“Learn to appreciate small quiet moments, the ocean, a walk on the beach, time alone, your health, your strength, your smile, your life.”
Born and bought up in West Africa, Anju Kalra (Kashish Jiandani), Business Development Manager – India,
Norwegian Cruise Line had a pampered childhood. However, life had its own set of challenges planned to make her tough and strong. For her better education opportunities, her family shifted to India in 1988 and within two years, she lost her father due to cardiac arrest. “Those were the toughest years of my life – I was going through cultural shock, not being accepted by friends at school, shifting from nuclear to joint family and losing my dad. Too much happened and I don’t remember losing my childhood and becoming matured in those 2 years at the age of 12,” recalls Anju.
The biggest learning for her? Back in July 2005, she lost most of her valuables in Mumbai floods as her house was on the ground floor. She said, “I even lost photographs of my dad, my last memory of him. We didn’t have any furniture in the house for a year. My neighbours helped my mom as I was stuck midway and reached home the next morning. It was tough to let go but I learnt that it was not in my control. It was during this time that I learnt to respect and value family, friends and all those small things in life which we ignore while focusing on big things. I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.”
After completing her diploma in tourism, she worked for India’s top family-oriented travel company to an international travel brand. Starting with a tele-caller, she moved from operations to products to sales and finally cruises. She said, “It has been a long and fulfilling journey of 20 years. I’m grateful to all my bosses who trusted me, taught me and also believed in my decision-making skills. After learning, testing and trying, I was able to find my passion for cruises.” She is the first Indian master cruise consultant from CLIA (Cruise Line International Association). She also credits her success to her spouse who is her support system, her furry friend who is her stress buster and of course to Lord Ganesha.