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My journey through the years, from dreams to jobs and everything in between.
“Work while they’re fighting,
Learn while they’re critiquing,
Party while they’re sleeping,
Live like they’re dreaming!”
Basically since childhood I have always followed this with all my heart and mind. Staunch believer of ‘living life king size’, I have always aimed for striving and achieving the best possible with the merit and talent I possess along with the urge to keep growing better every day. But I have been very practical in setting goals and dreams. ‘Jack of all trades but master of none’ is something that has at times deterred me from pursuing multiple passions. But I feel so happy and proud not to have given in to my hesitation.
I feel from personal experience that childhood dreams are not always realistic and things change with passage of time. It is not always bad to change course of life for better results. Blindly following something you have set your eyes on early in life despite having lost interest in it gradually just for the sake of living upto your once ‘dream’ and others’ expectations is not a smart thing. My life has been extremely dynamic. In a nutshell, my story till date ranges from an ardent Biology lover in school to a Computer Engineer turned Corporate HR professional.
Pretty interesting turn of life events, isn’t it? Well, as I write this, I go back revisiting different stages of my life and I sure hope this would be relatable to a lot of students, teenagers and young adults. In school, I was a pretty bright student in academics and a high scorer in all subjects. Typically perceived as a nerd, I took up Science stream in high school and fared well. Noticing my love for Biology and hoping for a ‘Family doctor’, my family encouraged me to pursue Medical Sciences. However, I liked other subjects including Mathematics and Computers pretty much too. This was a major turning point in my life when I realized that it is not necessary what you like today will keep you going all life. I liked to study Bio Sciences pretty much but taking it up as a career needed reconsideration. It is very important to understand the difference between passion and profession. The very thought of additional responsibilities as a Medical practitioner weighed me down – I realized I was meant for something else. In life at many points, you need to make rational decisions keeping the bigger picture in mind. I had not lost interest in my favorite subject or lacked confidence, I was simply not up for that kind of life. It is better to choose a career you’ll be happy with. A science graduate has not much choice you see – I took up Engineering in a reputed Government College.
The next four years were an eye opener for me and the most glorious time of my life. This was the time when I discovered my analytical bent of mind and an unaware creative side. From a so-called ‘geek’, I evolved into a mature young woman with zeal and passion. Back in school I had quit Bharatanatyam dance classes (after training for ten years) and declined all office bearing positions as it required time and effort, all of which I preferred to focus on academics solely. Here I learnt to open up with people and interact with strangers and acquaintances in a tone as per the situation. I became friendly and explored my two dearest hobbies – writing and dancing extensively. I became part of several cultural clubs in college, lead teams in organizing festivals and events, took part in innumerable intra and inter college competitions and served as a Placement Committee member, the Wall Magazine Editor and the Cultural Secretary. Together with that, I started blogging for several esteemed online communities and pages including The Writer’s Nest, My Trending Stories and Kolkata Bloggers. I started taking interest in social causes and joined CRY-Child Rights and You, and United Nations Volunteers, and Careers360 as a student counselor to contribute my bit. My school and college life was so different, it felt like I had just started living the way I wanted to. So much happened so quickly – I think I has always needed this room to just grow. Although I did like the Engineering course but given my dynamic nature, I started introspecting and considering other career options. These college years gave wings to my dreams and I realized I was quite good at multi-tasking with expertise! I did have a way with words and people and with panache. I was too young to opt for a coding job and wanted to continue higher education after B.Tech. Guided by a professor who identified my true potential and showed me my actual interest, I decided to pursue MBA in Human Resources.
Then began the next beautiful chapter of my life as a Business Graduate. I cleared CAT entrance exam and got admitted to a premiere B-school, XIMB. These two lightning fast years were so eventful both on personal and professional front. The typical boring, monotonous MBA student life turned out to be surprisingly fun and happening for me. I was happy to have made another right choice again – I knew I was in a place I wanted to be. I had always dreamt of such a life which will keep me hustling between activities. I probably enjoyed it thoroughly because I had a flair of dealing with many things at a time. While I heard others cribbing about placements and complaining about classes and exams, I had the time of my life toggling between classes, exams, quizzes, live projects, assignments, research surveys, events, competitions, clubs, committees, walks, night life, case studies, parties, outings, trips, group discussions, leadership talks, corporate gatherings, internships, interviews and placements. From participating and winning National level B-school and Corporate competitions organized by top notch brands to leading multiple committees to being a member of the Alumni outreach group, National level SPICMACAY, state level literary societies, I leveraged every opportunity to grow and build network. Short stints of live projects with several companies as an HR and digital marketing intern as well the major Summer Internship with Wipro gave me a lot of hands on learning. I worked on real time business projects to devise implementable solutions that fetched me awards from Business Standard and a live podcast broadcasted to all associates of Wipro.
Next comes my current role as an HR professional in the reputed IT firm, Cognizant. I am part of the Central Corporate ‘Centre of Excellence’ – Compensation & Benefits. Honed with networking and communication skills, I along with the team handle policies and wellness benefits of the entire India headcount of over two lacs. It has been a year and I now feel I had always wanted this role and it perfectly suits me. Along with that, I keep nurturing my passion for dance by learning new styles and choreographies through online media on weekends. Lately, I have also taken to bringing out my inner voice on several social customs to spread awareness by publishing articles on my blog ‘Masqueraded Insurgence’ (the name says a lot!) and ‘The Women’s Web’ – a platform connecting women leaders and writers worldwide. This constant outlook for opportunities and quest for growth and excellence keeps me alive.
But despite everything, I can’t stress the importance of focus on studies in an academic course enough. Traversing through various phases of my life, I did what I loved according to the situation and that’s my biggest achievement. I balanced academics, professional and personal interests perfectly and this is what needs to be mastered foremost to fare well. For me, passion and profession have always been two different things – many won’t agree. Everything in life is based on personal experience and upbringing. Not everything works for everyone. Discovering your ‘right’ at the ‘right time’ will only take you places. However, I love my personal and professional life equally well and trust me, it’s not unbelievable. Commitment towards both is important but very different – In your profession, you are answerable to multiple stakeholders who are impacted by your deliverables and since it is a mutual association, you owe another party. Your passion will keep you going without any external dependency, does more of an internal healing and impacts your personal well-being by making you happy, which is equally essential in order to keep up everything else. My education and development throughout life till date has been holistic. All our thoughts are shaped by duality but many a times, there is a third dimension we overlook, this our biggest fallacy we need to overcome and look at life afresh – Everything may not happen categorically for good, or bad. But it happens for a reason that may be good, or bad, or neither!
Bold but Soothing.
Blunt but Comforting.
Adding life to years!
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Some time ago, Imtiaz Ali and Hansal Mehta respectively spoke of biopics of Madhubala and Meena Kumari. But do these biopics do justice to these women?
I recently came across a Reddit thread that discussed the fact that filmmaker Imtiaz Ali had announced making a biopic of Madhubala, and I wanted to explore this a little.
Of late, biopics based on the lives of beautiful but fatefully tragic women such as Lady Diana and Marilyn Monroe have created waves. Closer at home, we hear about the possibilities of biopics being made on the lives of Meena Kumari and Madhubala as well. These were hugely famous, stunningly beautiful women who were the heartthrobs of millions; who died tragically young.
I am glad that the Orange Flower Awards seek self-nomination. High achieving women often suffer from self-doubt, and this is a good way to remind us that we are good enough.
A few days ago, I saw an Instagram post announcing the Orange Flower Awards which recognise the power of women’s voices. I read about it with curiosity, but didn’t give it a second thought.
I received an e mail from Women’s Web seeking self-nominations for the Orange Flower Awards, and I ignored it. Yes, I write occasionally, but I didn’t think my work was good enough for me to nominate myself in any of the categories.
A past winner especially tagged me and asked me to look at nominating myself, and I told her that I was not ready yet. “That is up to you”, she said, “but I think you should nominate yourself.”
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