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I was shy and boring: Navya Naveli Nanda

Updated on: 30 June,2023 08:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rian Khorana |

Social entrepreneur and granddaughter of Amitabh Bachchan leads engaging discussions on chasing dreams, overcoming challenges and creating opportunities

I was shy and boring: Navya Naveli Nanda

Navya Naveli Nanda at the Malhar festival pre-event at St Xavier’s College. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

“I coped with being a shy, uninteresting, and boring student by simply showing up at situations that made me anxious,” said Navya Naveli Nanda while addressing a crowd of over 500 students at a pre-event organised under Malhar, the cultural festival of St Xavier’s College on Wednesday evening.

Entrepreneurship, mental health, crimes against women, and financial independence were discussed as part of a town hall and open mic session led by Nanda, who is a social entrepreneur and granddaughter of Amitabh Bachchan. The event marked the beginning of her seven cities and 25 colleges roadshow, ‘You Grow Girl,’ in partnership with Yuvaa at St Xavier’s College.

When a student asked how to face criticism that suggests a girl cannot be an entrepreneur, Nanda responded, “Give them an example of a housewife. She runs the house like an organisation, multitasks, and meets deadlines.”

Nanda addressed issues that impact youth and women, hindering their pursuit of dreams and access to basic rights during the first leg of her ‘You Grow Girl’ roadshow. Motivational talks like these were aimed at preparing students to apply for their fellowship program, where young girls can present their business ideas and gain access to market linkages, mentorship, and pitch training. Shortlisted students will also receive seed funds.

Discussing the issue of crimes against women, Nanda emphasised the importance of counselling women to help them differentiate between good touch and bad touch. Under their Project Naveli, they offer free support to women facing harassment and guide them through the legal process. Anyone can approach them through their website.

mid-day spoke to students from St Xavier’s to understand the concerns and issues that affect the youth. “A significant mental health issue of our generation is the desire to fit in and the concept of ‘being cool.’ If we’re not part of a party we see on someone’s Instagram story, we tend to isolate ourselves,” said Priyal Sankhvi, a third-year psychology student. Divyanshu Vohra, another third-year student, expressed enthusiasm about platforms like the fellowship program, saying, “So many students have ideas, and platforms like this can help turn them into reality. I want to start an online marketplace where freelancers like artist managers, videographers, designers, etc., can register and find work.”

The event served as a precursor to the iconic Malhar festival, which attracts speakers like Dr Abdul Kalam, The Dalai Lama, Shabana Azmi, and Palkhi Sharma. The festival, scheduled from August 13 to 15, will feature small businesses, music, and dance, among other activities.

Aug 13
Date when Malhar begins

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