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Being a ‘dependent visa wife’ can be challenging for women who want to follow their dreams. But, if you are driven, you can still find opportunities and make a mark.
Today, when I look back, I can remember Steve Job’s commencement speech that he gave at Stanford University.
I came to the USA as any other expat, with a lot of dreams and aspirations. Being a management graduate, I aspired to work in the Human Resources field. But, since I came here on a Dependent Visa, I wasn’t allowed to work until I got my work permit.
Initially, it didn’t affect me much as I was experiencing the life in the USA, adjusting to the other part of the world, exploring new places, meeting new people. That is what we all do when we go to a new place. Right?
I explored many places. A few of those visits put my writing dreams back into action. What could have been a better way for me to capture those experiences than to weave them in words and put them on a paper? I started with short travelogues. Since, it had been many years since I had written in Marathi (that’s my mother tongue), I wrote them both in Marathi and English.
For whom I was writing? Actually, nobody except my parents and in-laws. Yes, they were my only readers. Even though those write-ups weren’t that great, they had definitely given me a good pastime. I used to look forward to my next trips so that I can write about it. Obviously, I didn’t like to lose my few readers.
Later, when I stepped into Motherhood, I started to pen down my experiences as a new mom. Who knew those travelogues, mommy journals were God’s signal for me to start writing again? He had different plans for me.
Following my instincts and his clues, I wrote my first article for the Austin South Asian News Letter and it got accepted. The budding writer in me got some boost. I submitted a couple of more articles and luckily, they got appreciation from the readers.
At that time, I used to go to a non-profit group and I got a chance to give a 20 minutes presentation on Indian culture. An Indian girl going to talk about her country addressing a bunch of people coming from different corners of the world. Exciting isn’t it? How could I miss the opportunity to give my best? Not only did I get compliments for my saree but also for my script.
Summarizing India and its rich culture is just 20 minutes wasn’t a joke. This wasn’t the first time I gave a presentation, but it was my first one in the USA to an unknown crowd. “We loved it. The presentation and the script was so crisp and perfect. Are you a writer?”I still remember those words of the Director.
I was satisfied with my presentation but was more than happy with the compliment. A writer? Wow. They liked it this much?
If people are liking my writing, should I consider it seriously?Those were my thoughts at that moment.
Sometimes, your restriction(s) force you to look towards the other side of the road. Maybe that is your new path. But, before you move in a new direction, you must first let go of what’s not working for you. I would say the same happened with me.
My visa restrictions gave me a reason to look at the other side and I discovered writing. As I started exploring it, I started to like it even more. I had never looked at writing like this before. I wanted to dig deeper now.
I wanted to start my own platform where I could share my writing with the rest of the world. Sharing it with the world wasn’t as easy as it sounds. With very limited technical knowledge and a dream to connect with like-minded people, I stepped into blogging and started my website, ‘MothersGurukul’. And that’s when my journey as a blogger started.
Let me tell you something. I had a silly (you can call it silly, that is fine) desire. When anyone searches my name on the internet, something worthwhile should pop up, something that I should feel proud about. Me and my work should reflect in the ‘google search’. It sounds childish right?
Since I was enjoying it and wanted to learn more, all the knowledge that I was absorbing through YouTube and Google started to look interesting to me. As I never understood coding, maintaining a website was totally out of question. But, there was something that kept me going. Maybe a desire to appear in google searches? Just joking.
The amateur blogger in me was looking for new platforms. During this search, I filled the form for Times of India, NRI Contributor and submitted a few of my writing pieces as per the requirement.
After a long waiting period, one morning, there was an email from TOI. I could not believe my eyes. It was a big milestone for a budding writer to get acceptance from India’s prestigious newsletter. Finally, I submitted my first article for TOI and my dream of appearing in Google searches started to take its shape.
The blogging world is vast and not as easy as it looks to many. Maintaining those numbers and creating good, meaningful and interesting content is not a piece of a cake. If you want your cake to taste scrumptious then you have to use quality ingredients and bake it properly. In the same way, you have to write well if you want your reader’s attention. Frankly speaking, I never knew what those numbers or terms like SEO, DA, and MOZ Rank stood for, why people found it challenging, or why successful bloggers/ writers emphasize so much on content, until I started taking it seriously.
Today, when I understand all of this, I look for new challenges that force me to step out of my comfort zone and write something new each time. With this thought, I tried to step into a new genre and wrote my first book, A Girl In The New Town. If appearing in the Google searches was my first dream then writing a book was my second dream after I stepped into the blogging world.
I believe in the saying, “Your only limitation is the one you set up in your own mind”. I feel that if I had kept on thinking about my visa restrictions, then I would never have been able to see the brighter side. I know it does not sound very promising, but that is what I feel. I would not have started a blog, unfolded many new areas of blogging, tech tools, wouldn’t have made so many new connections. And above all writing a book and becoming a published author would have remained a dream for God knows how many years.
Always remember, “Positive anything is better than Negative nothing”- Elbert Hubbard.
Image Source: YouTube/Namesake
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I am a blogger at MothersGurukul, author of "A Girl In The New Town", freelance
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