LedBy interviewed Azba Rehman, the youngest core team member, and the new Social Media Associate. Azba is 21, and she is already breaking stereotypes in her community by passionately working towards a vision and establishing a benchmark in society. Azba’s dedication and hard work, despite all the odds she faced, are what made her a source of inspiration for the community. Azba’s story is like so many young, ambitious Muslim women...
Ques. Azba, Tell us about yourself and who you are?
I am Azba Rehman, and now everyone knows me as the Social Media Associate for LedBy Foundation. Earlier, I used to be quite an intellectual person who focused on her studies and goals. But now I’m more dynamic. I was born and brought up in Delhi, and I’m a Jamia Millia Islamia Alumni. If I have to define myself, I’m a workaholic and just wanted to work for my aims tirelessly. I’ve started engaging a lot in social sector activities since my first year of graduation. And by the grace of Almighty, I’m at least able to satisfy my existence on the earth. So, I’m currently just an ordinary girl working for her ambitions and trying to leave a mark in society.
Ques. So, how does it feel to have achieved a lot at this young age and move gracefully towards your ambitions?
To be honest, the challenges are far more than the success. My family is somewhat frightened when they see my ambition. I know they want to protect me, and maybe the world is too cruel, but practically, one cannot grow up being protected all the time. I don’t want to be put in a box of, “you only have to do this because this is what people do.” I don’t believe in staying in our lanes. People tell me, "you can have ambitions but don’t be too ambitious.” But these things push me even harder. I just want to parent myself.
Following your dreams is never easy. Because you know it’s going to take work, and it’s going to take dedication, and you have to be ready to take on criticism. But as long as you love it and you want it, and you keep that laser focus, then nothing is impossible.
Ques. What keeps you going so enthusiastically towards your ambitions?
The restrictions and criticism that I face is that driving power that makes me realize my potential and worth. The minute you tell me that I can’t do something, I work that much harder to prove not to people but to myself that I can do it. I do know that I’m worth something. I’m not going to settle; I’m going to wait. Because there is something out there that will give me that feeling that I deserve what I want. People are unique; this is what I firmly believe. I am just trying to become the best version of myself. And everyone can do that.
Ques. what is that one thing you came across repeatedly and that continues to surprise you?
“You’re just 21; why are you working so early? You’ll fall prey to this corporate world.” That “too young” statement angered me. I used to doubt myself. Like 21? Is it too young to work for your ambitions? Will I fall apart? But with time, I realized that people would mold you according to their experiences. If they’ve been crumbled, that doesn’t mean everyone will. And even if you’ll fall apart, then at least it will be your experience at the end, not someone else’s.
So, it’s never too late, neither too early to begin. Write a book at 16, Start your professional career at 21, Start your business at 40, or travel the world at 60. Just ignore timelines. Wherever you are, whoever you are, no matter what your age, your time is now.
Ques. How do you see failures in life? Ever afraid of it?
Downfall? It’s going to happen to everyone. Being a meritorious student since the beginning to be a young professional, the only thing which used to haunt me was the failures. Like what will people say? What will they think about me? Will they mock me?
But with time, I realized that I was far ahead of that negativity. The Almighty had already granted me some sort of success in one or another way and proved that rather than being judged by others, I should realize my worth. And I did that. Failures are essential because you only stand higher when you stumble. So now I’m not afraid of it. I know that I’ll have a plan B when and if a downfall happens. Your excellence can be morphed into so many things. Be it this way or that.
Ques. How do you define your success?
I guess I’m just too young to answer this question. I’ve not seen the world yet. I don’t know what success means to me. But I think for me, to be truly successful is to be at peace with myself and be happy with it every day.
You are bold. You are brilliant. And you are beautiful. There is no other woman like you because you are your kind of woman. These are the affirmations that I give to myself every morning to remind myself of who I am, to remind myself of what I overcome, to remind myself of my worth
Ques. One message that you would like to give to the community?
It’s important to define yourself on your terms. Something extraordinary about changing your life through big or small changes - like, a shorter haircut or changing professions. In both cases, you are changing the course of your life, but on your terms. You don’t have to look suitable for people. You don’t have to be perfect just because other people want you to be perfect. If your soul is pure from within, this is all that you need to be.