By Dr. Preeti Talwar:
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny,” wrote CS Lewis. I come from a middle class family of medicos who gave me a sound education and upbringing. Everybody felt I was suited for the medical field but somewhere down the line, I felt cadavers were not my cup of tea. I ventured into the field of research and dreamed of working in the premier research institutions of the country.
Armed with a doctoral degree, I thought soon I would be shattering the glass ceiling by making it big in this field. I managed to get a tenure bound UGC fellowship to do further research after my Ph.D. While working on this, I got hitched to a person whose job demanded extensive travelling. Pursuing a career after marriage and then motherhood became impossible, so I decided to call it quits and I became a SAHM (stay-at-home mother). I didn’t want to miss out on my children’s milestones.
I work hard 24 hrs a day! Yes, I loved my job. But this parenting was more or less single parenting, as my better half remained away for months together in remote areas of the country where communication was next to impossible. A trying time with no family support from either side as I lost my mom early in life. No one could fill that void. In-laws regarded me as a good for nothing with only a paper degree to my name.
Maintaining my sanity in a hostile environment was quite difficult. My life revolved around the kids. But mental torture and loneliness started taking its toll on my health and I was turning into a nervous wreck.
Sometimes, I rued my fate and shed copious tears. But they say ‘when you cry, you cry alone and when you laugh, the whole world laughs with you’, same was the case. Being morose and wallowing in self-pity made the once happy, vivacious person a loner. I drifted into an abyss of despair. Time passed and toddlers turned to teens. Now loneliness engulfed me as the kids became independent. I wanted to re-start my career. But it seemed the two decade sabbatical had lessened my chances to procure a job. The career market had flourished by leaps and bounds, technology had advanced and we were moving towards the digital age.
I felt lost in this new age but still decided to try and procure a job. Owing to the big gap in my CV, I wasn’t successful in my endeavor. But as Eleanor Roosevelt has said, “A woman is like a tea bag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
Rejection sucked me into a vortex of despair. But with my family support, I started coming out of this and wanted to prove my worth. I brought out my latent talent, writing, to the fore.
I managed to do a creative writing course and armed myself with the nuances of technology. During this low period, I read a lot of books – both fiction and self-help books which helped me tide through. I got published in national dailies, magazines and sites on the web, both national and global.
My career progressed and I procured a proofreading job in a reputed publishing house. During this period, while surfing the net looking for internship opportunities for my kids, I chanced upon Internshala, a platform providing internships to college students.
I registered on it and then forgot about it. In 2015, I got a notification regarding their women re-start programme, along with two success stories of women joining work after a break of say 8-10 years. I too yearned to become a success story. I started applying to various internships. I wanted to try my hand at content writing. After applying for several internships I was dejected as I got no response from any of them.
After a wait of nearly three months, one responded and they gave me a task, as the country was abuzz with the “Padmavat” controversy.
I was asked to pen down my views and they liked it and I procured my first internship with India Go Social. I was thrilled and then started my love affair with these internships. I managed to work for Oddsnspaces, Plant Writer, Story Mirror, Student Star, Imblogger, Multibhashi, Know Your Food, etc. I applied for content writing internship for an education start up but my credentials impressed them and they gave me the position of Education Advisor in the company.
During this period, I came across an only women’s platform SHEROES, where I started writing and I opened my heart out. Their CEO Sairee Chahal gave me a positive feedback on my posts, which helped me a lot.
Soon, the platform diversified and various communities for women growth came up – health, sex & relationships, women in data science, vegan first, among others. I benefited the most from aspiring witers community by participating in competitions and winning several accolades. SHEROES has a big hand in my overall growth as a writer.
SHEROES Challenges also give much food for thought, and bring about clarity of mind. I would advise more and more women to take up these challenges, and bring your passion to the fore. I won lots of books through these challenges. I feel books are one’s best friends when one hits rock bottom. I can swear by Norman Vincent Peal and Shiv Khera.
Today, I blog, curate content, work as an advisor and aspire to become a renowned author!
I would like to sign off with the message that we women undergo a lot in life which breaks us but it is only in our hands to manoeuvre our life in the right direction to live a good life. I went through mental torment due to the barbs thrown at me by my in-laws; I lost my self esteem with the result diagnosed with Hyperacidity, I.B.S and anxiety. The cure was popping tranquilizers to calm me and keep me away from depression. But taking those drugs harmed me and I became dopey and thin.
The once fun loving, vivacious girl lost the ability to laugh and looked like a scarecrow. But then it is said ‘God helps those who help themselves’ and once I took the decision to bounce back to my normal self, my doors opened, I started writing and these work from home internships and boosted my morale.
From a mental wreck, I became confident and my health improved. Internshala featured my success story, made me their women re-start ambassador which has helped me to see myself in a positive light. Now I don’t bother about barbs but only focus on my mental growth, it is better late than never. Ladies, don’t fall prey to depression, try to work on your strengths to lead a happy life.
Don’t be afraid to start over. It’s a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want.
Dr. Preeti Talwar is a SHEROES community member currently residing in Jabalpur.