From Wealth To Penury And Back – This Is My True Story. Winning Entry By Sandi Saksena For The #GoodwynTea Writing Contest

They were rolling in riches, when a twist of fate made them paupers. She did not give up, but rose like the phoenix out of the ashes. #TeaBagStrength winning entry.

They were rolling in riches, when a twist of fate made them paupers. She did not give up, but rose like the phoenix out of the ashes. #GoodwynTea contest winning entry.

This month, we invited you, our readers, to participate in the writing contest sponsored by Goodwyn Tea. You had to write a story either fiction/real, in response to the cue: “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” A quote supposedly by Eleanor Roosevelt.

Here is the fourth winning entry, by Sandi Saksena. Sandi wins a gift hamper from Goodwyn Tea. For the taste of a perfect steep, visit and try out one of their high quality tea bag collections.

From Wealth to Penury and Back – this is my true story

I started my married life in Kuwait happy wife, happy mommy. My happiness and contentment grew to dizzying heights as my husband’s prospects improved by leaps and bounds when we moved to Bahrain. We were truly living not the good life but the amazing life. I have never seen so much money so many perks so much of everything. My husband and I come from middle class families that lived a good life on carefully planned budgets. At first we couldn’t even exhaust our furnishing and other allowances. It just seemed like way too much money! However soon the budget life style gave way to the splurge style and for 15 years it was easy street! People get used to anything in a year, 15 years this was THE LIFE It was could only get better.

My kids grew up in this it was the only life they had experienced. 5 star vacations first class travel the luxury living all the way.

I was snow white living in my dreams, in the passenger seat, my life on cruise control, oblivious, till we hit the worst financial road block, dead halt! Shaken from my slumber I expected the ‘driver’ my husband to fix it asap!

Dreams descended to nightmares as I set foot in Dubai. The supportive dutiful wife I never questioned the move to Dubai feeling secure in the knowledge that we would continue our journey onwards and upwards. The contract my husband fell through and with it our lives were thrown into turmoil.

Dreadfulness, Anger Frustration Confusion Resentment Misery type any of these into Thesaurus and it still will not be enough to express the feelings we were experiencing . What was most heart wrenching was what my kids underwent. They just could not understand what was happening their life was been wrenched apart, disintegrating at breakneck speed This lead to recalcitrant behavior in the extreme – rebellious, callous, obdurate!

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When one has been used to nothing else than luxury even a 20% drop feels awful and here we were in free fall no bottom in sight. No job, no money to cover rent and groceries school and college fees, we were down to borrowing from my family (my wonderful never questioning always supporting family).

Talk about relationships well those were crumbling and unraveling! Marital bliss was now marital misery. Family life was full of angst and I lived in fear of creditors and eviction notices. My husband looked for jobs, business deals, consultancy any and everything. He even compromised ready to accept junior positions.

Things came to a head when he collapsed at a meeting and was rushed to emergency and admitted to ICU. I reached the government hospital and broke down when I saw him lying in the male general ward still in his suit pant and shirt. This was a man who had had the top of the line medical insurance who had been treated only in the best hospitals no expenses spared and here he lay in a general ward because we had no money, no insurance.

I felt emotionally and psychologically shattered my sense of security, was crumbling making me feel helpless in a precarious world.

We all react in different ways to trauma from the physical to emotional reactions. My spouse was in guilt, shame, self-blame withdrawing from others. The kids and I all were in shock, denial and disbelief. Anger, irritability, mood swings became a constant state of being in the house. Seeing my kids being sucked into of hopeless, confusion, difficulty in concentrating at school and university exacerbated my anxieties and fears for my family.

On the other hand my spouse was feeling disconnected and numb. He was suffering from insomnia, racing heartbeats, fatigue. We could not have a civil conversation he was edgy and agitated and ready to snap back all the time

For the kids and I all this happened unexpectedly I was unprepared for it. And worse still I felt powerless to prevent it.

Or was I truly powerless to prevent it? Introspection would come later the need of the hour was for me to step up to the crease and bat for the innings of my family and me! I was going to get a job and contribute to our financial welfare.

So, equipped with the batting gear (smartly dressed self confident ready conquer the world) I stepped into the arena of the working world. Talk about being bowled? The run-up, bound coil release, follow through, I was blasted with all!

From ‘No experience are you for real?’ to ‘Lady at your age, seriously? You gotta have more than dress well, speak well!’ Dismissed by supercilious HR managers and having exhausted all my friendly connections my resolve, ego did take bowled out for zero, but then my tenacity and belief in myself was just too strong. I wasn’t going to surrender to circumstances and no one was going to dictate what I could and would do except me. Wasn’t going to allow myself to be bowled over again? Not in this lifetime.

I had been plunged in that boiling water of penury but was fast recovering from the scalding trauma. In retrospect all the was superfluous, the facades, the inauthenticity had been boiled away. I had stewed enough in self pity and my essence of me, myself strong, distilled, fluid ready to spread MY flavor My message Me, emerged.

While I was in hot waters the intensity of the heat increased my faith in the Almighty My Creator and I prayed with full faith never doubting that this too would pass. My prayer was ‘please just open a door for me to step in and I would do all in my power and will succeed’.

My prayers were answered in the form of an announcement in the classifieds (remember I was not ‘experienced’ or ‘qualified’ so I had stopped looking) but on that day in November 1996 my attention was drawn as the announcement was in a bold black border it read


I was so overwhelmed at this answer to my prayers I started crying – tears of gratitude, joy, relief. I went to the meeting with the attitude that job assignment was already mine I just had to show up and that is exactly what happened. I attended the seminar posed some questions to presenter. At the end of the presentation, I along with 7 out of the 65 who attended was asked to stay back and with NO interview I was offered the job of a financial planning consultant!!

The Universe has Unquestionable ways. So here’s Sandi Saksena just finding her way from the teapot of financial ruin into the cups of life of possibilities to use/share her true life mistakes, experiences to help other become financially secure- What Else is Possible How could it get any better than that.

I have and continue to spread my authentic, essence and flavor. Those whose lives I flavor with my work, my seminars, my writing my speaker engagements, TV, Radio are well on their paths to financial Security and Financial Independence. Emotionally Empowered!!

Financial independence allows a woman to follow her own dreams in life, have a higher level of self-respect, and attract more respect from others. A financially independent woman has personal safety in knowing that through her own abilities she can survive without depending on others. Priceless!

2016 My family bonds are stronger. We are financially well off. One difference this time around. I earn and am responsible for my continued financial independence. I am involved in financial decisions that effect family. I have assumed full responsibility for all legal papers like Wills etc.

Yes, the dunking in the hot waters of penury helped my find my true flavor. My Attitude and Abilities, Beliefs and Courage and Charisma Determination, Faith, Energy and above all LOVE surfaced and I continue on my amazing, brimming with possibilities journey of LIFE

Congratulations  from the Women’s Web team, Sandi Saksena. You win a gift hamper from Goodwyn Tea.

Image source: woman looking out of the window by Shutterstock.


About the Author

Sandi Saksena

A long time resident of the Gulf, Sandi has lived in Kuwait, Bahrain and now in Dubai for the last 45 years. A late entrant into the work force, with no previous work experience she read more...

2 Posts | 6,835 Views

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