Time management is the key to success, believes Ekta Chadha. As a young student of dental science, she dreamt of achieving three things before she turned 40: a state-of-the-art dental clinic; a class-E Mercedes; and being a golfer. “As long as you utilize your time well, especially the hours from 5 am to 10 am, you can do anything,” says Ekta, who put a check on all her goals six months before deadline.
Gregarious, generous and highly focused, Ekta constantly sets targets for self-betterment. Born and raised in Allahabad, the bright student graduated from Patna and went on to study at Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi, and at DY Patil University in Mumbai.
While in college, she married an orthopaedic surgeon who was much older than her, but she “loved his sense of humour”. They stayed on the college campus where her mother-in-law was head of gynae-obstetrics. Soon, Ekta had a daughter, and then a son.
Leaving the kids in Delhi, Ekta went to the US to pursue higher education at University of Buffalo (SUNY). “My mother-in-law was very encouraging and my husband is my hukum ka ekka (ace of spades),” says the 45-year-old. “He is my motivation. One cannot grow without backend support.”
On her return, Ekta took a loan to buy space for a clinic, which took her 22 years to pay off. The going was tough, to say the least. She had to manage debt, two young children, a budding clinic, Delhi’s sealing drive, and an incorrigible workaholic husband who had three heart attacks along the way.
But there was also recognition and growth. Terming herself a dental aesthetician at a time when the concept didn’t exist, Ekta was one of the pioneers of ‘dental tourism’ in India, and was sought after by foreigners and the media. Consulting at prestigious hospitals and specialist clinics, she realized early on that simply fixing the teeth would not ensure a perfect smile – there were other factors at play.
So she invited specialists such as nutritionist Kavita Devgan and cosmetologist Geeta C Chahal to join her in offering long-term solutions for people of all ages. Her posh Smile Studio, which uses the latest technology and gizmos, is now a lifestyle makeover clinic, with cardiologist Dr Rajneesh Jain and her orthopaedic husband Dr Gagan Chadha on board as well.
And yet, Ekta makes sure to mark out her ‘me-time’ and invest on her mental health: golf three times a week (at 5 am in summer), bridge twice a week, coffee with friends once a week, and anything else that helps her unwind.
“If you’re unhappy in one area of your life, you’ll be unhappy in others too,” she avers, adding, “Please yourself. You’ll enjoy your work more.”
First published in the February 2018 issue of eShe magazine.