, she had to close it down a year later only because she does not believe in taking loans. A prudent businesswoman!
A new career beckons her
Does that dishearten her? Well, no way. She's one woman who leads a passionate life. She's a sought-after Emcee, being a regular at community and church events, apart from hosting regular shows. This drive in her to connect with the larger world has led to her latest venture - Preethi is soon going to have a own show titled 'Lifestyle With Preethi', on one of the prestigious TV Channels of Dubai, where she will talk about relationships, movie reviews, beauty, health as well as introduce entrepreuners and share their success stories.
|A charming host...leading with grace|
Currently, she is looking for sponsors for the show who would join her in her endevour to inspire common man.
Heartbroken but spirits high
For she indeed, has come a long way, in her 39 years. The only time her hazel-eyes cloud is when she recollects how her husband moved back to India taking along with him all her three kids and she did not have a clue even. However, she soon collects herself, and shares with me how proud she is of her teenagers - two girls and a boy - who are independent and raring to take on life just as she is. It was her daughters who gave her the strength to call off the marriage. A fresh divorcee, Preethi says, "I pray for my husband every day."
She's moved on and there's no stopping her. Preethi is in talks with investors to launch franchises of her salon in Indian and other UAE cities. "I hate woman who crib, who cannot take care of themselves and find excuses to live their lives," she spats.
A role model, indeed
"I was body-shamed once for being too skinny, without a figure. I was too naive, I took it to heart then. Later, I stopped self-pitying. Today, I workout every day. There was a time, when I used to hit the gym at 5am in the morning, when my kids were with me. So I don't take excuses when women say they have family and responsibilities. Only you can take care of yourself," she explains. Tall and well-built, Preethi can give any model a run for their money.
|A role 'model'...|
Preethi's recently auditioned for the latest Bollywood Theme Park in Dubai, taking her dream to act in Bollywood movies a step closer. "Not only Bollywood, I'm ready for Hollywood, too," she says.
In fact, her penchant for jewellery and modelling is such that she questions retailers obsession with celebrities. "Local retailers must hire common women," she believes.
So how do I introduce Preethi to you? A woman of substance!!
Oh! Yes, all this what you read is just an introduction. Preethi's zeal to live life to the fullest, every second of it in the best possible manner, cannot be captured in this blog space.
Suffice to say, her passion and energy are infectious and her warmth is contagious!
Here's wishing her the best always!
Continue inspiring as you conquer all your dreams, Preethi!