Step by step, Nidhi Mehta has managed to achieve everything she’s ever strived for. Today, she pursues her passion in her profession as a dancer.

Awards are only a means to facilitate stories that can inspire others and encourage them to walk the path less travelled. We are trained to study and take up good jobs that define success in our society. Very few of us have the privilege to break free from that frame and get a chance to pursue what truly makes us happy. When we read or hear someone talk about their journey full of passion which they chose to pursue despite all odds. It inspires us to give ourselves that chance by pursuing our own dream. 

I was a typical Indian Kid, who was academically strong and wanted to impress my parents and teachers by getting good grades. A master rote learner in school. If you'd ask me one question after a month of the exam-probability was I would not be able to remember the answer. I finished schooling and passed with 92% in ISC Boards and got admission easily into LSR College for Women for doing my undergrad in B. Com (Hons). As it was apparently a cool thing to do it then as it meant you belonged to the brainier set! After College, I managed to get through to SP Jain Institute of Management & Research to specialise in Finance. 

Rote learning was my special skill so getting through competitive examinations was never an issue! Two years I studied finance and I hated every minute and every class of it. I could not understand a word of Finance. It did not interest me but I was not allowed to change specialisation. Rote learning helped again and I managed a great CGPA. As luck would have it, we had McKinsey & Company shortlist a few students for interviews and I happened to be one of them. I believe in destiny, and I believe that was my chosen path. I got through the eight round interview processes and happily accepted the job offer. I was happy with my package and the extensive travel the job offered. I was still single. I got married and that's when my path changed. 

I loved dancing since childhood. I always took part in all the school events and choreographed dances and had even joined the Shaimak Davar's classes as my stress relief mechanism when in B-School. It was for fun. Never even once thought of making a career out of it. ! I was a good student so this corporate job was the best option for a person like me! I moved to USA after my marriage and had quit my job. One day my sister’s friends approached me at a party and requested me to teach dance to their daughters for a competition they had signed up. They said I danced very well I was delighted to do something with my life. I asked them to come to my house for practice and would teach them in my garage. I had so much fun choreographing and teaching these girls, and they won the competition! Rest is history, then their parents wanted me to teach them on a regular basis. The best part was that I was enjoying it myself now. I spoke to my husband and told him that not only was I good at dancing but I thought I was a good teacher as well, So I wanted to start teaching. He said one thing to me “I am doing what I have to do, and you should do what you want to do!” That really was the most amazing phrase he could have said to me. 

My Business School education came in handy and I started my first Bollywood Dance studio (www.bollybeatz.com) in Silicon Valley, California in 2002. In five years, I had 450 registered students, six instructors and a fledging flexible business born out of my passion for dance. I was giving opportunity to people who worked in full time jobs to teach part-time for me on weekends, so they could also live their passion for dance. It soon became a community of dance lovers, Bollywood lovers. We all became a big group of friends not to mention that I was earning well by working two hours a day. And the two hours that I worked were not work - they were pure fun. My life has been full of meeting great people, being inspired by others, following my instincts and dream, striving to learn new things, and improving myself as a person. I want to share the same with others. I want them to believe that this world is a beautiful place, where we can make our dreams come true and live those dreams as a reality.

Success is not defined by money that we earn or have in our bank. To me success is being happy with what I do, maintaining a balance between my personal and professional life, seeing my kids play and laugh, cooking a hot meal for my family, helping a stranger cross the road, laughing with a friend, talking to the person who inspires me and helps me push my boundaries a bit more, receiving an email from someone who attended my lecture saying that they have decided to pursue their passion and not just become a doctor because that’s the norm. One life at a time -one person, one woman, one student! If I can touch even one life and enable them to change their course and make it more fulfilling - that is an award in itself!