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Wisdom Stories Ep.28: Ms Latika Dhawan

Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

“I got married at 19 and moved to a small city of Visakhapatnam. After 12 years, when my boys came of age, they went to boarding school. Once I had some time to myself, my mother egged me on to be productive, and do something. I am indebted to her, as this resulted in a career spanning 3 decades across varied entrepreneurial ventures. 

I chanced upon an opportunity to pursue fashion, starting with a small tailoring unit from my house. At that time, Visakhapatnam had no boutiques, and I was one of the first to start. Slowly I created a name for myself and participated in small exhibitions in Kolkata and Delhi. I got a wonderful opportunity to exhibit in Bangkok, which opened many doors. It’s been 12 years since, and I have built valuable relationships there.

I moved to Kolkata in 2003 and grew my business, eventually opening my own store called Bodh. It was a great experience, and help came from my son who joined me to take it forward. However, Bodh could not survive COVID and we shut it down. My work came to a standstill. Not doing anything was not acceptable to me!

During COVID, I turned to my second passion – food. With all restaurants closed, it gave me the opportunity to cater to unmet needs through “Delicioussly Low Cal”. The next step was a small restaurant, and I opened “Kaaram” out of sheer passion for Andhra food. Having no experience in running a restaurant was challenging, but I overcame them and learned so much.

Destiny turned me back to fashion where I reopened my store in 2022. The market today is flooded with all kinds of fashion, and I wanted to stand out. I started the concept of repurposing old garments to trendy styles. We all have so much with us, collected over the years or inherited from our mothers and grandmothers. It gives me great joy to give these ignored old clothes new life, while holding on to our legacy.

Today at 62 years, I’m raring to go into my next adventure.”

Latika Dhawan

Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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