We had the good fortune of connecting with Bakyalakshmi Nisha Ravichandran and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bakyalakshmi Nisha, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I want to hold your hand and walk you through the tunnels in my memory lane. It’s a tunnel and not an alley because it’s enclosed except for the entrance and the exit. It’s dark and everybody’s scared of this place. Fear of the unknown and the dark stems from the basic survival instinct of humankind. And yet we have an insatiable curiosity to explore the unknown and the dark. I am one of those starry eyed souls whose curiosity outpaces one’s fear by a nose. I grew up being shielded from everything vile, foul and ghoul by my parents. My dad’s a farmer in India and my mom’s a housewife, a proud bourgeois family that revels in it’s proletariat simplicity. They shielded my eyes from everything ugly, my ears from everything jarring, and my mouth from everything toxic. I was asked to shut my eyes and ears when there was an offensive scene on the television set. Little did they know that wisdom is the antidote for the toxin from the fangs of the sinister snake. I was a painfully shy and a timid girl in school. I was constantly bullied and pushed around in school. This tunnel was damp from tears of self pity. There were patches of quick sand that sucked in any strands of self-confidence and self-worth. To feel like you were the ugly duckling in a herd of swans. I would come back home sink into a corner of my room and sob. Innocence hid my eyes from the fact that it wasn’t that I was inadequate but just that my soul yearned to be much more than who I was. To feel like you are worthless of any love from anyone in this world. With those thoughts filling my head, I found my entire self getting sucked into the quick sand only to be saved by my mom’s warm and loving hands. I laid down close to her heart and thought I could go back into my mom’s womb, the benevolent tunnel filled with tenderness, compassion and love. My trance was awakened by the ‘choo choo’ of the realism train. The train that has taken me down so many tunnels, some adventurous and some abominable. No matter how many bubble wraps are used to shield you, the world snarls at you and shreds every shield with her razor-sharp teeth laying you bare to all the vileness, foulness and ghoulishness. Little did I know it wasn’t just the razor- sharp teeth but also my pointed and strong nails of curiosity that tore through the shields. She exposes you and yet still she shields. She takes away yet still she gives. She snatches you away from your mother’s womb only to be taken under her wings. She let me fall, get hurt and bleed just so I appreciate the process of healing. I would sit behind my window starring into the horizon of hope, stroking my scars. My mom told me it was time to have an arranged marriage. I glanced at the tunnel she was pointing me towards and I had to look away in horror. It was the most hideous tunnel I had ever seen. Thoughts of me being suffocated and gasping for the air of freedom in the tunnel came rushing to me. I knew I had to run as fast as I could away from the tunnel. From my window, in the distance, I saw a land full of abundance, light at the end of the tunnel. I dreamt of traveling there one day and basking in the warmth of freedom. There was an unforgiving ocean in between. I envied the ones that had a majestic ship to sail across. I had no ship. I had the resources to build my own boat though. I looked at the ones who didn’t have that either and had to swim across. I looked up at the sky and smiled with gratefulness. I worked when everyone else was asleep. I worked when everyone else was chilling on the beach. I graduated my engineering degree first class with honors. After months of self study while in college I aced the GMAT. The result of long industrious years spent on solar energy research paid off and my paper got published in the international journal IEEE Xplore, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), New York. My boat was built and I set assail across the ocean. I got into the University of Rochester, New York, with scholarship for my MBA. There were crocodiles lurking in the water, they feed off of financial instability and naivete. I was their perfect prey. My boat was tumbled and the crocodiles grabbed a huge chunk of flesh off my feet. I felt my self drowning in despair. I got back on my boat, looked back at the land I set assail from and wondered what made me think I was capable of crossing the vast ocean. I wanted to give up. I had no ounce of strength left in me to fight. The thought of returning back as a failure haunted me. I was working on two unpaid internships and I was working on campus. I overloaded myself with courses to finish my MBA within a year and a half. I knocked on the doors of hundreds of jobs. The doors were shut on my face. I woke up with cold sweats from the nightmare that my life had become. I had no shoulder to cry on. The universe has her own way of sending ripples of inspiration to those that need it the most. She talks to you in ways you would have never imagined. The rising sun cast it’s light on the ocean. I lifted my head from the wooden floor of my boat, looked behind the boat and couldn’t see land anymore. I jumped with joy thinking how did I even manage to sail this far. I tugged the rope to unfurl the sails. I screamed out loud into the expanse, ‘I am not afraid anymore. Show me what you got!’. I was the youngest international student to graduate out of the 2013 MBA class. My unpaid internship turned into a full time job offer by the time I graduated. The first breath of freedom was so refreshing that I couldn’t get enough of it. I stood tall, I stood free. My journey did not end there. Today I have evolved into a movie producer and I am following my passion to positively impact the lives of millions of people around me through art.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have quite a unique background that covers both science and business. I pursued a career that will ensure a secure future and that inclination stemmed from all the sights I witnessed as a child in India. I witnessed how poverty’s ugly hands choked the last breath out of people. Hence I set out to get an engineering degree and then an MBA to ensure I get placed in the best multinational corporations of the world. I knew that would keep poverty at bay. I currently work for one of the big four accounting firms of the world, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Now that I have reached the goal I set for myself, I have the luxury of pursuing my passion and producing movies that touch people’s lives and make a positive impact. The movie ‘Year of the Dog’, that I am currently co-producing delivers a profound message very close to my heart. It’s been a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for me to be a part of the amazing team that sculpted this piece of art bit by bit. I am excited for the movie’s release soon and have no doubt it will entertain and inspire millions around the world. An immense amount of hard work went into making this movie by a very talented crew. A fantastic, fabulous and fun movie is coming your way please stay tuned!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Miami is one of the most entertaining cities in the world. There is an immense amount of things to do in this city. If my friend were visiting me here I would grab a delicious bite at ‘Meraki Greek Bistro’, downtown Miami . Their mussels are outstanding and their Spanakopita is mouthwatering. We would then head out to Wynwood walls and click some Instagram worthy pictures with the amazing wall paintings and enjoy the artistic vibes of the area. Dinner with the mind blowing views of Brickell and Downtown from ‘Area 31’ restaurant is a good end to the day. If it feels like a beach day when we wake up then we would head out to south pointe beach and enjoy a margarita from ‘Nikki Beach’ while digging our toes into the sand. The ambience in ‘Nikki Beach’ is very relaxing and the chic decor is adorable. Not far off is ‘Smith and Wollensky’ boasting eye pleasing views of the ocean and fresh seafood. Lunch here would be the next on our list. Finishing the day with a spicy dinner at ‘Akash Miami Beach’ restaurant. If we get lucky with the tickets then a concert at ‘James L Knight Center’ would be delightful. The weekend is reserved for a nice long 4 hour drive to Key West. The breath taking views of the ocean on both sides of the road throughout the drive would be more relaxing than a massage. Parasailing in Key West is spine tingling and a must do if you end up there.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wish to dedicate my shoutout to my mother Sasikala Ravichandran. She is a very strong and resilient woman. She is a homemaker whose contributions to my life have shaped the very course of it and I am reaping the benefits of all her efforts today. I look up to her and love her very much. She has touched my life in ways I can never explain. In my mind she is a warrior whose face is marred by scars from all the battles she has fought in her life. Sometimes visible and sometimes invisible enemies have been conquered and in the process she has laid the foundation of my values and belief system. She worked extremely hard in our farm in India and would often have bruises in her hands from the harsh labor in the mud, however she never complained and emerged stronger than before from each trial and tribulation. My hero, my mentor, my queen, my creator!

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