(Writing in a train while traveling from Rome to Venice)
I was one of those rare breed of children who needed to be pushed outside the house to go and play. Stepping into the pages of a good book and getting lost in its world have been my idea of happiness ever since I can remember. Ironically, writing ‘came’ to me quite late. The Indian academic system during our times (in the ’90s) might have been responsible to some extent. You see, doctors and engineers were the most revered professions then and even if you didn’t manage to ‘crack’ those entrances, the other ‘respectable’ options were the Sciences (or, maybe at least Commerce). As a result, even while I loved English (which was taught as a first language in my school), for my higher studies I chose a subject about which I had absolutely no idea! I studied Economics in college and I thank my stars that I at least enjoyed studying the subject.
However, after completing a Masters in Economics and then doing yet another Masters in International Business, when I joined the corporate sector, reality kicked in. I’ve been working as a corporate slave for nearly a decade now, and all I can tell you is that it wasn’t making me happy. There was an underlying sense of restlessness, which I couldn’t pin to a particular reason. Someone seemed to hold the flash card with the question, ‘Is this all there is?’on my mind’s screen from time to time. So, while the jobs didn’t satisfy me, I kept doing one professional certification after another to find that one ‘thing’ that I’d finally enjoy doing.
It was due to this exploration that I landed in my current job as a financial analyst. While writing business articles, I finally found my answer. This. This is what I loved doing. I loved to write. Maybe, not necessarily write dry financial articles, but I loved to write stories and express my thoughts. And then it struck me. It might not entirely have been the fault of the educational system. Being raised by a single parent, I was mostly a loner. While books helped me cope with most of the challenges of my life, the brilliance of those beloved authors had sadly intimidated me into thinking that I’m not good enough to write. Writing is a magical power and I was just an ordinary muggle!
That’s the reason why it took me such a long time to finally come to terms with the fact that not only do I enjoy writing but this is after all, my life’s calling. Writing sets me free, only when I am writing do I feel truly happy, and besides reading, writing is the only thing that makes me come truly alive.
When I began to write small pieces on social media a couple of years back, a friend suggested why I didn’t consider writing more seriously. Maybe, she just pulled out my most well hidden thoughts from underneath layers of fear and shame, out into the open. Through her, the Universe seemed to have echoed what was going on in my mind. And hence, I started writing with more focus.
Recently, I quit my corporate job to focus on my passion more sincerely. After a decade long stint, I realized that my marriage with the corporate sector was never meant to last. I do not know what will happen further down the road. All I know is, I finally feel fulfilled. When I write, my life makes more sense than it ever did while I chased other things.
(This post was written as a part of the #DIYMFA Book Club hosted by the brilliant writing coach Gabriella Periera. You too can sign up for the for the event to share your stories and learn more about writing, here: ctt.ec/TMAbd+)