November 6, 2016, will go down as a memorable day in the history of Jal Vayu Vihar, Noida. The reason: The male-dominated managing committee of Jal Vayu Vihar Community Centre (JVCC) will have a woman member for the first time in its 20-year history. For Vijay Kapany, former headmistress of the Khaitan School, Noida, this was no mean feat. Breaking gender stereotypes never is!
Post-retirement, when most would have had it easy, Kapany chose otherwise. She felt it was time for her to give back to the community she had called home for the past 22 years. Surprisingly, she fought the elections and won unopposed!
Kapany never had it easy in life, and it steeled her determination even more. She lost her husband, late wing commander MS Kapany, 20 years back. She took on the reins of her family and brought up two kids single-handedly. And the residents of her community know her for exactly what she is — a woman of grit.
Vijay Kapany and her daughter Jasleen Kapany
But taking on the male-centric JVCC managing committee proved difficult even for her — twice she had to almost withdraw her name from the list.
Recalling some of her thoughts, she says, "I have had to handle innumerable kids in my 32-year career as an educationist — shaping their careers, their lives. I wondered how difficult it would be to convince adults. It was a challenge, but I was able to convince them that I was equally capable of doing what male committee members could.”
Community service has always been very close to Kapany's heart. She volunteers for a Noida-based NGO, Baal Vikaas Bhaartee. Employing methods such as storytelling, she helps underprivileged children build confidence and positivity.
Kapany believes that life starts post-retirement. "That's when you can do things you have never previously had the time for," she says. She knows how to enjoy life, and her packed daily routine says as much. “My day starts early, as I participate in laughter yoga at the community centre. Then I head for golf, and come back home to do a relaxing round of cards with my friends. I also take long walks in Noida stadium and, if I can make time, attend Buddhist chanting sessions in the evening," says Kapany with an infectious smile.
Her agenda for JVCC