Geeta Manohar is an international tennis player with a best ranking of India no. 5 . She was coached at Nickboleteri Academy along side Venus and Serena Williams .
Since then she has worked with Air India and is now the owner of a boutique of signature Jewellery pieces in Singapore called GV collections.
Geeta is also a doting wife, and a proud mother of a toddler with her second baby on the way.
I'm so happy that Geeta took time out to speak to the Times Of Amma community.
1. From a professional tennis player to opening a boutique, could you tell us a little bit about your journey?
Well , the journey has been overwhelming. I started off playing tennis when I was 9 years of age . My father was a sports lover and believed that sports would teach us discipline, hard work and the spirit to never give up. To be grounded and yet to aim for the stars . That's what I carry till this day forward . After having achieved 'India number 5' , which was my best ranking, I decided to quit tennis.
Sponsored by air India since the age of 12 and I joined to work with them later . It was a completely new lifestyle all together , but I loved it . I found my soul mate and my marriage brought me to Singapore, where my husband is from. During my transition from tennis to work I took up interior designing which has always been my passion. In fact, the first thing I did in Singapore was redesigning my entire house . My husband always supported me and has been involved with my interests.
Knowing my creative side and my interest in fashion , we came up with my boutique. Statement jewellery, and making a piece your own , helped me to deliver to diverse clients here in Singapore . As much as possible I run this from home , because I love being a home maker and there is nothing better satisfying than maintaining that balance . I raise a beautiful boy whose fifteen months now and excitedly waiting for my second bundle of joy right now.
2. Has motherhood ever come in between your passions?
Motherhood in itself is a passion. The thrill of learning something new from your kid each day , that joy is almost new every time that happens . And having come from a versatile background , no success can come close to listening to the first words or first steps . Being a mother doesn't change who I am, but it adds more meaning and enhances who I am. So my passion for tennis or making a difference in the society would not come in the way. If anything, it could only make that success more meaningful and much more appreciative . And like I said earlier , keeping a balance is important .
Once you have your priorities right , and by right I mean , not feeling guilty for it , you are bound to make a difference.
3. How do you balance your passion with your parenting?
Well, right now I want to be there 100% for my kids. Their growth years are important and I would like to teach them what I learnt. My kid though he's fifteen months, takes his untidy clothes to the basket of clothes that needs to be washed . It's amazing when you try to teach them and later watch them follow it. I do not wish to miss out on this every day. Although the business is slow now, my clients have a personal relationship with me and understand my priorities.
4. What was the inspiration behind your boutique?
Honestly , the boutique was not in my plan. It was one of those things that just clicked and made its way. I always had a good eye for things , one thing led to another and with the help of my husband , I was able to set up a store in Singapore.
5. What advice do you have for other mothers out there who want to transform their passion into their career?
When we have dreams of transforming our passions into careers it is to make our presence felt in the society and that is powerful . Women by nature can do multiple tasks at once and also be in their multiple roles in the society- A boss or a teacher , a wife , a daughter , a daughter-in-law, women can find their way out to get to that place. It's funny when some say, " women are bad at navigating", well they seem to do a commendable job at finding their way to success in spite of every obstacle that comes their way. My advice to all you beautiful mothers out there would be to not go in search of your identity , recognise yourself and be the best you can be. If you are lost with no passion, find what you love the most and what drives you. That will bring out the best in you and before you know it, it would have already turned into you what people recognise you for! Listen to your heart and take the courage to walk towards it. Every obstacle after that will be your milestone.
6. What are your future plans ?
I am hoping to incorporate new things at my boutique and looking forward to coaching my kids tennis and a little tennis league.
7. What were the challenges you faced in setting up the business?
Firstly it was understanding the market and my client requirement . Once that was clear I was able deliver. Initial kickstart was slow , the marketing strategy and the time needed to be invested , but being patient and having the perseverance, it eventually took off.
8. Who was your biggest support while transforming your passion into a business?
It was my husband . He always believes in me and gives me all the support I need . Since I'm a sports person, I relate to a lot of sports lingo - we life live like a team and he's the best doubles partner I could ever ask for .
9. Do you think you would have been a different kind of mother if you were back in India, living close to family and friends? Would you have worked full time or continued with your professional tennis career?
As mothers we all want the best for our kids . And a change of place or time doesn't take that away from us . How ever I do miss my country and the authentic food. Since I am a big foodie, I miss the food from my homeland . The biryani and pani-puri. Every time my family visits me , they bring me the famous Hyderbadi biryani . I try to replicate the taste, but I've only managed to come close enough. I do miss the fact that my sons grandparents , aunts and uncles don't get to watch him grow or teach him tricks. But tennis has always taught me to see the glass as half full, and every time my family visits, he is pampered and spoilt , no questions asked . I would still want to be 100% available for my kids even if I was in India . Sure , if I had my boutique in India , it would be much easier for me to manage it as well know wouldn't struggle much to find my way to the top since I'm familiar with the people and the market trends .
10. Do you find raising a third culture child challenging?
If anything, it really helps . My son is very friendly with other kids on the play ground . He is not told or taught about diversity but it is a part of his natural growth atmosphere. As he grows up , he will learn to respect people from where they come from and imbibe their goodness . He will understand the behavioural change and will learn to love and be patient.
11. Most expat mothers have to multitask beyond most everyday multitaskers. What is the one time that you remember doing the most tasks at once?
Women are multi-taskers. You cannot keep them from doing that . Even if it is just one task , we can somehow accommodate two more and feel victorious . Now is the time I am doing the most Infact . Being pregnant with my second and still having the energy to keep up with my first . I am looking forward to keeping up with them in the years to come!
12. What is next for you?
My second bundle of joy ! And later coaching a sport that interests my kids or not. But to teach them to be their own person.
I am hoping to incorporate new things at the boutique and looking forward to coaching my kids tennis and a little tennis league .
13. What is one piece of advice that you wish you had received as an expat mother?
Well, not so much as an advice . But ladies , make the best of your motherhood before they start talking . (Smiles) I'm kidding, you will want to make the best of it all through their life . Don't ever let yourself feel you have failed. It is ok to be human while you are a mother.
Thank you for being so down to earth, Geeta. We are sure that our community is inspired by your life and work.
For more conversations with inspiring moms like Geeta, follow the Times of Amma on Facebook and Instagram.
We'll see you there!