Mangaluru: She has the looks, intelligence, poise and achievements in the field. And if she has the aspirations, she has every right to do so.
Srinidhi Ramesh Shetty, daughter of Ramesh Shetty and the late Kushala Shetty of Talipadiguttu near Kinnigoli, has a mature head on her 22-year-old tender shoulders. She is the youngest of the three daughters. The eldest Amrita is married and lives in Mumbai. Priyanka, the second, is employed with TESCO in Bengaluru.
Srinidhi did her primary and high school studies in Shri Narayana Guru English-medium School in Mulki, PU studies in St Aloysius PU College Mangaluru, BE in Electrical and Electronics in the School of Engineering and Technology at Jain University.
“From childhood I used to actively take part in extra-curricular activities like dance, sports, volleyball, throwball, swimming, Scouts and Guides and also NCC,” she reminisced over her student days.
There was a sense of achievement in her voice as she said that she participated in many intercollegiate annual fests, dance competitions and fashion shows.
“But I never lagged behind in academics. I got 93.5 % in Standard X, being one among the toppers. Besides, I was also one of the toppers in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Jain University with an aggregate of 85%,” said Srinidhi, holding her head high, but giving a clear impression that success has not gone to it.
The three female siblings, all of them then in their teens, had to undergo difficult times seven years ago. Their dear mother, Talipadiguttu Kushala Shetty, passed away after a brief illness. But their father, Ramesh Shetty, continued to be a pillar of strength, donning the role of both the father and mother. When she narrated the way their dad supported them, one could not miss those eyes brimming with a sense of gratitude and affection.
In spite of losing their mother, the three girls stood their ground and did very well in the academic field. All of them are now holding employment with top-end firms. They should be role models to all such children who might face difficult situations like losing either parent at a young age.
Once employed, Srinidhi took part in beauty pageants to fulfil an old dream. Her dad did not stop her but instead gave her full back-up.
Currently employed with Accenture in Bengaluru, Srinidhi had arrived at her uncle Prakash and aunt Asha’s house in Kothalkatte near Kaup to meet her family members over the weekend.
Sitting in their garden and speaking in a relaxed mood on Saturday, April 25, she looked as fresh and vibrant as ever, in spite of having travelled overnight.
It was her first visit to the district after being crowned the first runner-up in Manappuram Miss Queen of India beauty pageant. She had earlier won the regional title Miss Queen Karnataka in Miss South India 2015 contest and was among the five finalists of ‘Clean N Clear’ Fresh Face Contest 2012.
As mentioned in the interview, Srinidhi has set her eyes quite high, really high. With a height of 5′ 8″ she did not sound like making any tall claims. Because her achievements and future prospects say it all.
Here’s wishing her all the very best.
(Excerpts from an exclusive interview to Richard Lasrado):
1. As a child or as an adolescent, did you ever imagine that you would some day face the arc-lights at a beauty contest?
I hadn’t imagined that I would get such an opportunity. However, I was always dreaming and hoping that one day I would be able to take part in a beauty pageant. So in a way it is a dream come true. But to have won the first runner-up’s place, well, that’s indeed God’s grace and my parents’ blessings.
2. How did you get the idea that you deserved a space in the limelight? Who was your inspiration?
My mother and my father are my all-time inspiration. Everybody from childhood told me that I look like my mom and for me my mom is the most beautiful lady I have ever seen. so, I thought, maybe I could take part in one of these beauty pageants. And when I was pursuing Engineering, I accidentally came across a beauty contest. When I told my dad about my desire to take part in it, from then on till this moment he has supported me the most.
3. What sort of preparation did you make? Like aerobics or exercise, diet or ramp practice?
To be honest it’s been very tough to manage my work (on weekdays) and preparations for these contests. Added to this, shopping for costumes and other materials consumed all my weekends. So I could barely get any time for myself. Having said that, as part of the preparation, I did about 30 minutes of yoga every day and that has helped me a lot. And also as and when time permits, I practised speeches, which is essential for any beauty contest.
Ramesh and Kushala couple with the little ones
4. What kind of questions did you face in the oral section of selection?
Talking in regard to two of the beauty pageants I have taken part recently – Miss South India 2015 and Miss queen Of India 2015 – I had faced questions like, ‘What is a winner for you?’, ‘If you were the prime minister of your country what initiative would you have taken to stop the crimes against women’s race?’ or ‘Being a professional,and if you were a winner tonight how would you deal with it?’ – these were the samplers from the Q&A Round. We are prepared in our grooming sessions to tackle all kinds of witty questions.
Father and daughter at one of the auditions
5. Usually, at contests of this kind at a higher level, contestants say that they would bring about changes, esp., contribute towards the upliftment of the oppressed women. What are your views?
Well, I believe that most girls who say that are genuine in what they hope to bring about as change in this world. To what extent they are really able to do, that is a different question. Many people think that these types of answers are all just a drama and make-believe. However, having spent my time with all the contestants from different parts of our country, I can for sure say that it is genuine. And some are already involved with these fields of work which contribute towards such sensitive issues, at least to some extent at some level.
6. Who supported you as your mentor / ideal or the one who you would look up to?
Most definitely, my father and my sisters. They have been of great support and inspiration throughout. Never did they let me down and they always taught me to be hopeful no matter what happens. Also my friends have been a great support and they motivated me in all that I did. And last but not the least, Ajit Sir, Valentina Ma’am and Sameer Sir have played an important role in my success. I’m very lucky to be part of these beauty pageants which are really geniune unlike a few others.
The three Shetty siblings
7. Even in spite of your pursuit of this title or the ealrier ones, you never lagged behind in studies. On the other hand, you were one of the toppers in your Engineering studies at Jain University. What is your message to the younger generation?
My message is that if you are willing you can successfully manage studies and your aspirations. It all depends on how much control you have on your actions and how you are able to handle things in life. Be strong and focused and I’m sure we all can achieve what we want to.
8. What are your views about the present generation devoting too much of their time to the social media? Do you think these activities have stunted the creative growth of most of the youngsters?
I must agree that the social media is of great help and use but we end up misusing it. Yes, it has definitely stunted creative growth. There are two aspects to creativity. One is the ability to think and the other is to materialize your thoughts, for which action is needed. Today’s generation is so caught up in seeking validation and a false sense of identity on social media that they have lost the sense of real world outside our gadgets. So I say get out there and do something.
Priyanka, Amrita, Ramesh and Srinidhi Shetty at Amrita’s wedding
9. You and your family have deep attachment towards Tuluva traditions, like your annual family members’ reunion at Talipadiguttu, with ‘nema’, ‘kola’ and other kinds of observances. Can you say some words of pride about it?
Oh! yes I take a great sense of honour and pride in my family traditions and the fact that everyone contributes to keep it vibrant and exuberant. These reunions and offerings are the ones that have kept us together and will always keep us together. Also I believe it is an opportunity for the youngsters like me to learn and realize the immensity of our rich tradition. I’m so-o-o-o fortunate to be in a family like this where these traditions are still happening and continued.
10. This could be a sensitive question. You and your two elder sisters lost your dear mother when you were at a formative age of 14. How did you cope with the situation? Who was the moral support in the difficult hour?
It is true that we lost our mother at a young age and it was difficult. She left a void that nobody can fill, which cannot be replaced at all. However, I must say that she has bestowed on us so much of love that we can cherish it for the rest of our lives. She’s my angel. We miss her physical presence; however, we strongly feel her blessings in all that we do. we are very fortunate that we have such an amazing dad with us. Our dad has been my moral support for me and my sisters during those times and till now. He became both mother and father to us. He is a friend, sibling, mother and father, and plays every role whenever it is required.
11. In spite of it, you did well in studies and other activities and also have now done well at these contests. Your example should inspire many others who may have been in similar situations like losing a mother at a young age. What is your message to them?
My message to them is that it is in the most difficult of times that we need to find our greatest strength and if we mange to do that we will certainly be successful in life. It was very difficult for me to gather my strengths at that point of time. However, my studies, extracurricular activities and sports were never affected. I kept going on..
12. If pageants like this are your cup of tea and area of interest, you deserve a place at a higher level as well. Do you have any plans and ambitions of that kind as a working girl?
Yes I hope to take part in many more beauty pageants. My ambition is to become a top model of international stature and I am working towards it. and I am confident of making it happen along with my work at Accenture, Bengaluru.