Madhuri Nandigam is a successful Technology leader, a working mother, and a culinary genius of Telugu vantalu! She believes that the perfect matching accessory for a saree is not the jewelry or makeup but it is indeed her smile. In the featured picture, Madhuri adorns a gorgeous Paithani saree that aggrandizes the beauty of Texas bluebonnets!
Which empowered women are your role models and what sets them apart?
As someone once said, Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. There are several women who played a major role in inspiring me–from my mom to my schoolteachers whom I used to observe a lot of time in my childhood and learnt from them about grace, integrity, love, respect for one another and zeal to learn. As a born leader, I always wanted to make a difference for people and my community around me. Today I am a proud mom of two beautiful young girls who I love watching them to become the women I admire.
You are a successful female leader balancing work & family, What drives you?
My positive mindset is my greatest asset. I tell myself when I wake up everyday, that I am fortunate to have this life and I am here for a reason, so I am going to have the best day ahead. Each of us have the capability of doing anything we want to do, chasing the goals we can dream up, if we strongly believe in ourselves. I also believe that I am responsible for my happiness . If we don’t put ourselves first, no one will. I take time to get a breather, pick up a phone conversation with my friends or will go for a walk or a coffee. So as women, we must stop making excuses and start putting ourselves and our care /happiness first, so that we can take care of our family better. Take time for yourself and treat your soul with happiness –be it a coffee or a walk with your close friend or anything that cheers up your spirit.
You moved to Texas from India 2 decades ago, what do you miss about the Indian culture and how do you stay connected?
During the initial years , I was missing all the festivities and celebrations back home where we used to deck up in beautiful sarees even for a small family gathering or a puja at home. To me, its just not draping a six-yard fabric, its wearing 'Indianness' in the form of a saree thus representing cultural identity, tradition and heritage. We have built a vibrant group of like-minded friends and take the time and interest to celebrate our special occasions in the way we do back home.
How does the saree help you express your personality?
Saree is “Six yards of pure grace, elegance and is timeless suiting any occasion and mood and that never goes out of style. It give me a sense of a calm confidence while elevating my mood to celebrate life and love. I also realized that Saree is not only joyous, but also is a therapy for me whenever I am feeling low, and it lifts my moods. The best thing about Saree is that it suits every personality and physical trait. Every time I drape a sari, I know for a fact that nothing is more elegant than a beautifully draped saree. It is synonymous with grace, style and poise.
Sarees are a timeless fashion that refuses to retire! Thanks to the new age designers who have shown us a way to how a lot can be done to make tradition contemporary.... so that it keeps in tune with the times for current and future generations to continue to enjoy the experience.
Can you share a memory of your first drape?
The perfect matching accessory for a saree is not the jewelry or makeup but it is your smile. I think my love affair with sarees began in my childhood where my friends and I would doll ourselves up in our mothers’ sarees during weekends to enact a teacher or mom role. My mom purchased my first saree when I was in my 12th grade for my Cousin’s wedding. I was so looking forward for weeks to drape the beautiful pink Mysore silk saree. My parents had mixed emotions when they saw me in a saree. My dad while very joyous to see me also suddenly realized that I was no longer a little mischievous girl and time was flying. I even preserved that memory and the saree even till today in my closet and intend to bequeath this saree to one of my daughters.
Can you share a few words about the saree that you are wearing in the featured picture?
Its a beautiful royal blue Paithani saree, one of my dear possessions. This picture was taken on a beautiful spring morning when the positive vibes were all around and the Saree certainly made this spring even more beautiful. The class and grandeur of the Saree added the touch I needed to make me feel special on a grand wedding, which I wore for the occasion. The below acronym sums up what SAREE stands for me
S- Six yards of pure grace
A- A timeless fashion
R- Refuses to retire
E- Elegance never goes out of style
E- Ethnic best looks