What are you doing these days??? This is a question that is asked at least 5 when times I meet people. My answer these days usually is “Nothing” or “I take pictures…… The answer usually varies depending upon the person I am talking to. Some years back when this question was asked, I would launch onto a rhetoric monologue about the challenges of the industry to survive in the present economy…… to my current predicament of having no time at all or the current job market….. but these days my answer usually stuns people. Over a period of time I have realised that this question is usually an ice breaker to a conversation and people in general would rather speak about their professional lives. The other alternative is usually gossip or serials which is something I steer very clear of. I have been in the career rat race since a very long time. Having started working at the age of 16 and been working ever since, independent, self-reliant et al…….. somewhere down the line I realised that I didn’t have any life apart from the professional life. I was very ambitious and at that point I wanted to change the world and do awesome stuff.
But all I did was wake up in the morning do my regular household chores rush to take the train or drive myself to work, where I battled the traffic then the office politics and all the paraphernalia that came with it only to return home to do more work cooking and cleaning and then fall exhausted to sleep only to repeat all the things all over again. Holidays were dreaded!!! Because it meant a whole day of marathon cooking cleaning washing and more cooking cleaning washing. Well I was disillusioned. Being independent self-reliant was a joke because I was a slave to my job and the monotony my master. Don’t get me wrong I loved my work like any other person was even very good at it and also kinda loved cooking, but the monotony of the whole thing finally got to me. Striking a balance was unquestioned because I was miserable in what I did. I didn’t have time for anybody not even for myself, just an isolated sad self-pitying case…… I was just a nameless spoke in somebody elses well oiled machine.
So when I happened to break both my ankles at the same time and was confined to bed with my feet in the air I took another look at my life. I was standing on my own two feet one day and the next day I was literally off it. I didn’t like what I saw!!! I was another piece of a huge machine which was just that….. a piece of machine. I didn’t do anything besides being a very miniscule part of the machine. Also my health was suffering and when I saw my wardrobe I realised that all the clothes I possessed were stuff that I went to work in. So basically that meant that I didn’t have a life, I was unhealthy and I didn’t know where I was going and most important……. I was not happy. So I took the forced medical break and decided to make the most of it. I realised that I loved painting and took to it in a big way. My love for the camera which had been present ever since I first held my dad’s Agfa and my sister told me to stop my breath and press the shutter for that perfect shot became the highlight of my life. My love for plants and flowers. Experimenting with cooking and inventing and innovating in the kitchen. The biggest surprise that came to me from nowhere was that I loved teaching. It hit me hard because I always thought of myself as a hard-nosed corporate person. I belonged to a family of teachers but I always believed that I was the odd one out. This was a surprise that hit me hard.
I took to all of these with the same focus that I put in my job. The result was that I didn’t go back to work. I won’t say that I am the best photographer or the best painter or the best chef or best gardener or the best teacher…….. I am all of these and more and these are things that make me very happy. I wont lie about missing the Gandhi factor in my life which I got at the end of each month. But the compensations in comparison are far more immense…… my professional degrees are put more to use today than it has been when I was working full-time. My brain can think from angles I had never thought of before. I feel I don’t have any limitations and can do anything and everything. I find new things to do at every turn in life and I enjoy all of them and the perfectionist in me gets them done to the “T”. I have learnt to improvise and accept things and today I realise that I have much much more to achieve than I have till date. I have more time for my personal relations as compared to before. I have to acknowledge here that if it hadn’t been for hubby I wouldn’t have been able to do this. But since he is taking care of the monetary aspects of life I have the liberty to do stuff that I like. And I am very thankful to him for that. Today I am no longer a corporate person but I am so much more…… I am a better wife a better daughter a photographer a teacher a temperamental but still….. a painter, an ok cook, a gardener………. also a very happy person and much much more………