The Push Beneath My Wings Came From My Mentor!

Imagine a lady who knew you for less than a year; encouraging you to make your mark, and gave your dream the time and care, that's my mentor!

The world is evolving and the need to be under the spotlight on social media is even bigger. So though it is a boon to know what is happening around you, apparently surfing through your Instagram pages may make you feel aimless.

And especially if you are a housewife and a mother to two, there is usually more on your plate than you can digest.

But with good friends who still care about you because they understand your potential, they can always be a blessing in disguise. Especially when they introduce you to someone they know can help you sail across your ship of talent.

Looking for my purpose

That is exactly what happened to me when I met Nilshree Damani Yelulkar. I met Nilshree through Shreya Abhinav Sharma, who owns a handmade jewellery brand. Shreya knew I was going through a series of hiccups at home and that I wanted to make a mark in the world of writing.

Initially, I was working as a feature writer in print and online media. I did try freelancing, but it did not fulfil my purpose as a writer.

Nilshree runs an e-magazine called Authoropod. And while I had called her up to ask if she had a job for a content writer, she did mention that there was no job but if I wished to contribute I could for various sections of her e-magazine. Once the magazine would gain monetization, I could then consider working for the same.

Now, I wasn’t exactly looking for a five-figure income, but something that would fulfil my basic needs. But from there on I actively got involved while Nilshree would guide me on where all I could contribute.

She and the other women with whom she had previously worked had planned on releasing the anthology, and asked me to be a part of the same.

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A collaboration with supportive women

I went ahead and wrote my heart out. The name of that book is Hear Me Out. Written by 11 of us, we addressed issues faced by women but were unable to express them openly.

I had written about how this lady was stuck in a loveless marriage yet when her husband made love it seemed like there was a spark to ignite their relationship. My story garnered positive reviews.

After that there was no looking back, I remember Kindle Pen to Publish 5 was announced and how Nilshree wanted me to be a part of it. She said even if I made it to the finalist list, it would make her the happiest.

She encouraged me to join the writing competition

That’s when my debut novel took place. Some of the rules for the contest had changed and when I was penning down my book, I would often nag Nilshree for a piece of advice or guidance, and she would help me wholeheartedly.

She even made the back cover of my book, insisting that my paperback should have my face as to let readers know me better. She walked me through the whole process of self-publishing which I didn’t know well.

Since she had been through the Tried and Tested days, I should have paid heed to what she had to tell me. Not only on the work front, but even on a personal level, Nilshree never failed to pep up my mood by having a girl talk. I was never alone.

She even tagged me in several writing contests and would send short videos on podcasts as well. I used to run a podcast but discontinued it due to some reasons.

A person who stepped up as a mentor!

Imagine a lady who just knew you for less than a year encouraging you to make your mark, and give your name that recognition. Because somewhere I knew that she too, being a wife and a mother to a 7-year-old, knew exactly what a married-non-working woman goes through while struggling to create her own identity.

And so she gave me the recognition I wanted by featuring me in her magazine and on her Authoropod podcast.

I am sure she doesn’t know this, but I have always observed her, her work and her dedication towards her family, especially her son. Whenever I see her reels and posts on Instagram, it does make me want to work harder to gain that sort of recognition because of the consistency she shows every morning she wakes up.

And I see that hunger in her, the need to be featured across every writing platform, and she has done it so gracefully with all that hard work.

Women should uplift other women!

It isn’t rare to see women uplifting other women. But there are times when you meet a friend who may encourage you but then leave you to fend for your own.

But I always had Nilshree and the other girls I met through the anthology, where we always had our backs for each other.

Yes, I would proudly say Nilshree has been like a mentor to me since the moment we met on the phone. We haven’t met physically otherwise I am sure we would have had the time of our lives talking about books, movies, writing and motherhood.

Don’t let the hunger die

Though I didn’t make it to the list of Pen to Publish, I actually got to release my first-ever paperback that I could hold in my hands. The feeling is out of this world. Trust me. And I also got to attend a couple of literature festivals where I was included in a panel of speakers.

That itself made a huge difference in my life. And even in those celebrations, I had Nilshree encouraging and cheering for me, being ever so proud of my journey.

Remember, your efforts are never wasted; you just need someone to see that fire in you. And then you are on the path to success. That is exactly what Nilshree did for me, and I am ever so thankful to her yes if she’s reading this, thank you for being there. A mentor does not only guide, but uplifts and never gives up on you.

Editor’s Note: For IWD 2023, we’re publishing #MentoringStories in both fiction and non-fiction, for the IWD2023 theme #EmbraceEquity. See all mentoring stories here.

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