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October 1, 2016: Age is no bar for 52-year-old Seeta Durjan Begui, who has an Indo-Caribbean origin and is full of surprises. She is quite happy to have her own radio show ‘Seeta and Friends.’ Apart from that, she is an author as well as a nurse by profession.

Currently living in Melbourne, Florida, she is a mother of 4 and is a practising Hindu. Needless to say, she is a woman of multiple professions. Her book ‘Eighteen Brothers and Sisters,’ is a memoir and will delight any reader. Recently, she has also started a natural skincare product line by the name of ‘Simply Seeta.’

A woman of multiple professions- Begui has her own radio show helps and has written a book by the name of ‘Eighteen Brothers and Sisters’. Recently, she has also started a natural skincare product line by the name of ‘Simply Seeta.’

Seeta Durjan Begui with US President Obama

At the age of 52, she is a mother of four and is a practising Hindu. As a woman of multiple professions she has her own online radio show by the name of ‘Seeta and Friends’ and has written a book by the name of ‘Eighteen Brothers and Sisters.’ Recently, she has also started a natural skincare product line by the name of ‘Simply Seeta.’

In an exclusive Interview with Reporter Anubhuti Gupta of NewsGram, Seeta Durjan Begui, a self-made woman talks about her origin, journey, and many other things.

Anubhuti: Being an Indo-Caribbean woman, how closely are you connected to India now?

Begui: In 1800, my great-grandfather emigrated from Bihar, India to Trinidad and Tobago when the British brought people to work on the sugarcane plantations as industrial workers. A lot of people didn’t make it to the ship and some of those who did, they died because of lack of food and medicines.

A good thing about Indians is that they are very resilient. They brought their culture with them to Trinidad. Hindus brought their deities and Muslims brought Islam. I think, the real wealth of people is their culture which they have instilled in the younger generation as well.

I feel very grateful when I think about the opportunity that they gave us to have a life in Trinidad and Tobago.

Anubhuti: You wrote a memoir “Eighteen Brothers and Sisters,” that mentions about seventeen siblings. What was it like to grow up between them?

Begui: My father had seven children and my mother had four before both they met. My mother’s first four children were Muslims by birth, as their father followed Islam. Later, my parents had seven children of theirs together.

There used to be a lot of tension in the family. Poverty was one of the prime reasons, but apart from it there used to conflicts in the family as well. My father didn’t particularly like the Muslim children to be around. At times, due to these conflicts and anxieties my father used to become violent towards my mother. But, they both did their best to raise us.

Seeta Durjan Begui with Hillary Clinton

I myself was also a victim of domestic violence from my previous husband. This is the reason why I have written this book; it was to show that you can survive domestic violence and move on, in spite of all the difficulties that one has to go through.

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Anubhuti: You have also recently started a natural skincare product line. What exactly inspired to do it?

Begui: I started my natural skin care product line ‘Simply Seeta’ to honour my mother. While growing up, coconut was a ‘godly’ fruit for me. My mother used the branches of coconut to make brooms and gave us the jelly to eat, water to drink. The fibre was used to make the mattresses and the oil was used for our skin. When I came to America I was so shocked to see people suffering from several skin diseases like psoriasis, eczema and dry skin. I followed the same path as my mother did and started the skincare range here.

Anubhuti: How was your childhood in Trinidad and Tobago?

Seeta: We were raised as Hindus. On Sundays, we were insisted on to take a bath and to go to the temples and offer prayers. We were never allowed to wear bathing suits or show off too much of our skin. The intermingling of boys and girls was a strict no-no.

In fact, my father didn’t want me to work as he thought I would end up having a boyfriend. He wanted me to go for an arranged marriage. He was also very sceptical about taxi drivers. I knew he was over-protective but at the end of the day, he was just trying to raise us the best he could.

Anubhuti: After growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, how close do you feel you are to your roots?

Begui: Very much; every time I see a mirror I see an Indian woman staring back at me. A woman raised in Trinidad and Tobago and whose ancestors gave up so much.

One thing that you can’t take away from someone is their identity and I am Indian who loves Lord Krishna and who believes He keeps her safe all day. I was also very grateful to learn about the Islamic faith and so I know that true Islam is about peace and tolerance. I am grateful that I was born in a country to where Indians migrated to and they brought such love and culture that you can feel it here every moment. Trinidad taught me a lot but being Indian , and this is what gives me a sense of peace and love.

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Anubhuti: Can you enlighten us a little bit about the Indo-Caribbean community and your interaction with them?

Begui: They are very proud of me. My husband and I are a part of Brevard’s Indian Medical Association and the community is proud of anyone who invests their time to be a part of the events. Indians feel here a sense of belonging and I get a lot of invitation for gatherings, events, and parties from the community.

Anubhuti: Would you like to share a word of advice?

Begui: If there was any one thing that I would like to convey through this interview- Don’t judge or discriminate people who you do not know. Say Hello and try to know them. Discrimination doesn’t do any good to the society, spreading peace and love will!

-Reported by Anubhuti Gupta of Newsgram, edited by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram .


Photo by Pedro Durigan on Unsplash

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