The name Ruby Ahluwalia might just sound like another name to you, but one must not ignore the fact that she has rediscovered her life in a way unimaginable and made herself a “brand name”.
A WARRIOR’S HISTORY
She kickstarted her education in Dehradun followed by her later schooling at Carmel Convent School in Lucknow followed by a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the Lucknow University and a Master of Business Administration in finance degree from ICFAI, Hyderabad.
Currently she is the Financial Advisor and the Chief Accounts Officer at the Central Railways. She is a proud IRAS officer of the 1986 batch and her journey to this post had been full of challenges and interesting posts.
From March 1997 -March 2001, she was the Deputy General Manager, Finance, konkan railways.
From March 2001- March 2002, she was the head of Information Technology at the Western Railways
From March 2002- March 2007, she was the head of Finance, Mumbai division and Pune division.
All of these interesting jobs have taught her great experience in transportation, trucking, operation management, funding processes, Business planning and general administration.
A management graduate and a scholar of the Giri Institute of Developmental Studies, she has done extensive work in the realm of public-private partnership. She is also a passionate painter and used colours on canvas to bring out deep emotional churning in her quest for spiritual evolvement. After achieveing so much at such an age, she had already become a star.
However, in 2012, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer after a back sprain and a strong pull in her chest. This diagnosis proved to be the most traumatising situation the family had ever faced. The question of surviving was at risk.
The first time an issue was noticed was in 2009 when a lady who earns her living by massages pointed out a thick internal block, to what we call “gaath” in hindi on her chest. This wasn’t really given much importance by her as well as her family. However, after discussing it out with a doctor at Tata, who was also Mrs Ruby’s university classmate, she underwent various tests and much later it was confirmed that it wasnt just a tumour, but it was cancer. This suddenly changed her and her family’s lifestyle. This was an absolute shock. It gave rise to a weak situation where questions like “why me” started conquering her brain. However, after giving it a thought and coping with the emotional stress at that point of time, they decided to finally open up and talk about it to their kids and family instead of making a mistake by hiding this very fact.
The thought of cancer itself is very disturbing, and for the young children, it was more of a dilemma creating situation when the younger one asked, “ does this mean we stop smiling and laughing?” . Mrs Ruby Ahluwalia was lucky enough to have Ahluwalias’ with her all along her journey to recovery. The family just had one single agenda that was – Making Her Better. And i suppose they did a great job at it too. Her mother came in to bombay to support her not only emotionally but to also reduce the burden on her, because in the words of her husband, Anil Ahluwalia, “life had to go on, kids were supposed to go to college, tiffins were still to be made, Ruby still had to go to office, even on days when she had her chemotherapy.”
The whole process of recovery at the Tata memorial Hospital, Mumbai was full of challenges, pains, mood swings and struggles not only for her but also for her family, however they were again lucky enough to find doctors who not just only acted as medical experts but also friends who were supportive in all aspects as they could be. “The doctors went beyond their regular duties, covering psychological aspects as well which made us feel blessed to have them around us.”, said Mr. Anil Ahluwalia, CoFounder, SLBC.
The Ahluwalia family along with friends, relatives and doctors remained strong, bold and focused enough to bring about a new person in Mrs Ruby Ahluwalia and that is precisely why she spoke in an interview with Business line that cancer is the 2nd best thing that happened to her after her husband.
Thus, finally in 2012, after recovering from a deadly dis ‘ease’, in order to fill the gaps for other people facing the same struggles and challenges in life and finding it difficult to cope up with the emotional, physical, mental and financial drains, she started her journey to pass on the same and maybe a bigger amount of love and care she had recieved from her near and dear ones and thus decided to start an organisation called SANJEEVANI…LIFE BEYOND CANCER. The organisation since its establishment in 2012 has worked extensively in 11 cities to bring about a change in the interpretations, the ways of creating awareness and providing rehabilitation to cancer survivors along with providing extensive emotional support to them as well as their families. A lot of information regarding this organisation has been given in my previous blogs.
I recently had a personal interaction with this great human being and honestly while going to her office on an early mumbai morning via the roadssurrounded by historical buildings which are now high end government offices. I by that time had immersed myself to the feeling that “this is gonna be good”. But honestly, trust me, it was more than just good and i cant thank enough to Sanjeevani to provide me with this opportunity.
The moment we entered her office, the first thing she spoke was, “ sorry to keep you all waiting, my driver really goofed up today” and all this while she had a bright white and a huge smile on her face. Even after being such a well known personality now, achieving so many great awards and being the founder of an organisation working for a great social cause in a way unique, she still has her roots attached to being what she is best at, polite, caring, professional and most importantly she knows what she speaks and is just crystal clear about her wants.
The word “aura” fits her personality just super well.