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Single women in the city, even in one considered as progressive as Mumbai, cannot chase their dreams freely; here’s an account of how trouble-making neighbours react.
As a child, I always dreamt of meeting Mr. Shah Rukh Khan. I wondered how the man is when he is free from all sorts of role-playing. Is he naturally that handsome and charismatic? Is he the same genius entertainer, who can compel listeners to actually understand and feel what he wants them to feel? Honestly, I have spent 28 years drawing inspiration from the King of Bollywood.
As I grew up, I narrowed down my goals, altered my ambitions and even took drastic decisions (always!), because I am a writer, and he is my Muse! I couldn’t help wondering what it feels like to actually stand in front of Mannat, and imagine him waving at me, the way he always sends love to his fans.
All it takes is the courage to snatch what you want from life. Last year, I left my home, my family, my circle, my University, and my city, with eight thousand rupees, in order to pursue my dream. Honestly, I had zero contacts in Mumbai, because I was struggling hard even in Kolkata.
All I knew was that I have to find work in Mumbai! I have to protect and sustain myself, without any help from a third person, singular noun. I was very clear about my intentions, from the first day I stepped into the city. Thanks to my childhood friend, and an active Vlogger, Poonam Mondal, who stood by my side and made my life easier.
After finding a decent apartment, in the same society as my friend, I invited my parents to stay a few days with me. Needless to say, they left within a week, because they had other serious issues to attend to in Kolkata. I took a job as a copywriter at Thane and traveled for six hours a day to secure my food and home rent. I took no help from my family because I wanted to do it myself.
I wanted to struggle in Mumbai. I wanted the actual experiences rather than the inspiring stories of successful people because personal experiences always teach us the best lessons of life, and it has definitely enriched my writing. The city accepted me with an open heart and I instantly fell in love with it.
Instead of using my personal contacts, or financial support from my parents, I worked hard day and night. I left my full-time job soon and started freelancing from home. I edited a Hollywood script and started writing for UK/US based entertainment portals, where I wrote about Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez; I wrote predictions for TV series, film reviews and earned in dollars and pounds. I know that I enjoyed a super cool life, watching Game of Thrones 24*7.
But that wasn’t why I came all the way to Mumbai. I have been following closely, every single job posting on the Bollywood Crew Call groups. I gathered enough money to leave Vasai for interviews at Andheri. When I went to my city during the Durga pujas, I was wearing a lively smile. I saved enough cash to pamper my mother, to show her that my friends and I actually have a good time in my city.
When I returned to Mumbai, I was completely broke again! I counted the coins while traveling to Vasai from Santa Cruz, in the Mumbai local train and accumulated 60 bucks – the rickshaw fare. For a few days, I felt lonely. I was missing the festive vibe of Kolkata. But, that was just for a few days. After that, I started pushing myself harder. Finally, after spending six months munching puffed rice and a cup of Bournvita (for lunch as well as dinner) I reached a decent position, through sheer hard work and dedication, where I can say that I exist. Even if I exist as a struggling, hardworking, middle-class woman, who chooses to be fashionably poor because I have ‘miles to go before I sleep’. I boast of myself as being fashionably poor because I have every possible comfort accessible at my fingertips. I chose this life deliberately, leaving behind the comfortable life because I have a dream. I am alive because I dream.
Two days back, as I was returning from my office at Andheri, to Vasai Road station in local train (where we literally hang like Indiana Jones!), I got a call from the owner of my present house, that the society manager had complained about me, because I bring random guys at my home; that I get drunk with them and mess around in the building.
The call immediately jolted me back to reality! Is this the futuristic India I dream about? Is this the decent society, where my father thought I was safe? Is this the same Mumbai that fuelled my dreams?
My owner told me, “Please make sure that there are no further complaints because it is the reputation of my apartment!” That was the moment I felt tremendously empowered. I told him, I won’t settle down unless they withdraw the false complaint and apologize to me. I can take this to another level because I am NOT a stereotypical little girl, who would be scared and accept false allegations.
Thankfully, I have recently started to work on a project, which talks about the women achievers of our country and I had to ask myself the simple question, “What does the term achiever mean to me?” For me, achievement is to seize an opportunity, despite the adverse situations and to create an opportunity for myself, and others. So, I decided to take charge of the situation. It made me realize one thing, if I am transparent and clear about my actions, none can defeat me. I decided, to fight not for myself only, but for the hundreds of young girls, who leave their homes to make their career in this amazing city!
I am a creative person, with a proactive mind. I take frequent trips to Kolkata, Pune, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, San Francisco, and New Jersey (in my mind!) I don’t need any man, to make me feel good. I love reading, writing, shooting, watching films, listening to music, singing and uploading them into our family group, and dancing by myself. I have been a classical singer, and a western dancer, who was once attached to Shiamak Davar’s Institute of Performing Arts.
I love to paint, to decorate my home, to come up with more creative ideas when I am not doing anything. I love to constantly update myself and enrich myself. Plus, I am a small scale entrepreneur, dealing with digital content.
I know what I am doing, and where I want to see myself after ten years. Am I wrong if I want to stay alone all my life and dedicate my life to art? I want my parents to feel proud, when another girl like me, wants to cover my story as the next woman achiever of India; and that will be my lifetime achievement award!
I believe in Karma Theory, and I believe that I am innocent of anything wrong with all my heart. If you are taking the regressive route, unfortunately, once I start speaking, you might start crying! So, I choose to pity you because I know where to use my superpowers and I have motherly instincts too!
I forgive these trouble-makers, but feel like saying, Do not mess with this generation or else, you will surely end up behind the bars for harassing an innocent girl mentally”.
Image via Unsplash
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