From here to there
|Source: New Anthem Community Church|
Being born in a country where careers are decided even before names, I gather a lot of funny reactions when I say I quit my job as an investment banker to become an author. Some laugh assuming that I am joking, while some pooh-pooh it thinking I am from one of those banker-turned-authors bandwagons who is dreaming of making millions and soon will be back to work once I see how not-so-easy it is. Rarely do I find someone who really is keen on knowing my story. To begin with let me clarify I didn’t quit my job to pursue writing. There, that statement sounds so pompous but it isn’t. It reeks of fear if you observe closely and I will tell you why.
I belong to an average upper middle class family where most of the members belong to two groups – the engineers or the wannabe-engineers. You might have guessed by now I was the black sheep of the family who since day one was never inclined towards anything remotely close to engineering. I always aspired to be different, well to put it in my father’s words Radically Different. A sneak peek into my possible career choices and you will nod in agreement: At 13 I wanted to join Shiamak Davar’s troupe, at 15 I wanted to be a poet, at 17 I wanted to be a TV host, at 19 a multimedia designer and at 21 a jewellery designer. As you might have guessed by now, nothing out of the above every happened due to the only reason the maximum dreams die in our country, “Char log kya kahenge!” I pursued commerce, did my masters in Strategic Financial Control and began working in the Financial Services sector. It was there somewhere I realized my love for client servicing and began to follow it. I had given into the vicious demands of life and forced myself to love my job for I saw no other way of pleasing my family. You can say I had succeeded to quite an extent as I have a range of trophies and certificates that read Outstanding Customer Service and Appreciation Award.
Few years ago I was in the centre of a professional storm where I felt my current education and location were now becoming a hindrance in where I saw myself to be. Yes, I had finally given in to the rat race and was busy chasing one goal after another to fulfill a dream that was no longer mine but felt much closer than any of my dreams ever felt. It was a very random email I had sent to my team which sparked the fire of writing in me. My super boss noticed something in that email to which he replied saying “Your words have immense power. Keep writing!” One thing led to another and very soon I was writing articles for the in-house magazine which soon catapulted into something as large as my own blog. The journey that looked so enticing standing there at the starting point was actually demanding in reality. I had a job which needed 8-10 hours a day and if I wanted to pursue this I had to work double shifts.
Initially it was challenging but gradually the joy that I experienced every time I wrote a few words replaced any fatigue that I ever experienced. Very soon I was busy juggling two careers – one full time and one part time making me feel so contended after a long time. From I can write only non-fiction and self help to writing poems, from I can never write fiction to penning love stories the journey has been tremendous. I learnt so much through my blog, which perhaps no degree could have ensured. I made some amazing friends, polished my writing skills through their feedback and improvised on my stories.
Never had I thought in those long nights when I worked on honing my writing skills that someday I would have to make a choice between this and that. Till one day when I was diagnosed with an auto-immuno disease in an aggravated stage. As I sat in the hospital corridor staring at my reports, I could hear His voice through those numbers telling me, “Go... Live your dreams.” And that is the moment I felt what better way to recuperate than to dedicate it to doing what I love the most – writing! It was a forced sabbatical undoubtedly but it has come to become a phase that I am loving the most, one that is making me actually reconsider if I ever want to be back into that rat race again.
Like it is said, “There is enough on this earth for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.” We at Investment banking always chuckled how none of the Richie Richs want to say enough. This is enough for me and now I want to follow my heart’s true calling for by then they have forgotten their heart’s true calling. Maybe that was the moment when I said “Enough!” During my decade long career as an investment banker every time someone asked me what you do, I would say proudly, I am an investment banker but in my heart I would yearn to share with them about my writing, my blog and those love stories I keep capturing there. Perhaps a conversation with them could also take the form of a post. But I could never do that.
Today when someone asks me what I do, I proudly say I am a writer and the moment they ask on what do you write I smile and say LIFE!