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Inside The World Of Author And Entrepreneur Sheetal Ohri
Known for her award-winning book the Custodial Battle: Chronicles of an Immigrant Mother who was delayed justice in family law due to immigration status, Sheetal Ohri who is a successful and experienced entrepreneur, an accomplished communicator gives an insight in her writing journey. In this candid conversation she talks about the book, her inspiration, work life balance and a lot more
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1. What was the inspiration behind launching a book on the judicial system and challenges faced by an immigrant woman?
My son has been my inspiration. I feel blessed today that I could be with him and get his custody after going through tough court cases both in India and US. Standing on the true path being wronged myself, winning the India court case after many challenging situations created by a US citizen while I was in India and had no way to reach back to my son, letting go of the won custody of my son from India court to abide by US Jurisdiction and adhere to their rules, once I reached back to US. Then facing difficulties in American courts and seeing disparity where our Indian culture was not understood and immigration related challenges whereby, I was called a “Flight Risk.” All of the above made me realize how much suffering I had to endure to be with my child and if I could help another mother or father through my experiences and make it easier for them and have them feel good by being with their child, then why not. Thus, the book originated.
2. How do you see the book resonating with the Indian audience? Do you think the Indian audience is ready for a subject matter of this nature?
The book is a story which is a reality in today’s day and age. Indian audience can relate to the story as it’s a story of a young girl who came to America with her dreams of a perfect life and was betrayed and then she had to fight for her rights, her parental rights which were initially denied due to her immigration status.
Many women are either left in India by Spouses who live and work abroad or who are Citizens of the countries. Its not only America but all over the world where women and children are separated on the basis
of Immigration status. In many cases men are separated from their children when mothers bring them back to the country of origin. Indian audience are very much aware of this subject but we need to be more vocal about this topic now as these matters are part of the international policies especially when countries are making Treaties such as Hague convention etc. revolve around these matters.
3. Would you like to share your personal experience that seeded the idea of this book?
While sitting in court rooms waiting for my case to be called and waiting on my turn and then not be able to state my facts in a court hearing of 15-30 minutes where both parties were to state their side and I felt being biased because I was an Indian and the American Judges did not understand the Indian Culture and the other party taking advantage of that and then being judged on immigration status and even though having a good moral, ethical background, I as a mother who was wronged or as a wife who was wronged, I was asked to abide by American laws and prove my status in the courts to be given time with my own son even though I was spending equal or more amount in attorneys and other court fees was very frustrating. My voice did not seem to be heard and at that time I used to suffer and all I could think was, one day I will write about this anguish and this injustice. I would dream and think that one day I would speak my side and let people know what transpires in the Judicial system which the world thinks were flawless.
4. Tell us about your work as an entrepreneur and the challenges faced while managing both roles.
I am the CEO of my company and work as a Marketing Consultant and do projects and events for Brand Management. I also work as a director with the largest Franchisee of Top brand chains of Restaurants in USA. In the last 16 years I have made my name as a Brand which represents Honesty and ethics. This shows in my working with companies and my events and my Radio talk show for the last over 10 years called “Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri” This talk show airs on the FM station in San Francisco. Writing has been a passion since I was young and it continued while I wrote poems and proses over the years. Eventually in the last 4 years I started to write my first book which was a dedication to the situation I faced and I wanted to assist and inform other individuals and cases in the situation I used to be in. There were no challenges in managing the role of an entrepreneur or an author as writing brings solace from the regular busy work.
5. What are your thoughts on the current judicial process for child custody?
The judicial process in child custody cases in USA is much better at this point now due to the understanding of our Indian culture as Indian culture is somewhat ruling the government in many aspects with top leaders being in the President’s cabinet as well along with the big Technology firms being led by Indians. Indian culture is being now understood and people are becoming followers of our culture and food. The court mediators in many cities are given training by local non profits on our Indian cultures. There are workshops held to advise on our Indian system.
6. Tell us more about community work and how you aim on helping the causes you are connected with.
I have worked with many local Nonprofits being on their board as a director or Vice President to promote Indian culture. These nonprofits promoted the Indian culture, values, Traditions in younger generation, children and mainstream Americans. I have assisted with local Domestic Violence nonprofits or been doing consultancy with DV victims in guiding them with resources when needed. I have my own Radio Talk show for more than 10 years called “Making a Difference with Sheetal Ohri” where I promote and talk to individuals, nonprofits, companies, political leaders who are Making a Difference and empower the listeners through their journeys, stories and their challenges and how they overcame them.
I have recently formed my own Nonprofit to assist with various issues locally and help abused children and women and victims of Domestic Violence.
7. After The Custodial Battle, are you working on a new story?
Yes, I am working on my new story/book which should be published towards the end of next year.