#NTPeople: Radhika Shah

I’ve known Radhika for over a decade now, and I assure you, she looks the same today, as she did 15 years ago – a mother of two, grandmother of one (yes, she’s a grandmamma!), she is a multi-faceted, dynamic and hardworking woman. She never speaks about her work, but I know she runs various charities, a senior citizens' living and CSR activities with perfect managerial skills. What I truly admire is the energy she has, and despite balancing so much on her plate, you never see a mark of stress or worry on her, or proof of the very long day she no doubt had. She can be the life of a party, and the next morning be before time and well prepared… and dressed… for her morning meeting. No detail misses her eye; her perfection lies in the detail. Words do not do justice for her true inner + outer beauty! Perfection is synonymous with her. Two years ago, she converted her family farm, overlooking the Sabarmati river into a multi-purpose space for the community. During the pandemic, there was no stopping this gorgeous woman. She worked full fledge and turned The River Farm into an enterprising unit – whilst adhering to the ethos of sustainability, organic farming, uplifting women. The River Farm offers vegetable beds on rent, wherein they take care of growing the seasonal produce which the renter gets home on a weekly basis. She hosts plant based cooking workshops, talks, wellness retreats that are related to sustainability and sharing knowledge and experiences towards improving our lifestyles and Mother Earth. During the pandemic, she saw an opportunity to provide a space of relief and escape away for those who crave to breathe fresh air and find calm in the chaos! TRF started pop up weekend dinners, where one can book a socially distanced table, come by late afternoon, enjoy a spectacular sunset, watch the river flow, play board games, take a tour of organic farm and be served an alfresco meal. This has been a great offer for those who have been #WFH and unable to see their friend or relatives in a safe environment. It’s also the perfect therapy for anyone dealing with stress anxiety and pandemic-fatigue – to be with nature, as she rightfully says, is the perfect antidote to battle and overcome most of our miseries. She is hands-on with the River Farm and present at every do – a commendable feat considering her busy schedule.

As I went through her interview, her answers surprised me – her secrets lay in simplicity and basic routines, she looks for beauty in her daily rituals, forgoes a hearty breakfast for nuts + fruit, prefers indigenous beauty brands over foreign, and beneath the gorgeous fancy wardrobe, she is grounded, humble and real. She has keen business acumen, and an attitude that is practical and quick to adapt + adjust.

Today we find out all her secrets to looking and being forever elegant:

Tell us your relationship with skincare and how it has evolved over time.

Skincare is a dedicated routine for 40 years. I have been using Margo - a neem soap since my teenage years and have still stuck to it. Along came face oils and creams, as per ageing requirements and research. Finally, I have evolved now to only indigenous products, especially thick oils (I use Nature Therapy After Bath Oils) which hydrate my skin very well at night.

Can you share your typical morning and evening skincare routine?

Mornings are always rush-rush so a light oil for face and body with good SPF and night I prefer a thick oil to massage onto my face after a thorough cleansing, a dab of under eye cream. Also, a generous application of hand and foot cream. 

What is one beauty advice you would give to your daughter?

Never forget or tire of a good face cleansing regime before bedtime, and never compromise on quality.

Do you have a morning ritual?

I am an early riser and a morning walk in nature is a daily regime which I just cannot miss. A steaming foamy cup of hot coffee, sprinkled with coffee powder for the looks! I am not a breakfast person, just grab a fruit or some nuts mid-morning. 

How did you end up venturing into organic farming?

We have this farm overlooking Sabarmati river, and the location is simply amazing. Since the family wasn't using it enough, I thought why not do something where more people can visit and enjoy the beauty and also benefit from this space.

Was a venture towards agriculture always on the cards for you?

No, but I always believe in optimizing, whether it’s an opportunity or infrastructure. The farm had to be put to good use, and hence I thought of organic farming as there is fertile land and water in Gandhinagar.

#WomenOnTheGo: How do you balance your work and personal life? You have so much on your plate, how do you manage? What do you do for you “me time’?

I totally believe in ME TIME. And hence find my way out. Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. I plan my day well, with important things on priority and don't waste my time on things I feel are not worth. This way I get my me time!

Who or what inspires you in your work?

My husband, Utkarsh.  He is a task master, a perfectionist and also a kind and humble person. I try to look and adapt his thoughts wherever I seek guidance

How do you deal with setbacks in or at work?

I work with nature. It teaches you, that not everything can go as planned and you have to take it in your stride. Sometimes unseasonal rain, no sunlight, excessive rains, a squirrel-attack on the crops – we have had it all. Life is also the same... not everything goes as planned. Deal with it!

What is the one advice you give to every young woman?

Connect with nature. It teaches a lot, you grow as a person, it heals you, it nurtures you. Spiritually, physically and emotionally - nature will always give you in abundance

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2021?

I wish to make The River Farm a model where people any age, gender, caste come and get influenced to turn to sustainable lifestyle of waste management, no plastic, no pollution,
And make this world a better place to live in

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