It is quite a task to get up and grab with both your hands that elusive ‘happiness’, we are always in pursuit of or is it? I will not preach what I haven’t practiced.
And to tell you the truth, ‘The Secret’ of living the dream is in fact open knowledge, lying right before our eyes. Life whispers a thousand ways of reaching your dreams, into your ears but only if you are listening attentively enough will you know. This lesson came to me from my dear mother first and only after losing her to acute renal failure did I realise the importance of being all ears to her. I’d lost the only real friend, philosopher and guide I had, forever!
My mother’s ambition runs in my veins. Even in that era of the 70s’ when there were hardly any ladies vying for a career, she was a young entrepreneur who had launched her self-funded quarterly fashion magazine in South- Mumbai called ‘Sapphire’ and managed to successfully run it for a year until she got married. Prior to which she hosted radio programmes on national frequencies in two or three regional languages. Taking a cue from her life, I realised wallowing in self pity will not do. My parents and I were like three legs in a tripod and with a missing leg, my life was sorely limping. Memories of the anecdotes my mother used to narrate to me from her own life experiences became my rule book, whispering lessons into my ears, time and again. I knew that she wouldn’t like me to give into a life of the ordinary.
I gathered myself and began putting my life together. Being a final year drop-out due to my mother’s serial hospitalisation the past whole year, the first thing that came to my mind was to appear for the exams and complete my degree course. Also having shifted home from Mumbai to Pune, for my mother’s sake, it was literally a new life unfolding before me. It took great courage and patience to venture out on my own and befriend the city and her people. God was undoubtedly by my side as I passed with flying colours, secured a degree in Commercial Arts and felt ready to take on a career in the Advertising Industry. My mother and I had seen a dream of a bright future for me. I could still hear her say, “Munna you are a star!”
Rising from the dust to making some stardust, the journey wasn’t easy. I wielded the best tool God had given me. I wrote up a storm, cutting out a career for myself in Advertising as an English Copywriter. Within a couple of years experience in 2006 I was being hired on retainership by multiple leading Ad’ agencies of Pune. I was even recommended to the Editor of the Times of India. And I was soon drawn into exploring my penchant for feature journalism. My feature articles for their supplements and Femina were widely appreciated.
I have always been experimenting with my areas of expertise and dabbling in various career options. I have conceptualized and designed the interiors for niche Lounges in resorts at Goa. I owned and successfully ran an Art Gallery & Art Curatorial Services in Pune until I went on a maternity sabbatical in 2009. While I was busy discovering the joys of motherhood and living the life I always dreamt of, an intense urge to reclaim my self-worth took over me. Call me a workaholic or a restless soul, like my father does. Call me a freak, I was desperate to resurface and that is what I did. One day a writer friend of mine, invited me to read her blog and that laid a germ of an idea in my mind. I began typing away between nappy changes and my sonny’s meal times. Posting at my own leisure in the middle of the night while rocking my baby in my lap. There was a night when I looked up at the full moon and sent up another prayer. And like the Universe had heard me, this avid and popular blogger become a published author in 2011 with my first collection of short stories Titled ‘Not Totally Unbelievable’ hitting the shelves at Crossword and Landmark. My dream of being a published author by the age of 30 realised!
In 2012, after my second son was born, I was itching to reinvent my identity once again. My innate passion for fashion was suddenly yearning for a medium of expression. The love for fashion accessories has always been synonymous with my personality, my friends will fully agree. That thought suddenly gave me a spark of an idea. ‘What if I’m able to bring a confluence of both my interests?’ I soft launched YOLO on an impulse at FaceBook, displaying a few of my experiments in hand-painted footwear. The overwhelming response that I received made me sit up and focus on YOLO as a serious enterprise.
Whether I am writing or painting, I need peace and quiet. The biggest challenge I face while working is the juggling of my various primary roles- of being a homemaker, mum to 2 naughty boys and playing a doting wifey. Family comes first for me. I have to race against my client’s deadlines so I pinch time out for my work, when my elder one is at school or when the younger one is sleeping. I work in the nocturnal hours after my children have gone off to bed and sometimes I continue into the wee hours. To end a hectic day and still have the energy, patience and mood to work is quite a challenge! The answer to all my problems is TIME PLANNING! I cannot afford to be disorganized anymore. I cannot ‘wing it’ or ‘go-with-the-flow’ or even ‘cross-the-bridge-when-we -get-there’, like the teenager Vibhuti used to. Each day has to be pre-planned, each work strategy pre-meditated, unlike before. A good dose of self-motivation is also required.
Be it the Art Gallery or ‘YOLO by Vibz’-my label of bespoke and fully hand-painted fashion accessories, I have been interviewed and spoken about in the leading daily newspapers like DNA of New-Mumbai and Pune. Recently I was interviewed and have been quoted by India’s prestigious magazine ‘The Week’.
It’s like life has now come a full circle for me. We have shifted base once again from Mumbai to Pune and I once again find myself foraying into the Advertising and marketing world. Since July 2014 I have taken on a new Avatar as a Social Media Strategist at BINGK SM & Digital Marketing , and as a Creative Content Director with Studio Ogaan. As success is slowly flowing towards me in this venture too, I have only one tip to give to other women entrepreneurs like me, out there. Please forgive me for drawing inspiration from a golden oldy song from the Hindi movie ‘Imtihaan’ sung by Kishore Kumar ” Rukk jana nahi tu kahin harke, Kanton pe chalke milenge saaye bahar ke!”
I am a staunch believer of the philosophy ‘You Only Live Once!’ and I live everyday with this thought uppermost on my mind. I push myself that extra inch because I know of only one chance that God has given me and that is this life which I am now living. I wish to make the most of it! In this journey of life there will be many milestones, of dreams beckoning. It is for me to get on my feet, choose a path, walk towards it and realise it!