It takes a certain level of grit, confidence and determination to overcome obstacles you have no control over. Aakanksha embodies that spirit, and lives up to it every single day. Her amazing journey is a testament to courage and willpower to succeed despite all odds.
Aakanksha always knew she wanted to be a dancer. As a kid, she picked up dancing by listening to music blaring from local pandals in the neighbouring chawls; which was her radio. In standard five, a scholarship helped her get into a good school. Awkward as she was from the sudden change, she trusted her dancing skills to change everybody’s perception.
Hailing from an orthodox Hindu family, dancing was something that wasn’t encouraged. It was Aakanksha’s mother who saved time and money to send her to a Bharatnatyam class. Just as she was getting good at it, she suffered conjoint vertebrae and jelly spine. This was a major hurdle in her dancing but she still continued. After another scholarship helped her through college, she earned a spot in a popular dance folk troupe. There she learnt seven dance forms but as Mr Murphy would have it, a dislocated ankle brought her soaring career to an unfortunate end.
Always tenacious and unwilling to give up on life, she decided to do everything that scared her. She worked odd jobs to finance her college education – events, car parks, promotion, and sales calls. When she found herself in a corporate job, she didn’t find it interesting and quit. This was the decision that changed her life.
With INR 51,000 in her bank account, Aakanksha decided to do something most of us never think of doing. Backpacking across Karnataka with her mother. Yeah, that’s right! With limited resources and staying in homes and beach hotels, she told her mother that she wanted to do something of her own. She started a PR and marketing consulting agency – The Other Circle, with INR 22,000 in her account. She loaned her father’s office for first three months as her initial customers were all faith basis and never paid her. After a lot of struggle, she finally got a restaurant to pay her for the services and until this day, she works with them on the same retainer.
Today, her consultancy handles operations in over 10 cities with over 26 national clients. She might not have become a dancer but in her own words, press notes can be choreographed too!
Favourite eatery in Mumbai: Heng Bok – they make a mean Vegetarian ramen
Favourite place for live performance in the city: St. Andrews, NCPA or Prithvi. For local gigs, Aakanksha heads to BrewBot
Favourite Bookstore: Kitab Khana for its old school charm and great graphic novel collection.
Any hidden gem in the city you would recommend our users to check out: loves Cherry Fig in Bandra and Kepchaki Momos. Also, a small momo guy near Flora restaurant in Worli.
What’s your favourite place in Mumbai to hang out with your friends: The Bar Stock Exchange in Bandra or Toto’s. I love them.
#FitToFight is an initiative by Reebok celebrating the extraordinary stories of everyday Indian women. The stories will be evaluated by a prominent panel and will be felicitated by Kangana herself at a grand awards night hosted at the end of this year.
Do you know someone who has a remarkable story you think the world should know of? Submit their story at fittofight.in or shoot an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit fittofight.in to read more inspirational stories
This story is in partnership with Reebok.