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It's only been a year or so since I realized how important it is to discover our own capabilities and to know for ourselves what we ultimately want to do in life. I have either pursued what I loved or loved what I pursued so far in my life. I will be 40 next year and was not quite so happy with my contribution to the society, till recently. A jolt in what I was doing made me turn into something more satisfying and that's how I took up writing as a profession seriously. Since I was taking up writing assignments for over 2 years on and off I knew that it was quite gratifying and wanted to pursue it seriously. For me, writing is a way to let my feelings and emotions out, whether I publish them or not! So let me take you through my journey which I hope inspires some others too to take up something that you love doing rather than end up doing something for some other sake!
More than often, people work for money or for passion; though very few fall into the latter group! For me, I started working as a teacher, or rather computer instructor at a small institute in Kochi 2 days after my graduation results were out. It was an important milestone as I was a commerce graduate out of little choice and pursued computer education part time along with my graduation. Coming from a small town in Kerala, a career in computers was something looked upon with much fascination. That too after a commerce graduation!!! But I knew that IT was where I wanted to be and pursued it with great passion. After my degree exams, I pursued an advanced course in Computers at a renowned training center in the city. It was a 6 month's course and I completed it 2 days before I received my degree mark list. The very next day I attended 2 interviews, one which I was not too keen and the other where I joined.
I have always loved teaching and used to help out my friends with their studies till then. I knew I could teach. Here teaching became quite challenging as I was teaching people who are total strangers! My youngest student was 6 and the eldest one was 70! Except for the vacation classes, I was mostly teaching people elder than me and the respect they gave made me proud. But then, I wanted to be a Software Developer since I loved problem solving. The only problem I was solving while teaching was my own, as every day I had to prepare the portions and teach!
I quit this job after 3 months, but only after making great friends with whom I am still very much in contact. I went to Bangalore in search of a job and as my cousin suggested joined coaching for AS/400. This was the Y2K time and everyone who knew a little computer would get a job, except me! I have attended umpteen interviews and completed the course but everywhere my graduation came across as the biggest hurdle. I felt bad but I never wanted to become an engineer, to become a Software developer. After a break of 4 to 5 months, I joined another institute in Bangalore where I worked part time and managed to get a client for whom I started developing software. This was a time when mobiles and digital cameras had not yet entered the Indian market and hence photo studios were a big thing, especially in Bangalore. My client ran a chain of studios and was quite helpful getting me all the details required. I roped in another girl who was a MCA and was in Bangalore looking for a job. I did the database design and basic software design and got the prototype approved by this time. So her job was to code certain modules while I managed the project and did the rest of the coding. Somehow things did not work out during the installation at client's site and we had to dump it, though I recovered my investment. I had hired a computer for the project!
I realized that Bangalore had too many engineers and MCAs who were unemployed and I would never get a chance in a good company beating them. So I decided to return home after almost a year. The 3rd day of reaching home, I got another job as a trainer in a better institute in the city and I was back to teaching. This time the subjects were new as e-commerce and HTMLs were already in! In another 4 months, I joined a prestigious software company in the city and I was a happy soul. I was happier when I joined a young and energetic team of 15 engineers for a project where there was a lot to learn and teach. We had teaching sessions while the projects were before schedule and within 3 years I was leading a team of 12 for an in-house project. That's exactly when I got pregnant and because of some basic issues, I had to take a long leave! I completed the project from home as the team was extremely cooperative. They would send me the daily reports and I had full access to their work in progress through the internet. I eventually quit the job since I wanted to spend more time with my baby and thought I will get back into the field after my son starts schooling.
Within a year, I got an offer from another company though I was not looking for a job. It was quite tempting to join the workforce again. Particularly because I loved what I was doing and missed it badly! It was in 2007 and there were hardly any opportunities to work from home! I turned down that offer since they wanted me to be in office twice a week from 5 to 10 pm to interact with the clients. The office was a good 12 km from my house and traveling alone at 10 pm back home was not advisable. I came across a friend who was doing English assignments and she told that she was looking for some help. I jumped in as I wanted to try writing. I used to do all the writing parts of the projects I was involved in which made the team's work easy. It clicked after a couple of assignments and we started collaborating for another 6 to 8 months.
In another 2 years' time, we decided to get into retail and though I was never keen on a business, along with my husband I too got involved totally in it. That's when I decided to love what I did rather than complain. I managed things somehow for 8 years, but then, somewhere down in my mind, I always found myself a misfit there! A couple of years back I decided to get back into writing and seriously started looking out for opportunities to work from home, though I worked from my retail store! I got an opportunity again and this time we collaborated for almost a year after which I had to quit so that I could keep track of the business.
Last year, I finally decided to quit from the business front and concentrate on writing. The more I kept myself away from the scene, I realized that this was a passion I would love to pursue. I still had 2 options left - get back into software or writing. I felt the passion equally for both but then, I did not want to leave my kid, who's 11 now, alone and go to work! That's when I decided on writing.
I have been writing for the last 1 year full time. Literally so because I get so many writing projects as a freelancer, I rarely get time to write for myself. But still, I love writing, whatever I write. There's a lot I get to learn. There's a lot I get to express. I am involved with a couple of forums where I share my experiences and imbibe positivity in them to keep looking for opportunities. Till now, except for once, no one has helped me or push me into getting a job! I always believe that you have to look for yourself rather than wait for someone to help. I have stayed jobless for hardly 2 years in my life so far. I do not regret that as I consciously wanted to spend that time with my baby and have enjoyed every moment for those 2 years.
The best part so far in my life has been the moment I decided to pursue what I have always wanted to do. I had to let go of a few comforts for that but I am proud that I am a freelancer by choice and aspire to be a writer. After many years of resistance, my family too has realized that this is what I wanted to be and they accept my decisions now. It is important to keep asking ourselves what we want to do in our life. Through my writings, I am trying to let people know that with constant effort and determination nothing is impossible to achieve. I know that even now if I decide to become a software developer, within a year I will do that. All I need is to get trained in the latest technologies. I have never let that fire in me to die. It still burns and I have only kept it aside to pursue something I am more passionate about.
Now I am taking the time to write for myself. I am writing for many sites including mycity4kids and Bindi Bottoms. I also have my own personal blog which I started recently. Believe in yourself, be confident, know what you want to do and pursue your passion. That’s the success mantra for a happy life!