Single by choice, Ritu Anand is a woman who upholds her forte and refuses to lurk behind anyone’s shadows. As the Sales and Project manager of Al Maarifa Lab Supplies LLC, her association with E-Movers dates back to 2005 and ever since they’ve been assisting with the shifting and installing of all their laboratory furniture. In this excerpt, we run you through her journey where she has proved that daughters are no less than sons.
An architect and interior designer by profession, Ritu pursued her Bachelor’s from the Delhi College of Architecture. Even though she wanted to be an architect she found the profession mundane and developed an inclination toward the Hospitality Industry. Presented with opportunities she joined as a Restaurant Hostess in the Coffee Shop of the newly opened prestigious Hyatt Regency Delhi. Within six months, she was promoted to the manager of the same restaurant and from there on there was no looking back.
She grins “It was the uniform the staff wore that made me want to join the hospitality industry. In hindsight even though I find it silly, at that naïve age venturing into an iconic 5-star hotel was a dream come true. Thankfully this stint exposed me to cross-cultural dealings and problem-solving early on.”
The group decided to transfer her to Hyatt Regency Dubai, UAE. Landing in UAE was a turning point in her career in the international realm. Despite being faced with discouragement that women in Arab countries would be given no major role, she went on to be the first woman in UAE who stepped into the role of Director of Catering. With determination and diligence, she climbed onto the post of Assistant General Manager.
She proudly recollects “Despite the odd working hours the hospitality sector demands, women feel safe even on night shifts in the UAE. Gender equality and respect for all cultures are what the Emirates upholds. I was the first woman Director of PR for the Intercontinental Group of Hotels in the Middle East. As a woman never did I face a glass ceiling in my career growth. No limit even today.”
Change in career path
However, after a couple of years, the management decided to transfer her to Mumbai. Having cherished those years in UAE and experienced the safety, security and respect women enjoy in the UAE she was not prepared to leave the country.
So, change was evident, and she quit to join her sister’s business in UAE – Al Marifa Lab Supplies – a specialized turnkey solution provider that fabricates, designs and manufactures laboratory furniture for all kinds of laboratories for educational institutes, Research and development and the medical field. To live up to her new role, she attended a specialized course in designing laboratories in the US. While helping her sister and brother-in-law manage the business, she opened her own company NK Globe FZE which is one of the preferred suppliers for various agencies of the United Nations
The family also opened Science Lab Inc with its manufacturing facility in Sharjah Free Zone. Serving as a partner she handles the designing, sales and project sites, but the driving force behind the business is her sister. Hands-on projects, she works closely with the design and installation team on site. With merely 3-4 hours of sleep per day, her day starts early traveling to and fro from the factory to sites, attending client meetings and working on quotations along the way.
“We start from designing to manufacturing and installing Laboratory furniture and equipment in our factory and undertake fit-outs all over the UAE and also to GCC countries including Bahrain, KSA, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. We do specialized projects for research and development firms, all over the Gulf, other renowned institutes like the Higher College of Technology, Khalifa University, Ministry of Education and leading educational Institutes. Currently involved in a Dubai Government project of a school for approx. 2500 students, we’ve designed and installed 56 Laboratories.”
Association with E-Movers
Their company was in search of a trusted company to handle logistics for packing, loading and offloading furniture and equipment for various sites and while scanning through the Yellow Pages Directory, Ritu came across E-Movers Group. It’s been nearly two decades E-Movers has been doing the shifting, offloading and installation of lab furniture and equipment including heavy machinery. A typical mega project would comprise 30-40 people on-site during the fit-out stage working on an 8-8 job for weeks together.
“Even though I’m a perfectionist and a difficult person to work with, I could easily work with E-Movers. Meticulous and consistent, they have been doing a fabulous job and I attribute this consistency to their brilliant staff training systems. I’m all praise for the management and their sales manager Mr. Jagath and feel happy to work with their team at site. Their entire team is professional, courteous, cooperative and I ‘ve never had to escalate any work issues.” -asserts Ritoo.
Drawings from her life
Growing up in a close-knit Punjabi family of 3 daughters, Ritu realized she’ll have to play a son’s role and stuck to her commitment over the years. Today her sisters are well settled abroad. One is a Doctor in Norway, and another is a Businesswoman in Dubai. However, she wasn’t keen on adopting the marriage route. Despite being comfortable with her singleness, people inquisitively ask ‘Still single?’
She replies “Deeply involved in work time flew and age went by, and I have no regrets about it. Nevertheless, I’m glad I always upheld the responsibility of my parents as a priority. With all the money I earned I built a house for them and that’s really gratifying. Now that I’m happily single, I satiate my travel escapades and explore countries. I’ve toured Europe, the Asia Pacific region, Japan and India is next on my bucket list. I want to explore the famous cities of India.”
Ritu adds “My father, a navy serviceman, was a simple person. He treated his daughters equal to sons and showered us with unconditional love. He never advocated the cause of dowry and instead supported us with a good education. I attribute my confident personality to my cordial upbringing. Unfortunately, things took a tragic turn in 2020 when I lost my father and being very attached to him, I lost a part of me. He was my role model and mentor, a person whom I deeply admired. As I reflect, I feel he set the standard of the complete man so high that I could never find one like him in a partner.” She continues, “My mother was one of the first women who worked with the Indian Government (during Mrs Indira Gandhi’s tenure) in our family and was fully into social services hours together, and this inspired me. Eventually, after my dad’s passing, I got her to Dubai for her to enjoy time with her grandchildren.”
“A son is a son till he gets a wife, but a daughter is a daughter all her life.”
Her advice to women who choose to be single is “Love and marriage are a very personal thing and it’s fine to focus on your career which marriage can limit at an early age. You know what’s best for you, and don’t let societal prejudices dictate your life. Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it and you’ll start loving your independent space. Lastly, no matter what life throws at you face it with courage and keep going.”
Disclaimer: The stories are a work of fiction based on facts. Identies and details may have been altered to suit the narrative.