Radio host, media personality, and all-around force of nature Lady B is joining VIBC as resident blogger! With her refreshing hosting style and distinctive voice, Bali K. Deol (otherwise known to us as Lady B), has made a home for herself in the heart of BC’s Punjabi community. We’re thrilled that she’s agreed to work with us to highlight female performers in the City of Bhangra Festival, and invite you to come along for the ride! To get us started, here’s Lady B on how her own journey got started and on the launch of a very special new venture…
It feels like a lifetime ago since I blasted the sounds of Swaraj onto the airwaves. In fact it’s been 15 lightning years that have sped by. What started out as a one-hour show that barely scraped by, getting further and further into debt, somehow made it to what it is today. Today I barely recognize the shy, fearful, nervous, and insecure girl that launched the show. Life was a shambles, crumbling around me, and I felt like I was at the foot of Everest, with no feet. It was a tough time in my life, financially and personally, yet something propelled me to continue, to show unwavering commitment to my work, my business, and the learning of the Punjabi language.
Business is tough in the beginning, as many will undoubtedly tell you. It was tough for me too. I had no money, no possessions to speak of, and a whole heap of problems of a personal nature that I won’t get into. It was a dark time, rent and bills needed to be paid, as did business bills. I came close to giving up, yet somehow didn’t. I sold jewelry to pay the bills, and laughed a sad laugh as I held out gold bangles in the jeweler’s shop because I thought that only happened in the movies. Still I didn’t give up. Then one day, things began to look up, as I began to slowly climb up the ladder of success, I paid attention to the lessons en route, and tried never to lose sight that a higher power had guided me, lifted me, and been the wind beneath my wings when I just didn’t have the strength.
I climbed out of debt, opened a savings account, added money every month. Went on vacation to Punjab after many years. Traded in my bus pass for a car, paid for in full, with hard-earned money. Gave up renting to buy a home. Yet, the reminder of that struggle always kept me a little fearful, that somehow this all wasn’t real. I never forgot what the struggle feels like, never forgot that sometimes people reach a dark time in life, that we all need a helping hand. That bad things happen to good people. That people make mistakes, but they are not their mistakes. That we all have immense potential, and sometimes just need someone to believe in us for us to take the first step.
I struggle with many things still, but money isn’t one of them. Thankfully my needs are simple, and are easily fulfilled. I also thank each and every individual who made my path easier, with a helping hand, a kind word or just a smile. Those who provided the knocks too, because it was through them that I realized my own strength.
As the curtain fell on 2013, and 2014 dawned I kept coming back to the same place in my head. It was time to give back, I was strong enough to help others in need, to be a support system and an encouraging voice. I have sought different paths to that end this year, which do not need to be shared here. In the spirit of giving back, though, I would like to share the news about my new Swaraj Radio 'Air' Grant. The grant is for individuals, charities, or not-for-profits that need help getting started or keeping going after suffering set-backs. Although this is open to anyone, because many people have gone through serious struggles in their lives, I do have a special interest in helping young women particularly who are rebuilding their lives after a traumatic period. To find out more, visit me at Swarajradio. And when you too are successful, when you have made it, remember that often people need a helping hand. Never hesitate to be the one to extend it to another person struggling. After all one good turn deserves another, each link makes all humanity stronger.