Punchy | Powerful | Primordial

Where wonderful women talk about their first times…

by Priyanka Moza
THE FIRST TIMES is the podcast borne out of the idea that women are innately resilient and full of grit, which does not need anyone’s assurance? It happens when life happens in itself. Given the conditioning of society, since they are subjected to making decisions – big or small, from a very young age, their existence is forged in resilience. Period. 
Add to that, if a woman is ambitious or wants to take a “road less taken”, it’s criticized so heavily by men and women alike, that we end up developing & showcasing RnG in the highest form. However, what also happens on the sides is we are left with far too few role models to look upon and feel relieved of our vision and thoughts. Result? No matter how much courage we have to fulfill our ideas, we land on second-guessing every move terribly and feeling lost in the dark without a safety net.
That’s a hard reality. Happens to us all. So, what can be done about it?
Well, we don’t have to look beyond our own existence and the tasks we do in everyday lives, no matter how extraordinary or mundane, to get inspiration from. Without undermining impressive women out there who are kicking ass every day at a global level, each one of us (women tribe) need to just look in our own 2X2 inch of shadow to feel equally encouraging and assured.

The philosophy behind THE FIRST TIMES is that while we are looking within the 2X2 square (or circle, whichever geometric figure you like), do not forget that resilience is never made in 1 day. It’s a cumulative power of all those events when you felt vulnerable, some even devastated, and yet, took charge of the narrative and turned it around.

It’s the journey that starts from the 1st time you decided “categorically” acting against the tide of time. The emotions that go through our head and heart are extremely nerve-racking, but if you decided to not give in and workaround, that when you started your flight towards resilience, displaying courage very subtly. Remember, you did not just survive that moment, you decisively thrived it. It’s always The First Times when you decisively push back in the face of circumstances that make or break the coming times.

When you hear the stories of the impeccable line of guests on this podcast, you will realize that these women are just like you. Their life stories or the biases they face are not so different from yours. It’s like they realized their self-worth and the worth of their struggle, took charge, owned the outcome, and managed to laugh on it now, coming on the other side of it. While looking out in the world for role models, mentors, and people with similar interests, they did not abandon their own selves in the hard moments. Weird right? Split between 2 seasons, let’s get to know and hear some of the awesome guests.

Priyanka Moza

Enterprising Digital Marketer
Corporate Lean In Leader 
Creator Of “The First Times”
Instagram: @priyankamoza 
@the_1st_times

The crazy rebel who started her own journey to inwards by leaning onto solidarity. Talk about irony!

“I believe there is strength in numbers. So, when you talk about virtues like harmony, inspiration, and inclusion… Yes, it does start from within, but the collective is always better. That’s why while looking at my own shadow for courage, I went on adding others’ strong shadows to it.”

“When I impregnated myself with the idea of this podcast, the only success metric was if more and more women come forward to speak their incredible stories of reliance & grit, and that even if it positively impacts just one person’s life, that would be more than enough. Even before we knew it, we were packing 2 seasons back to back. And may by god’s will, and support of the growing women tribe, it gets to live beyond

Karishma Govil

Digital Content Creator
Ambassador Of Positivity 
Instagram: @soul_kari

The vivacious Instagram influencer whose early life story is exactly what we see in coming-of-age dramas – being fat-shamed and bullied. But the moment she got a grip on that narrative, life turned very differently.

“I was fat-shamed and bullied so much so that I felt alienated from the rest of the world. While kids were having fun at my expense, my hormonal obesity was doing a number on my body. My back and everything just ached, and in the middle of all that I had to face humiliation as well. But the moment I decided to rub it all off and start the weight loss journey, everything changed. My point is, had it not been for my medical condition, I would have continued sustaining mental abuse for the way I looked. Just because society’s perception of beauty and class is overly vain. We need to educate our young ones and peers better.”

Radhika Warikoo

Passionate Dancer
Amazing Teacher
Instagram: @a.dancers.tale

The fun perfectionist whose teen was far from being perfect. But what made her into the formidable person today, is the very same reason. 

“From my experience battling alopecia since a very young age, what I deduced was that most of the problems we face in our day to day grind are mostly the matter of how big or small we want to make them. While some are definitely big, others are simply a result of unnecessary overthinking. We surely need to give our minds some rest.”

Madhurima Mazumdar

Emotional Empowerment Coach
Covid Survivor
Instagram: @sunshineinitiatives

The effervescent rebel who rose to ranks in media houses & banks, and yet left it all for her inner quest. She took on the path of helping emotionally transform hundreds through her sunshine initiative.

“I never understood these society biases and code of decorum that were subjected to women folks only. I would always question baba, mama, and teachers, and then my colleagues alike who would try to reason with me by saying “Aisa hi hota aaya hai. I would say I was always this direct person who would speak her mind and my parents never objected. I think this matters a lot in a girl child’s upbringing. Cut to now when I had covid, well recuperating from it mentally, physically, that’s another game altogether.”

Disha Pandey

Content Evangelist
Yoga Enthusiast 
Instagram: @unanimouslyanonymous

Hailing from a small town, the uninhibited yoga enthusiast whose journey to present has been nothing short of remarkable. Her personal well-being has been very much a part of her corporate growth. 

“I have been in all sizes. From S to XL and then back to XS. And if there’s one thing I have learned about society in this journey, it’s that thin shaming is as real as fat-shaming and especially in India, thin shaming is worse. Not just for women, our body standards exist for men as well. While it was agonizing for me in the beginning, I guess what matters most is to rise above these voices and standards and choose for yourself. We can only bring change in society as a whole when we change ourselves.”

Kritika Kulshrestha

Brand Storyteller
Community Builder
Instagram: @kritikakulshrestha

Kritika, the happy-go-lucky gal, grew up in a well-protected home like many of us, but life never remained the same after losing her dad at 17. But like every strong woman you would want to look up to for inspiration, she picked up the pieces slowly and thrived a little by little.

“I became an adult in a matter of seconds. When my father passed away and my mother was trying to take over the family affairs my father looked after, I didn’t have time to even cry. Simply because, if at that moment I had broken down, my mother’s spirits would have broken down too. So, for her sake, I put my brave face on. That was the start of my journey, but the interview with a bunch of inspiring female US military veterans actually pushed the envelope of resilience for me.”

Yamini Sharma

Happy Talent Aggregator
Avid Traveller
Instagram: @YaminiSharma

The sparkling music lover whose passion for journalism was put on indefinite hold when she crossed continents for her love. While her career took a whole 360-degree turn, there is not even an ounce of dismay on her smiling face. 

“Even though I have a love marriage, it definitely was a shocker to get married so soon at the point when I barely began my career. And then the whole ocean of systemic and the unconscious biases that we face coming from Asian culture. There is simply never an end to it. But what makes us happy is never to stop speaking out what you want to do, fighting for what feels right to you and while all that, not to forgo the happiness you have around you at that moment.”

Gopika Kapoor

Writer & Autism Consultant
Proud Mom Of Twins
Instagram: @geeveekaay

This effervescent mother of twins hit rock bottom when her son was diagnosed with Autism. But her faith helped her create her own kind of “perfect”.

“When my son Vir, one of the twins, was three years old, he was diagnosed with autism. This shattered the world that I had planned for my family. We live in a society that admires perfection, and this situation was far from perfect. But then I wondered: was I basing my idea of perfect on what society expected it to be? Or could I create my own perfect, my own ideal? This thought guided me to bring about a change not only for Vir but for other kids I worked with and is reflected in my book ‘Beyond the Blue’.”

Durva Leena Arun

Spatial Data Maverick
Rocking Radio Jockey
Instagram: @durva_leenarun

The fun spatial data specialist turned videographer & RJ who like any of us has high aspirations of reaching the stars and then becoming one. She showed her courage by dealing with burnout in a toxic relationship and then soaring towards a better her. 

“I am very ambitious and motivated towards my career with dreams to succeed like every woman. But of course, while dealing with burnout of life and job, we tend to forget that we need to give some rest to our body and mind! I listen to it. Any signal I get to take a break, I just switch off and concentrate on different hobbies that renew me.  It wasn’t the case before but dealing with an abusive person, turned everything upside down. I want to say this if you have a toxic relationship but that relationship has not killed your fire to move towards growth, then you need to be decisive and walk out of the door. You must put yourself first. This decision to stand up for self and practice self-love is very important to every woman out there”