A wellness community for women only and overcoming a debilitating illness, Mishta Roy takes life with equal measure of passion and enthusiasm.
Bengaluru-based entrepreneur Mishta Roy is always in a rush to create something. An innate flair for design led her to venture out on her own, and set up Drawater, a print design company specialising in arts, book and magazine design. “But the desire to reach out to more women and form a connect arose out of a rather debilitating illness — a chronic pain condition, Peripheral Neuropathy, which I developed post-pregnancy. It is a condition where the nerves in one’s hands and feet start to die, causing constant tremendous pain, ultimately robbing the person of use and control of those limbs. The condition is progressive and I do not know what the future holds for me in terms of being able to walk better or be in a wheelchair. I manage the condition mainly with opiod painkillers among other medication.”
The trauma of dealing with the illness is what led her to alternative therapy. “One of the decisions I took was to remove myself from the very strong drugs which have very powerful side-effects, such as ‘brain fog’, which leaves you unable to concentrate. This was affecting my work a lot, so I had to choose between the medication and my daily life routine! Thus, my interest and passion for alternative treatments and knowledge grew,” she reveals.
And that is how a social group, Women’s Wellness-Men not Allowed’ on Facebook came into being. “The group networks alternative ways of coping with illness, encourages conversation regarding health issues, educates, inspires, shares and empowers women to make smart choices for one’s body and mind, to ultimately have less dependency on a world fashioned on conventional medicine and men’s understanding of women’s health issues,” she elucidates.
And, unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for her wellness group to find takers by the hordes – Women’s Wellness has almost 2,000 global members in less than a year with representation from all corners of the US, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Elaborating, Mishta adds, “Many women join because they feel this is a safe space with ‘Men not Allowed’, especially from more conservative countries such as Pakistan, Africa and Korea. They can truly be themselves and write about their issues without worry. This space also gives equal attention to elder women, has great respect for traditional grandmother recipes for health and pays very little attention to flat stomachs! You can say that the group is a ‘thinking woman’s health forum’.”
An artist in the truest sense, this graphic designer believes in foraying into various other creative avenues — book writing, for that matter. “I’ve been working on my own book for children for a while now, and hope it sees the light of day someday. I love watching films. I’m a huge superhero fan and I adore horror films and the delicate Japanese animation from Studio Ghibli. I love travelling and before my condition, loved seeing new places such as Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa. Presently, I am teaching myself the language Latin, through a wonderful book Latin via Ovid.”
Concluding how the digital domain can be gauged for wellness drives too, she signs off stating, “Online communities can do what no other can, which is connect a 58-year-old woman in Texas to a shy 32-year-old in Ludhiana. And they can exchange notes on treatment and alternative therapies and help one another in the case of similar health conditions. In fact, the alternative therapy I am currently on, came serendipitously from an online community much like mine, in the States. Such choices empower women to re-evaluate the conventional care given and to demand better and more for themselves, with the strength and confidence of many women and the power of knowledge behind them. And Women’s Wellness is helping to make this change.”