Parin Somani has been a busy woman. On the surface, she is an accomplished academician, educator, lecturer, author, and motivational speaker, but this is only a fraction of her achievements.
Over her 31 years of professional experience, she has been a TV presenter at Ahmedabad Doordarshan, a radio presenter at All India Radio, author of multiple recipe books, and been published as a freelance journalist in Western Times, Gujarat Samachar, and Sandesh. This is on top of her current role as a visiting academic scholar at HRDC Saurashtra and Gujarat Universities in India and being an ACCA chartered accountant with years of experience with Lloyds Bank working as a Banker.
However, possibly the most defining aspect about Parin is her desire to inspire others. She dedicates her life to serving humanity and making the world a better place, as can be seen in 2020 when she featured in Beauty & The Best magazine, featured as the ‘Unsung Fighter Covid19’; she received the Inspiring ‘Bharat Ki Laxshami Award’, ‘Best Motivational Speaker Award’, ‘She Inspires Award’ at the Houses of Parliament, UK, and the Feelings ‘Pride of India’ Award. And those are only the most recent of her awards.
Helping the diaspora
Parin has come a long way, not least when she moved to the UK after getting married. “The main challenge was leaving my family, friends, and country behind. Learning a new way of living with a new family is difficult for any newly-married couple. Moving to another country is more difficult,” she says.
She knew in her heart that her Indian roots were so strong that she would carry her ethical values and principles with her for future generations, keeping a positive outlook throughout it all. “Change is a way of life therefore adapting to change was important for me. I kept a positive mindset and did not dwell on what could have been. I focused on what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to achieve it.”
As a non-resident Indian, Parin believes that we should never forget our roots because this forms part of our identity no matter where we reside. She finds it important to aid the Indian diaspora in the UK because they can all relate to issues concerning identity, culture, ethical values, and principles. She believes that through understanding both East and West, we can help build bridges between communities through integration, to promote peace and harmony. She received the “Apravasi Bharatiya Hindi Sevi Samman Award”, and “International Diaspora Award” in 2019.
Parin has been addressing students and professors around the world on a variety of issues through webinars. “I think webinars are a fantastic way of connecting people globally, allowing individuals to join a collective online initiative through the comfort of their own homes. Participants do not have to spend time or resources on traveling, yet they obtain the benefit of listening to a session online,” she explains. She feels blessed to live at a time where technology has made an immense difference, connecting numerous individuals internationally onto one platform to ensure continuous learning and peer engagement.
With such a wide range of specialisations – academic, banking, media, literature – it might be surprising to find that Parin doesn’t have a particular favourite. “I always say live in the present moment and concentrate on the task being completed. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to gain many skills and each area of specialisation is valuable and enjoyable when I am required to implement it.”
She says that each area of specialisation is her favourite because each one has provided her with the tools to complete a specific task at the relevant time. “Each area of specialisation has given me joy and still does,” she says.
As an example of this, Parin is a keen cook, a specialisation that always comes in handy. She had been an avid cook from her young days. However, it is telling that it was tragedy that sparked this interest and Parin’s practical nature that fuelled it.
“My interest in cooking stemmed from when I had a motorbike accident in my young days breaking my right arm restricting me from assuming my regular community work, job and activities. I was not allowed out of the house with instructions to rest. However, that is not part of my nature that’s why people used to say I was on Duracell batteries and never stop,” she chuckles as she recollects. “It was at that point I started experimenting in the kitchen, creating new recipes for the visitors who came to see me.”
To date she has published 11 cookery books and currently in the process of writing another. This time she has chosen to write a whole foods, plant-based Indian cookery book in collaboration with her daughters.
Having no problem with self-motivation, Parin sought to share that with others. “I have endured some life-threatening health illnesses throughout my life which has given me a great life perspective and an insight into the preciousness of life. I realised then, that I wanted to change my life to help, motivate, and inspire more people around the world,” she says.
“I started talking to people who were seeking knowledge and advice about a variety of subject areas. They were motivated and inspired by my experiences and knowledge, so they encouraged me to talk in larger organised group sessions to engage and benefit more people.” Before she knew it, she was speaking to large groups in seminars and international conferences as a motivational speaker. This year she received “Best Motivational Speaker Award-2020”
Being driven can be a great thing, but with so many different talents and interests, how does she manage to find a way to juggle everything?
“I am very fortunate, I have a very supporting family, particularly my daughters who are my backbone. They share my vision which makes life a lot easier. I live in the present moment and concentrate on making the most of it as life is very short,” she says.
Her way to successfully manage her time is to create a task list for each day, making sure to include spending time with family and getting a decent sleep. She also makes sure to find time for voluntary work, even on top of all of her other responsibilities. “When we have a strong vision, the vibrations within us work to achieve that vision. We find the time to complete what we want to and the whole universe helps us. I always aim to be organised by dividing my day up to help me manage my time and accomplish my objectives for the day,” she adds.
Her selfless devotion to helping mankind has been recognised by others. For example, earlier this year, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated the ‘Bharat Ki Lakshmi’ movement and Parin was 1 of the 40 inspiring Indian women around the world. But she doesn’t let it go to her head.
“I am humbled to have been nominated and receive such prestigious international awards. I never thought that I would be receiving awards for the work that I particularly love doing. I have always wanted to help humanity globally. I am blessed that I have had opportunities to serve and make a difference, although there is still so much work to be done in this ever-changing world,” she says.
If Parin Somani is an inspiration to others then where does she find inspiration, where is her role model? “The Aga Khan inspires me the most, due to the magnificent work he has carried out throughout the world, changing the lives of people every day. He is the best role model for me, as someone who executes major plans of action after making clear his intentions through speeches in order to tackle pressing issues through the ages for humanity,” she says.
However Parin also singles out her grandmother as an inspiration in her life. “My grandmother was the most amazing women who never stopped. She would not sit for two minutes, nor would she let me sit when I went to visit her,” she says. “In this ever-changing diverse world, females have the power to create positive change in every capacity. Believe in yourself with a positive outlook on life. It is through this belief and positivity that we can stand up to every single one of life’s challenges and we come out more resilient than ever before.” Inspirational words from an inspirational woman.
Facing the future
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown much of the world into disarray, causing hardship for many. It is difficult to see what the path ahead might be, but Parin sees humanity as capable of surviving, if we co-operate.
“Life has always been very unpredictable and full of challenges. We should always possess a positive mindset to get us through adversity” she recommends. “COVID-19 is one of the unprecedented challenges and it will be marked as a global historical event. It has highlighted many aspects of our world and has also shown us that we can overcome challenges by coming. We as human beings are creatures of habit and do not like change, but we need to embrace the changes to move forward,” she says.
“We are entering into a new ‘normal’ that we can face by working together. We should be united and aim to build bridges between communities, we should listen to our intuition and help each other. This is the only way to promote peace in the world and live in harmony.”
What is the future for Parin? Surely her plans must have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19 and the worldwide lockdowns that have been enforced. “My future goals stem from my current goals,” she says and promises that she will continue with her current endeavours using new initiatives to reach out to people globally through international webinars.
Sadly, many of the international conferences that she was due to attend in different countries during COVID-19 lockdown have been postposed. However, online platforms have enabled learning, education and sharing knowledge and skills to continue. The Warrior Parin is certainly not one to let a global pandemic stand in her way of making the world a better place.