“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Keonig.
Frankly, it took twenty years of my life to realize the above. Until that time, I was a usual child with all the dreams coupled with naivety, fears and anxiety. In spite of being brought up in a family that had wonderful parents and a supportive sibling I felt timid and diffident. Being a silent girl, all I wanted to do was to score well in the academics and sleep well in the weekends!
I had no exposure to competition and the real world as I studied in a local school till class ten. When I moved to a different school in class 11, I found a totally contrasting environment which I was not accustomed to and this didn’t help my scores either. But with some wonderful teachers helping me around, I managed to score well in my Board exams and opted to do Chartered Accountancy (CA) and decided do my graduation through correspondence.
My high score in the entrance test for CA put me on a different course. Everyone at home, including me, believed that I am destined to be a great Auditor! And then came the toughest phase of my life. With coaching classes beginning at sunrise, it was tough to be awake and attentive. In spite of my best efforts, I could cross the conundrum called Chartered Accountancy exams only half mark. By that time, my peers moved up which made me even more depressed. My Articleship intern was a short lived one. I could not stay beyond the first week. I started hating home, shouted at my family and cried in the nights. Slowly it dawned that I had chosen a course on the basis of what I’m likely to get from it than how interested I am in it. Perhaps my belief that Mondays should always be ‘Happy Mondays’ made me to realize that I wasn’t meant to be an Auditor after all!
This realization light entered into my life, purely by chance, when one of my friends, lent her camera briefly. That day, I could recall quite happily now, changed the course of my life. It was a ‘love at first sight’ and I fell in love with photography instantly. Soon I realized that it was the kind of love that gave me a soul, a reason to live, a happiness that can’t be explained and a meaning for my life. I felt a connect that I had never felt before – a connect that rang a bell, a connect that gave my life a purpose and a journey that helped me to find myself.
During this journey, through discovering photography, I also discovered my true self. When you love something with all your heart, you take all efforts to be sincere to the love. Be it a person, a piece of art, a job or a subject. Photography became the tool that gave me courage to think for myself, stand up against the world to prove my dreams and worth, be genuinely happy and most importantly accept people as they are. To accept people as they are, you first have to accept yourself the way you are and embrace the imperfections. In these two years, I won a couple of competitions, got shortlisted in a national level competition in photography and did a few assignments for people who were generous enough to take me as an intern and student photographer.
It now seems that photography was the elixir that I needed in my life. All the confidence I gathered in my photography session was quite evident in my academics as I could easily get through my admission process for my post-graduation in Media Management.
I truly believe that when you are grateful for what you have, you will be blessed with more reasons to be grateful for. A heart that is light and a mind that is peaceful – I am writing this because every girl in the Indian society undergoes all this – a lost career, a broken friendship and a judgmental society – but the good thing is that, you don’t have to care anymore because as much as the society is important, it is equally important to realize that you are important too. You are the ambitions that drive you, the goals that you set, the thoughts that you think and the spark that within you that compels you to make your life a meaningful one. Be unapologetically yourself and authentically you. In the process, you might feel like you are hurting a few people but they’ll understand. My parents were hurt and disappointed but when they saw me being so strong and confident in what I wanted, they started to believe in me and they supported. Start loving yourself and the world will love you.