I Will NOT Let My Dreams Be Silenced, I Will NOT Be Stopped!

Technical concepts came so naturally to those young workers. It was hard for me. I wanted to prove, not just to the world, but to myself, that I could do this.

I remember sitting in my small apartment in Bangalore. The city’s pulse seemingly in sync with my restless heart. The walls, a canvas of my children’s art, were a reminder of the life I had lovingly nurtured. Yet, there was a part of me, a voice, that had been silenced for too long. In fact, twenty years.

The sharp sting of my MIL’s words at our last family gathering still echoed in my mind, “Veena, isn’t it the time to think about settling, rather than unsettling your life?” she had said, when I talked about thinking about my passion for digital marketing jobs, the career I had before getting married. Her voice was laced with concern and conventional wisdom. “Focus on the festivity and taking care of guests instead of being preoccupied with your career thoughts at this moment. You are fifty already. Think of your children’s career, not yours.”

Was I to be only a wife, daughter in law, and mother?

Other elderly ladies supported my MIL with silent nods and quiet whispers. The echoes of their words intertwined with my own self-doubt. But in those silent hours, a resolve was born — a resolve to reclaim my life, my identity. That night, as I lay in bed, a turmoil of emotions churned within me. There was the realization of my own unfulfilled aspirations. It was then that I made a silent vow to myself – a vow to rediscover who I was, beyond the roles I had so diligently played— of a wife, a daughter-in-law and a mother.

Next morning didn’t give me solace. I stood in my balcony and gazed at the bustling Bangalore cityscape holding my tea cup which had cooled down long back. My eyes drifted to my modest living room. The digital marketing books lay sprawled open inside the cupboard.. Their pages and notes scribbled on them were the signs that once they were mine and I excelled at my job once. But my life followed a script that was all too common. Marriage right after college, I had devoted my years to raising my children and managing household. My dream of a career and financial independence had been shelved, gathering dust in some forgotten corner of my heart. But the flame of ambition never died.

I needed to be more than that

Suddenly something hit me. Something many Indian women could relate to — the quest to be financially independent after a long hiatus.

“It’s now or never,” I murmured.

I left the cold tea on the ledge of the balcony and rushed to my laptop. I searched up a few online courses and found one. The moment I decided to enroll in a digital marketing course despite the skepticism from my husband and mother-in-law marked a significant turning point in my life. I enrolled in the Advanced Refresher Digital Marketing Course from Coursera. My heart was pounding with a mixture of fear and excitement. After filling up the forms online and completing all the formalities, it was time to pay the required fee.

One last time. I promised myself swallowing the guilt, which I had done for the last twenty-five years.

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I asked Ravish for his credit card number to pay the fee.

“You are too old for this!”

My decision was met with skepticism.

“Why bother at this age?” Ravish said, throwing a patronizing look at me. His words were laced with the weight of traditional expectations. Certainly he sounded doubtful.

“It’s a young person’s game,” He cautioned. “The world has moved very fast and has left you far behind you from where you left. Old technologies that you learned are outdated now. Companies prefer young, flexible scheduled people, not oldies. Ab budhape me baccha-party ke saath kaam karna hai kya?

His words were hurtful, but couldn’t deter me. I attended classes with people half my age, grappling with concepts that were alien to me. The class was in fact filled with bright-eyed twenty-somethings. Their ease with technology, their jargon-laden conversation made me feel adrift. But I tried to recall the thrill of my first successful social media campaign. My heart raced. It gave me the boost I needed.

My teenage daughters were my cheerleaders

“It’s like learning a new language,” I joked to my teenage daughters. They supported me and became my cheerleaders. Balancing home, studies, and part-time jobs wasn’t easy. I faced numerous moments of overwhelming frustrations from home and outside both. But there’s one thing, as you grow older the negative remarks affect you less and less every day, because you become mature enough to not let yourself be affected by the negativity of the world around you. You have no desire to impress someone else, but only yourself and that motivation works wonders. There were times when I felt like giving up. But then I would look at my daughters, and a surge of determination would wash over me.

“I will not be stopped,” I affirmed.

My hard work paid off, when soon I landed an internship at a startup before the course completion. The environment was dynamic, demanding and at times, unforgiving. I frequently found myself battling imposter syndrome, questioning my place among the young tech-savvy crowd. Technical concepts came so naturally to those young workers. It was hard for me. I wanted to prove, not just to the world, but to myself, that I could do this. My internship at this startup was my battle ground. Re-entering the workforce at a later age, particularly in a field that evolves rapidly like digital marketing was challenging. The open-plan office, a hub of youthful energy and relentless pace, was both intimidating and exhilarating.  Sometimes it felt like an outsider but I kept going.

And when I came up with an innovative idea…

My first project involved developing a digital marketing strategy for an eco-friendly fashion brand that primarily catered to the youth — a task that required me to merge creativity with technical skill. The brand’s products were vibrant — organic cotton t-shirts with traditional block prints, bamboo fiber dresses with contemporary cuts, and hand woven scarves that blended modern designs with classic weaves.

Yet something was missing.

During a brainstorming session, as ideas bounced around the room, I found myself hesitating before finally speaking up, “What if we broaden our horizon? What if our campaign targets not just the youth but also their parents? Imagine a mother and daughter duo wearing matching block print kurta, or a father and son in eco-friendly bandhgalas with a modern twist.”

The room fell silent, and then suddenly, voices of support and excitement filled the space. My idea was not just about selling clothes and fashion products; it was about connecting generations, about sustainability that transcended age.

“Technology is not everything, some things come from experience and wisdom,” The company’s young CEO said. “We have that in Veena.”

A feeling of accomplishment

The days that followed were a blur of activity. We worked on creating a line that appealed to all ages – elegant sarees with digital prints for the mothers, chic kurtis for the daughters, smart Nehru jackets for the fathers, and cool, casual shirts for the sons. We were creating more than just fashion; we were weaving stories, bridging gaps.

The day we launched the campaign, my heart was a tumult of emotions. Success was not immediate, but as the campaign gained traction, so did my sense of accomplishment. The brand saw an unprecedented engagement from a wider demographic, and my approach was lauded for its ingenuity and inclusivity.

I watched as our vision came to life, as people from different generations shared their stories wearing our creations. The response was overwhelming. Our campaign didn’t just increase sales; it started conversations, it celebrated diversity.

That evening, standing on my balcony, looking out at the city I witnessed my transformation. I felt a sense of fulfillment. This journey had been more than just professional growth; it was a reclamation of my identity, a proof of my resilience. At this point being financially independent was not even in my mind. I had already crossed that threshold. The best thing was that I broke free from the chains of doubts and societal norms.

My story is a reminder to every woman who finds herself at a crossroads, to every voice that has been suppressed under the weight of family and societal expectations – it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and never too late to rediscover yourself. As I look at the stars tonight, I smile, knowing that my journey, my voice, is now a part of the city’s endless symphony.

“I will not be stopped,” I whispered to the night, my heart unburdened, my spirit free.

Image source: YouTube/ short film Sabhyata

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About the Author

Sharda Mishra

I am a photographer and an avid reader. I am not a writer but I like to give words to my emotions. I love to cook and hike. I believe in humor and its impact read more...

25 Posts | 30,513 Views

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