Meet Maitraiye Sharma
The night I decided to interview Maitraiye Sharma, it was pouring heavily. Maitraiye had just gotten free from a long day – working with children surely takes away a lot of your energy.
When nobody in the small town of Gwalior even knew the future prospects of studying Humanities and Social Sciences, Maitraiye took a leap of faith. She was among the few rebels who just knew that social sciences were her calling – she simply couldn’t imagine studying anything else. But life seemed to take a different turn when she was forced to opt for Mathematics as her optional subjects along with the subjects of her choice. Like they say, to gain something is also to lose something.
There came a time when Maitraiye was juggling the increasing pressure of academics and her endless love for extracurriculars. She loved dancing. Still does. She went onto represent her school in national and international competitions and was lauded for her rhythm and flow.
A Will to Thrive
So, when the time came to take admission in the University of her dreams, she was competing against students who’d aced their boards and scored incredibly high. But life, it seemed, was in the mood to favor Maitraiye this time. With a ground-breaking extracurricular record, Maitraiye was able to bag a seat for the course she was looking forward to studying.
“I think I have always known how to get away with opportunities. Coming from a small town doesn’t really provide you much exposure but Stuti [Ashok Gupta] and I always knew what we wanted and we made sure we got them as and when we could!”
She graduated from the University of Delhi with an honours degree in Political Science and decided to take a year-long break to prepare for civil services. Later, she pursued her masters in International Studies from Christ University, Bangalore where she had the time of her life. “I had the most wonderful two years in Christ. I was meeting wonderful people from across the world and there was this agility in our exchanges of ideas!” she says.
Entering a new world
But after completing her masters, a daunting question began worrying her: what next?
Maitraiye found herself unable to make head or tail of the situation. A little brainstorming here and a little devising there led her to apply for teaching positions in schools across India. “I went into a little crisis there because there aren’t many opportunities when it comes to the field of International Relations, so I decided to apply in as many schools as possible,” she adds. A future in teaching felt like the right thing for her at the time.
And now, two years into teaching and academia, Maitraiye calls this the “best decision of her life”.
As a teacher’s daughter myself, I am intrigued by how Maitraiye operates as a teacher. She sounds extremely positive, her perception towards the future is open and wide. Surely, the students she engages with have a lot to do with this changed worldview of hers.
“I’m really surprised by the way I have evolved over the years; I absolutely love every single day of my work. The best part about my work is that I am dealing with a generation that is so futuristic and so energetic! My students are always coming up with new ideas and there hasn’t been a day I have gone to bed without learning anything new. I feel this has been the biggest achievement of my life.”
When you work with young minds, you never get old. And that’s because you are always engaging with newer ideas and thoughts. The coming generation, says Maitraiye, is quite literally the future of the world. There is a part of you, you see in them when they grow and thrive.
Role at Amrutam
At Amrutam, Maitraiye plays a bunch of roles. Calling her our cherished model, devout ambassador, quick reviewer, and forever sidekick wouldn’t do justice to how much value she holds for us. Even though she has always been a part of #AmrutamFamily, she became a more active member when Amrutam started operating as an E-commerce brand. “Stuti was living with me at the time in Bangalore, figuring out her life. She wanted to give this a chance and I was supportive of her ideas,” Maitraiye explains.
However, it was only in 2019 when they were living in Gurgaon together, was Maitraiye’s flawlessness seen on camera. The Team was approaching creators for shooting Amrutam products around the theme of Holi, and we decided to create some content and that’s when I shot for the first time for Amrutam, says Maitraiye. However, at the time when they were only having fun, she had no idea that the photos would make it to Amrutam’s social media handles or website. So, when she found herself playing around Amrutam products on our social media pages, her elation knew no bounds.
It has been a little over a year to the first shoot and the evolution has been nothing short of amazing.
“Working with Amrutam, I’ve learned how much I love the camera. I am an introvert but when I am in front of the camera, I feel like an entirely different person. A more confident, fun version of myself. It was with Amrutam that I got to explore this side of me and I am so grateful for that.”
Leading a simple life
When I ask her how does spend her day, she tells me how she leads a simple and minimalistic lifestyle. She wakes up early in the morning and after her morning rituals, goes to work which is always pretty hectic. At her school, Maitraiye is also in charge of all the public speaking competitions and the Ted-Ed Club.
She gets done with work by 4 PM and spends the remainder of the day with herself – cooking, cleaning, sometimes painting (a hobby she picked up during lockdown) and listening to music. “I’m very satisfied by myself and prefer staying home. Recently, I’ve also developed a knack for reading and am currently reading The Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth,” she adds.
About her relationship with her family and friends, she says – “My family says that I am too modern for them and my friends say that I am someone who goes with the flow, always looking for opportunities on the way.” While Maitraiye may not have a full proof plan about what she might do ten years down the line but she always has a constructive plan for what she wants to do tomorrow.
Her grandmother has had the biggest influence on Maitraiye, who despite being married at a young age went on to pursue higher education, later a PhD while managing a family of four kids and her husband who was braving Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. From her, she learned that irrespective of what life throws at you, you should be clear of your aims in life.
On being part of #AmrutamFamily
Maitraiye’s relationship with Amrutam is almost as old and strong as her friendship with our Bijniswoman aka Stuti Ashok Gupta. On being a part of #AmrutamFamily, she goes on, “I was one of the few people who started photography and shooting with Team Amrutam, and even now if Stuti tells me that we need to shoot or have a plan, I would always be around. I am someone they can rely on for anything and everything – be it sharing my inputs and feedback or doing anything new or different!”
“I absolutely think that Amrutam is the finest example of “slow and steady wins the race”. They are super organic and super loyal to their customers and the people they work with – you can’t say it’s a brand that became popular overnight. They have grown gradually. Every single idea, every single recipe, and product has been a result of insane brainstorming – everything may seem very lucrative on social media but very few know the amount of work that Stuti, Bhaiya [Agnim Gupta], Uncle [Ashok Gupta] and Yash put into it.”
In 2020, Maitraiye is looking forward to maintain her physical fitness to the point where working out regularly becomes an organic part of her routine. She’s also indulging in sustainable shopping, only using products and things she actually needs and requires. Given her newfound love for painting, she also hopes to get better at using water colours!
Amrutam is built on the idea of community, which Maitraiye believes is extremely important especially when today everybody is engrossed in perpetuating capitalism. She thinks it is very rare to see a brand that says – “We are not here for profits; we are here to help you!”
Her message to the readers says:
“Now that we are facing a global pandemic it is high time to make wise choices about what you use, what you buy and try to be as sustainable as possible not in terms of things or products but also in terms of relationships.”
To see her grow and thrive not only fills us with hope and happiness but also an endless sense of wonder and amazement about all that she is capable of doing in life! Maitraiye Sharma is an indispensable part of our #AmrutamFamily and we are beyond grateful to have her as an Amrutam Contributor.