A couple of days back, I met this ex-colleague of mine from Company D. An MBA as well, she represented everything that I aspired for: passion, courage, strength, patience. She quit her first (and hopefully last) job to start her own handicrafts store.
As she animatedly narrated her experience over the past year, the remote corners of India that she had visited, the different kinds of people she had met, the diverse experiences she had had, I realized the rollercoaster journey she was going through: the uncertainty, the financial tussle, the constant struggle to be taken seriously, the ground level reality in terms of budget, inventory, warehousing, distribution or marketing. It’s all very well to read about it in fancy textbooks or make jazzy powerpoints, but it was a different story altogether to implement it practically. I knew her as the young kid, who lived with her family, had no responsibilities and blew up her salary on booze, movies and parties on weekends.
Suddenly, a year later, I was re-introduced to a grown-up woman, who neither had the money nor the time to indulge in all the luxuries she was used to for 25 years, who was traveling to Naxaliite areas in Chhattisgarh or villages of Haryana to Tamil Nadu on shoe-string budgets, who was talking to artists and retailers, who was attending exhibitions, who was exploring shady lanes in Crawford Market just to get cheap corrugated rolls AND dragging them all the way home in the peak hour crowded local train. The best part was she was happy doing it, she had no regrets and she was doing it on her own, when most girls of her age were trying to race one another to the altar.
And what was I doing? I was stuck in the half a kilometer radius of Hiranandani, getting used to a cushy life and a make-believe world in the name of work. Did I envy her? May be a little bit. Did I wish I had the courage to follow my dreams? Of course. Did I admire her? Hell, yea.
No, I can’t be like her. I am too practical. I have to pay rent and survive by myself in Mumbai. I have known poverty and I have no intentions of going back, as romantic as it sounds. But I do have a passion, an aspiration and may be even SOME talent. I do want to be a writer sooner rather than later. I don’t know how or when, but at times like this, when I am completely offtrack, when I am temporarily blinded by comfort, money and social status, the inspiration comes from the most unexpected sources, telling me to wake up, forcing me to open my eyes, making me a dreamer.
But then again, I have dreamt too many times and I have been disillusioned too many times…
And do check out her collection at Arth Crafts