How being a 30+ Women Entrepreneur I relate to Masaba in Netflix's Masaba Masaba!

Mrinil Mathur
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Masaba Masaba S2

Created by Sonam Nair, Masaba Masaba on Netflix is a fictionalized version of Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta's lives. The show explores different aspects of this mother-daughter relationship along with personal and professional tracks inspired by instances from their real lives.

Though season 1 seemed closer to reality, season 2 tilted towards the rom-com genre. Regardless of the romantic triangle taking the front seat, I liked the second season because it touched upon relatable and relevant situations that might inspire Women and made the show worth watching.

For starters, the two leading ladies are unapologetic and know how to stand for themselves and prove their merit. Irrespective of being an award-winning actress, Neena Ji struggles to get work in the entertainment industry that considers aged women dated. And Masaba, on the other hand, despite being in the fashion industry for almost a decade, is facing the heat from a 20-something Instagram Influencer turned Designer. She is reinventing to matchup the industry's evolving demands. But Masaba is not waiting for the prince charming to come and rescue her from all the troubles. She is the one falling, learning, rising, and taking charge of her life.

Also Read: Was Masaba Masaba season 2 a perfect mixture of fashion, drama and love for the Janta? Let’s find out!

But I personally connected with Masaba running the House of Masaba, the entrepreneur version of Masaba! Whether it was Season 1 or 2, both showed Masaba living Startup Life dealing with typical entrepreneurial situations the way an entrepreneur will deal. A little by the gut & faith, a little by experience, fire fighting and taking on struggles head-on. The only constant being passion and determination to make things happen. All the entrepreneurs, am I right or am I right?

She took Dubey ji's constant bickering about financial crisis with a smile and believed that everything would be sorted and would not compromise on employees' salaries or didn't want to discuss the financial issues in front of them; I could see her pain through that smile.

Managing in the background but putting a face that everything is sorted in front of clients is a typical startup entrepreneur trait. Kiara’s visit was the perfect example of that.

In several instances, Masaba is seen struggling while trying to balance both personal and professional life. I believe, like her, it is an eternal battle that every entrepreneur has to learn to fight and live with it. Trust me; we cannot let either one win.

The sequence from season 1 of her fashion show for a collection launch of 'Hot Mess' felt too real for any showrunner. Even after being on the toes to plan the event for numerous days, there can be a thousand things that can go wrong, and there are things that, how hard you try, will go wrong. That fashion show reminded me of the hot mess I deal with when I have to put up a show for my business. Last minute approvals, people coordination, no time to get ready or eat, running in heels from corner to corner, and not to forget the jitters! I relived all that in the last episode of Season 1.

And what came after that was equally heart-touching. Her bond with her employees. She didn't accept Gehna's resignation or let anyone from the team feel that they made a big mess and it is a dead end now. She bounced back with the same army of House of Masaba with whom she drowned a night before with the fashion show. She considered all that to be a team effort. A bond like that is what every employer should have with employees and should be more like one big team working for the same goal that the organization is working for. That's the secret sauce of entrepreneurs.

Season 2 started with a similar kind of existential crisis for Masaba when her audience walked off from her fashion show to attend her competitor’s show. The self-doubt and the big question that comes with it - ‘Am I doing it right?’ is what I have also come across several times, but bouncing back from it, looking forward and also answering another question - ‘Why I started this?’ is what takes an entrepreneur on a right path.

Masaba’s monarchy manifesto to bounce back from a failure is not that bad actually! Aiming for the crown will only help us rise and rise! It’s a business, and everyone wants to build an empire. So when Masaba said, “It's time a girl become the king,” it looked like she talked on behalf of every women entrepreneur out there. And what makes someone a king? - THE PLAN. Her manifesto was the perfect plan!

Let me sum up her monarchy manifesto here -

  1. Get yourself a kingmaker - well, that’s true. If you gotta be king, you need a kingmaker. Masaba hired a PR professional; for me, a mentor can be the kingmaker you really need.
  2. Let the world know that you have arrived - a little noise, in my opinion, is no harm. Also, to reach places, you gotta let that noise travel places.
  3. Get that coin girl! - Money & Risk! - the two things heavily dependent on an entrepreneur’s gut feeling and passion. And skills not to forget!
  4. Get rid of distractions - Masaba had dates, an entrepreneur can have thousands of other distractions. Just get rid of them or learn to put them at bay.
  5. Expand your Kingdom - Well! that’s basic and understandable.

The show addressed mental health concerns through Gia’s character. A happy-go-lucky, badass Gia revamps and reopens the family restaurant and bar in an attempt to make her parents proud. Though she loves the process, she reaches a point where she ends up not going to work for three weeks till the time Masaba questions her. A breakdown is unavoidable in this journey, and addressing it as a priority is the first step. There is no shyness attached to accepting the physical and mental fatigue and the need to seek help! I myself have paused several times when I reach work fatigue or am open to seeking professional help if required. It’s high time we focus on the mental health of entrepreneurs because what goes in that mind is beyond comprehension. All kings and queens of this business empire, it’s ok to be vulnerable!

And being a married woman entrepreneur, I have heard enough and more times things from the society that just breaks my heart and feel reduced to a level where my identity is measured not by my achievements but by the societal norms. “You have been married for 5+ years, you should now plan kids”, “your career is going nowhere, focus on planning a kid,” and the worst, “high time you should focus on family planning your husband can take care of the business.” I get that everything has a time and age because of the biological clock, but choosing between work and family planning is not the right way to deal with this situation. It’s the time to work also!

I am glad an Indian show captured this trivial issues and talked about egg-freezing as an option and not just highlighted that a woman can manage both. Yes, we can, but we surely don’t need toxic positivity with it. We are also humans, for God's sake! I am hoping it stirred the conversation in some households because it sure did in mine.

Season 2’s last episode showcased a badass boss woman who accepted the failure, started a new venture and was courageous enough to take lessons from it and shut it down because this wasn’t the reason she started in the first place. And finally did what she does best in the most iconic way possible.

Neena Ji also proved her merit by bagging the show for herself and not succumbing to the male-dominating industry’s whims and fancies. All these instances made me like the show even more!

Not sure if you watched the show with this lens, but I am glad Indian shows are starting to sew some conversations like these.

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