Kavitha Thatikonda

Her Own Woman

Kavitha is her own woman. She does not identify as somebody's Mrs., somebody's mother, or somebody's daughter. Though she is all of those things and more, she has retained her own identity. And it is this strong sense of self-awareness that has led her to go on and pursue her ambitions and dreams.

I am Kavitha Thatikonda. Always have been. I haven't changed even my last name after marriage - my husband understood the importance of letting me be myself, and so I have held on to my identity, and my connection to where I came from.

I'm an ordinary Telegu girl who did her graduation in Physical Therapy from Manipal University. At 21, I started my own clinic and began to shine in my hometown. This caught the attention of the District Collector, and led me to get interviewed by one of the top TV channels.

I then got married to Shashidhar Brahmandllapalli. Of course, like every other traditional arranged marriage, I gave up my profession to happily lead a new life with my hubby. He moved to different countries, and I followed in his footsteps.

2 years passed, our family grew, and we had a son, Suhas. When my child was a year old, I realised that I wasn't focusing on my career as all my time was getting invested in family. My goals and ambitions struck me all at once, and I understood that I could not achieve my personal goals anymore as I was married, and had a kid too.

I had always had the ambition to go to the USA and do a higher education there. And maybe even start a career as a Physical Therapist there, eventually. This dream was currently beyond my imagination, and I knew I had to take several steps before I could even begin imagining to work abroad.

My husband supported me, at this turning point of my life. Even when my own parents, family and in-laws didn't believe in me. To him, marriage was not an end point, but rather a starting point to begin your journey again and achieve what you want to achieve. And so, after almost an 8-year gap in my education, I appeared for TOEFL and GRE exams, passed, and went to the US for my MS. This was in 2010.

There, I didn't have any family or friends who could support me in any way. I was all by myself. I didn't know how to drive, and would walk 2 miles one way to do the laundry, and 3 miles to go to the grocery store, as there was no public transport in my town.

On top of that, I had left my three-year-old son and hubby and flown over the oceans. This was heart-breaking. But I worked hard - attending school in the day, and studying for my Physical Therapy exam in the night. Eventually, I cleared the boards and got the licence to practice as an OT within 3 months of landing in this country! I was able to achieve what I wanted to, and all the pain and sacrifice along the way had paid off.

Now, I'm working as the Director of a rehab facility where 25+ therapists work for me on a daily basis. I am proud to say I invested time for myself and now, that has given a boost to not just me but my entire family. I can proudly say from experience now, where there is a will, there is a way!

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