#30daysofgratitude: Starting Your Life Now

Day 28: *This is a post that I want to read to myself each day. As a reminder, that starting your life now is possible, but not easy. And I am inherently grateful to people whose inspiration I follow.*

My first boss after I came back from Scotland, was called Jaya ma’am. From my first job itself, we were trained to called bosses by their first names, because it was a large software company. They wanted us to be comfortable with their American clients and even made us wear western clothes on a certain day to make us presentable (So retarded). But anyway, I don’t want to digress. I could not have called Jaya ma’am anything else. Using her first name sounded too harsh. I respected her too much and she was almost mom’s batch. Using additions on names in India for me was a sign of respect*, and not necessarily the need to be a lala company.

Jaya ma’am shocked me every single day that I worked with her. Her stories were just completely out of the world. But the one that I really remember now is this. We were at an office party and someone was dancing really well. Just like I find it difficult to be on video (I am trying), I also found dancing hard (still do). So, I was really impressed and ran down to call Jaya ma’am and tell her ,”omg, so and so was dancing so well” and she had missed it. This didn’t really make her wistful. She simply said, “oh don’t worry, she would do it again.” There was no fear of missing out. As a young girl in my 20s at that time, this was a feat. My level of self-assuredness was not necessarily high, and I had always had the dreaded FOMO.

Later, she told me that she’d spent 8 years in a village to help people and work there. Instead of holding a plush corporate job, in time when others are usually career infested. Because, if she didn’t do it when she had the energy, when else could she help? She had to live her life as a testimonial to her passions and beliefs. At that time I was totally inspired. I could not believe that someone could give up their comfortable life and move to a village to help communities, because they felt so passionately about it. It was too Hazaar Khwahishein for me (and I hadn’t even seen the movie then).

Now many years later, when I am trying to break myself to do something that I actually had pushed on to retirement, I see how hard it is. I write each day and it feels like fleshing my soul out. It’s not easy. It’s a lonely profession and often I feel depressed. Then, I tell myself that if I don’t do it now, when else would I bring so much energy to it? I don’t want to wait till I retire to do something I feel strongly about. But I hadn’t realized how hard such decisions are, especially in years when you’re expected to merely add coins into an unending well.

In my darkest moments, I often think of Jaya ma’am. While I am not even close to being the community worker she is, but I feel happy that I am following my heart. I feel grateful that I know someone who has done this and changed the course of her life too. We’re not so much in touch now, but this note is like my feather feelings into the cosmic void. Perhaps she’ll find it and remember me as a 24 year old nut-case, who she had to coach and help at each step.

I hope that at the end of this phase of finding my true self, I’ll be able to define myself in my own terms, just like she does, consistently.

30 days of Gratitude Jaya Chittoor

*Like when you want to respect me, you can call me Kakroo san.

  1. Hi Upasana
    Loved your post ; Jaya mam’s story is inspiring
    your message really resonated with me – about not accepting anyone else’s definition of yourself
    keep up the good work

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