Coming from a small town, I always had high aspirations. I always dreamt of getting a higher education, settling in a big city, earning a good salary which will help me afford a lavish lifestyle. Being good in studies, my parents always motivated me to achieve my dreams and work towards having a brilliant career.
Initially, life went on as I had wished. There were small hurdles, but I overcame them with ease. I met a guy in college who shared the same aspirations as me. Together we hoped to sail through life and conquer our hardships together, no matter what. We completed our MBA, got married, had a cute little daughter and started leading a life that we had dreamt of. Both of us were successful in our own fields and were earning pretty well. We believed that there was no looking back. We believed in our love and our hard work.
But something somewhere went wrong…
Our daughter was only eight months old when my husband got a work opportunity abroad. He had always dreamt of working outside India and this was his golden chance. Though he was not willing to leave us alone and go I insisted that he follows his dream. I was not ready to move because our daughter was very young and I was excelling in my career in India. I didn’t want to leave everything behind and just take off. So, I stayed back knowing full well that my life could change any day.
Living without him was extremely hard. Though I had a house help and my parents were also with me, but managing a child and office, was becoming a herculean task. At the same time, my company began facing a financial crunch and tough times started. We started to face salary delays. I got totally frustrated and decided to quit and join my husband abroad.
After almost two years, our family was together. It took some time for both me and my daughter to settle down, but immediately after that, I started looking for jobs. My husband and I were confident that I would get a job soon, but to our surprise, it turned out to be a nightmare. Wherever I went for interviews, I was either offered a very low salary or a lower designation. I was rejected on the basis of the fact that I was new to Dubai and hence was not well versed with the laws over there. I longed to see my five figure salary in my account. I started regretting the decision of leaving my job and coming to Dubai. It was becoming difficult for me to be without a job, so I decided to move back to India.
My husband has always supported me in my decisions and this time also he did not force me to stay back. He had to stay put as he had a contract with his workplace. I came back and started applying for jobs again, but my career gap became a big issue. When the employers got to know that I stay alone with my daughter, they had questions such as ‘who will look after your daughter?’ ‘how will you manage?’ ‘how can we offer you a senior position since you had a career gap?’. I was shocked to hear such regressive questions. Does being a mother or having a career gap in any way hamper the productivity of a woman? I think not.
Being posed with such questions for the first time in my 12-year long career, I became very upset and my self-confidence also took a toll. Since my daughter was very young and my parents were facing some health issues, I tried to look for work from home jobs. I was confident that I would get one very easily, but that was not the case. I scanned the whole internet but I wasn’t offered a single job that matched my profile. With every passing day, my career gap was also increasing.
I started getting frustrated and depressed. I started scolding my daughter for no reason. Some times, I even felt like ending my life. But then, I realised that if I had decided to bring a child into this world, she was my responsibility.
Eventually, I deleted all my social media accounts, including LinkedIn. I couldn’t bear the idea of my colleagues thinking of me like a loser. I even stopped talking to my husband properly, sometimes just WhatsApp messages had to suffice. I knew that even his hands were tied.
It is only when my daughter started going to school and I started dropping her off and picking her up, that I started feeling a semblance of purpose in my life. At an event in her school, I discovered my love for writing. And then there was no looking back. I started writing about parenting because, in previous years of struggles, it was my daughter who kept me going.
My writing connected me to the virtual world of moms and I got to know that I wasn’t the only one, there are so many moms going through the same situation. Writing helped me come out of my depression. I was back on social media and started connecting with my friends again. I was happy that I finally had something useful to do with my time. My change in attitude also made my husband feel happy and relaxed.
And I didn’t stop at writing. Having visited a few fairs in Kolkata, I fell in love with the art of the place and decided to start a business selling tribal art from interior parts of West Bengal. My dad helped me get my business registered and although I have started small, I am working on taking it to a bigger scale.
Although I didn’t believe in destiny, I am grateful for this second chance at rediscovering myself and my passions.