I started my career with L&T InfoTech. When I joined L&T I had no idea about the kind of career I wanted to pursue. I did not know much about coding and did not have too much knowledge about the different kinds of software. But I had cracked the interview so I felt like: ‘Bas boss - kuch achieve kiya. MNC me job laga hai to ab my life is all set.’ I announced this everywhere. I put it up on my WhatsApp status, told people about it over phone calls and discussed it with every person that I met. No, I did not put it up on Facebook because back then I had not yet created my account on Facebook.
The staff at L&T took up the onus of moulding me. I was just a pile of slushy clay and within a span of 2 months, they had created a wonderful castle out of me. I was now known as a software testing engineer.
It was a profession jiske bare me maine kabhi kuch suna bhi nahee tha – sochna to kaafi door ki baat. Aur ab me ye bann bhi gayee.
After my training session got over this is what my dad told me when I was attending my first day of office: “Ye school ya college nahee hai. So don’t try to make friends here.” Cool!
I was interviewed again on the first day of my office. This time they were really testing me. I thought I was lucky to land a job here because I couldn’t even remember the answers that I had given them.
All I knew was that I was chosen to be a part of a team where I made good friends. I ended up finding my soul matetoo over here.
My boss in L&T was and still is one of the coolest people I have ever worked with. He was my boss during office hours, a teammate during lunch breaks and a friend and counsellor after office hours.
“Mayuresh – I really admire you a lot!”
I gained a lot through my stint at L&T. I found 2 lovely ladies - Adity and Priya - with whom I could talk shit – literally shit! I also met a technical genius with whom I could try crazy things. We would run and scream fearlessly on the streets, catch a running train….
”Vasu, life is fun with you.” Ab banda France jaake baitha hai. Bade log after all you know – but he deserves it!
I found my soul mate too. He was someone with whom I could connect to totally. I am saying this because I am a very unstable girl. Koi bhi cheez ho ya ladka - they can’t survive for more than 3 months in my life.
But this man made me go crazy. “Bhagyaraj – I really think I have become a better person after you entered my life. Yes – I know I am being selfish here too!”
So life was perfect. Or so I believed. Fir aaya twist.
I had always wanted to be a teacher and travelling ka naya naya chaska laga tha. I came across a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course.
Bachpan se hi I have been a very impulsive girl. Bina soche I got myself enrolled for the course and office me resignation daal diya.
Waahh….I did not tell anyone. Not even my dad about it. I had nothing in hand when I resigned – not even a vision to do something. Bas job chodni thi ab. Then I started searching for jobs in teaching on the basis of my TEFL course. Fir asli khel pata chala native and non-native English speakers ka.
You know what real racism is as soon as you decide to step out of your cocoon.
Indians are considered non-native speakers of English. So no foreign country gives you an English teacher’s job easily. I took this up as a challenge and also succeeded. I got a job as a volunteer in Ecuador, South America. Now it was time for me to tell my folks about it. I told them that I had already resigned and now had a new job as an English teacher so I wanted to go to Ecuador now.
I thought it was a very simple thing and my folks would accept it. But it wasn’t. There was a hell lot of a drama. All my relatives called up and my dad scolded/counselled me every day. But I had made up my mind. Mujhe to jaana hai, udna hai…achanak se Ranbir Kapoor from Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani aagaya tha mujhme.
Leaving L&T was never easy. But I convinced myself by saying, “Come on Anuja. Mat rukk. Go ahead. Big goals are waiting for you.” And I left. I was now in an unknown country amidst unknown people. Those 5 months were the best days of my life.
Within a few days of landing there, I was in tears.
I didn’t want to continue. I did not feel I was doing justice to my role as a teacher.
I was failing. I was unable to communicate let alone teach.
I called up my brother because I knew he was the only person who would stand by me even when I was wrong. I told him I was not happy there.
He told me, “You can’t run away from what you have chosen to do. You chose this for yourself. So now go chase it, conquer it and then come back.”
Ego bhi tha. Ekdam attitude me job chodke aagayi thi. Ab wapas jana nahe banta tha. So I learnt Spanish within a span of 2 months. Now I was able to understand and speak Spanish without any formal training.
Everything was going on well but often I would end up feeling lonely because I had no one to talk to and vent out my feelings to.
And then came the next twist in my story. My tourist visa expired and I had not yet got my work visa. So I called and met the employers of my organization but to no avail. Finally, a few fellow Indians and I went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We indulged in a little Indian melodrama and managed to get inside the office.
We discussed the matter briefly with an official. He handed me a sheet of paper. It was a formal letter which stated that my visa application had been suspended and that I was now staying illegally in their country. So I asked for a solution. Kaafi bhala aadmi tha woh. He scheduled a meeting with their Foreign Affairs minister for me. I met her and told her of our situation.
In a very kindly manner, she suggested that we leave their country because the laws were going to change in a week.
She said if I chose to stay there and leave after that I would have to pay a fine and I would be banned from entering their country for a year and this would be stamped on my passport. Ab maine socha karu to karu kya? Aage kya? India jaake ghar jake karu kya? Koi job nahee hai. Ghar walo se kya kahu? Wo baju wali sari auntiyon ka kaun sunega? I had a 100 different thoughts.
I don’t know what made me scrap all my plans of sticking it out here. I just decided to return to India. Aage ka aage dekh lenge.
So I booked my tickets and informed my dad that I was returning home. I had cracked one more job in these past five months. This job was in Bolivia and I would be working for Cambridge University with a very good salary. So I did have a backup plan with me.
I came home and sab kuch mast tha.
Then I told my dad that I wanted to go to Bolivia. Ab ye daal kuch daal nahe rahee thi. I got a straight “NO!” from him.
Somewhere this time I too did not have that strong a feeling that mujhe jana hai. Udna hai. Asman chuna hai. So I just gave it up.
When I left L&T I had this belief in me ki teaching karna hai. I thought this is what I had always wanted to do. I wanted to talk to people, have an impact on them and influence them.
But I was not consistent enough to follow it up or stick to my beliefs. I just gave it all up.
I not only gave up on my dream of becoming a teacher but I also lost faith in myself. My faith in my dreams and in my commitments had turned into an empty bin of emotions now.
I had proved myself wrong. I was not strong enough to walk on the path that I had chosen. I was not determined enough to chase my dreams.
So I now started searching for jobs in software testing again. I looked out for jobs for 3 whole months. These were the best and the worst days of my life. I got rejected everywhere. Kahe technicals me to kahe stability was an issue. Of course, I understood their rejection. After all who would trust someone who left L&T to go off somewhere and then return.
What was the guarantee that I would not leave their organization too?
I was mighty depressed at that time. This was when I decided to perform in open mic shows. Kab tak doosro ko dekh ke taaliyan bajau? So I got my first slot for an open mic show in February. I went alone and I underperformed at that time too. But the best part of that performance was that all my emotions came out of my heart. I felt better now. Then I started writing this with the sole intention of talking about my experience somewhere someday. I did get a few more opportunities to speak again. But though I had registered myself for the event I never went there.
I felt bad. I felt annoyed with myself because I knew I was restricting my inner self.
I am telling you almost everything about me here for a very valid reason. If you choose to do something just do it without having any second thoughts. Don’t look back or give up on your dreams. If you do have to give up on your dreams – have the courage to walk back on the path that you left behind and begin afresh.