parisera

A peace activist, writer, corporate communications trainer, theatre personality, poet and a free spirit. Saira Shah Halim actively voices her opinions with the perfect conviction to bring changes in the social fabric of the nation.

She keeps her family values close to her heart. She is wearing a handwoven Ikat Linen Silk sari.

As an army officer’s daughter, she spent her childhood at various army cantonments, shifting six different schools across difficult terrains of this nation. Saira has witnessed the enthralling beauty of this country and absorbed the changing culture that has taught her important life lessons. But, joining the Lovedale Boarding School at Ooty brought a major shift in her learnings, it was here that the young Saira learnt to be independent, self-assured and an informed individual. After finishing school, she joined her father who was appointed as a defence attache of India to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Kuwait where Saira was exposed to the cultural exchanges and the rapidly changing world political affairs.

 

Her house is decorated with artsy pieces, picked during her travel.
A symbol of old-world charm, seen here draped in a Chanderi Silk sari.

Her diverse career aspirations are evident in the many hats that she wears so proudly. She says that “one should always be inspired to find the beauty in life, never stop yourself with one single job.” Saira’s travel stories have helped in shaping her intellectual and personal ethics. If not for her liberal yet conservative parents, she would not have had this exposure to different cultures of the world. It taught her to question the societal norms, be a happy rebel and acknowledge the world with an open mind. At nineteen when she accepted the marriage proposal from Dr Fuad Halim, she did not know that he will be her life-changing catalyst. He showed her a world beyond her inner circle, she gave up fifteen years of corporate life to indulge in paths that were her true callings. She says, “I concentrated on pursuing my passions that lay in writing, theatre, political activism, education, training and social work”.

In all these years of actively participating in her husband’s political movement, we wanted her to share with us few strong memories. She quickly responded that “I happened to be doing door to door campaigning, I was at this Muslim slum area and I started conversing to some of the young girls in Hindi and Urdu, the girls turned around and started answering my queries in chaste English and one of the girls turned around and in a clipped accent said “Can I please have a copy of your election manifesto!” This proves that in this nation, walk in the bylanes to discover the true gems that wait to be polished and showcased on the global stage.

“I have faced many ups and downs in life, but I have always lived to be surprised of the next second, live by moments and not by the mementoes” she adds with her quintessential laughter. Handling and juggling so many roles of an educator, political and social activist as well as a mother to two young girls – Nura and Farishta. She says that “It is not easy, in my spare time I unwind by reading, penning essays and poetry, listening to music and by keeping fit in the gym, I am a fitness enthusiast and I like to work out at least five days in a week.”

 

 

She says that arrogance can be won over by pure art. She is in a handwoven luxurious Kanchi Silk sari.

Saira loves handcrafted yards of this country, like this lovely Bomkai Sari.

We loved her beautiful collection of unique saris and asked her about it. “I appreciate tradition and I treasure all the lovely saris gifted to me by my mother and mother-in-law, My Mother being an army wife collected traditional saris for me from all her state visits and travels, I caught the sari bug from her, I own a modest number of saris mostly gifted by my Mother. Be it a traditional ‘Baluchari’ or ‘Dhakai’ or a ‘Rajasthani Lehariyas’, behind every sari there is a story and I like to wear sari the way I would narrate a story in a play ,the way one  wears a sari also conveys  a subtle message to the outside world and the keen observer” says our versatile Parisera woman. 
Saira believes in bringing change through the continuous work in voicing opinions that helps in a holistic growth of women in various professions, also to provide encouragement towards one another when we meet powerful women. It has been a long and arduous journey, but she takes pride in knowing that she has made significant differences in the lives of the few and wants to march ahead with passion and optimism. She says that “Work and personal life should always be in a healthy partnership so that both will thrive in a harmonious environment, I have been lucky to have the best of both.”

“I love and live by the quote by the German philosopher Nietzsche, that which does not kill us makes us stronger which means that hardships and trauma only makes one resilient.”