Last year during this time, I had bid adieu to my job. But more on that later. This change in life’s cycle of plan was preceded by months of work travels and a shift to Hyderabad.My initial days were spent staying at the Taj-Krishna hotel, living out of the suitcase, dining at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, early morning travels to the factories and those unending training sessions, that I had to conduct. Life did not look so bad from the 10th floor of a Five Star Hotel, or those drives in the BMW (yes this Company did pamper the employees). It felt great, empowering in fact, to make the long travels all alone and feeling in charge.It is strange, but when you venture out of your hometown, the first realization of cultural change never hits you, if you are living the high-end way. The Banjara Hills area, full of posh malls offered innumerable dining options. I would take long safe walks in the neighborhood and explore the place more.
This life through the tinted glass phase ended soon and I moved into a flat, slightly away from this upper class area of the city, then again not too far, just two bus-stops away. This apartment was cozy enough, and apart from washing your own clothes I really had no responsibility. There was a cook to take care of my hunger pangs. Yet what used to really frustrate me was this living completely cut off from everything. I have seen people wonder, why I would resent a life of seeming luxury, with no household chores as such. But trust me it is this very fact that started suffocating me.When you move to a new city the best option is to go for apartment sharing. At least you get the chance of being in the company of new faces and new mindsets.But in this scenario my life became all about working all day and coming home to a big empty apartment at night where I would get my timely food but no one to talk to as such. It was getting pretty miserable, away from your loved ones and to sleep all alone in a 3 bedroom (quite unnecessary as you see) flat would really make me depressed post 7 pm. My constant source of survival was Skype and the complete FRIENDS series in my laptop. The worst part was being tied to your room on weekends. Now this I wanted to change soon, by venturing out a bit, to explore the city one step at a time. So i started taking rounds around my own locality, which did not help too much since I realized I was bounded within that territory by a thin line.
This particular location of my Company had only 1% female employee in the entire office, that also if you include me. On a daily basis, one very basic task was to hold yourself pretty high, as in a no nonsense, hardworking professional, who needs to be listened to, no matter what. I knew an image any softer will never get my work done in a mostly male-chauv world.(Frankly this mind set is not country specific and you will have to face this in any part of the world, and the key to rise above the rest is in your hand.) No matter who you are, no matter what surrounding you are in, no matter if you are surrounded by a host of big-shots, its imperative that you keep yourself in an elevated platform.
I think I was getting accustomed to it, the new place, the new life and the new role when the company decided that I will not have to stay there permanently. Thereafter the role needed me to constantly travel which I was okay with initially but then again, packing your bags and moving every alternate month was becoming too much of a pain and I had started searching for something of a permanency location-wise.
If there is any single-most crucial phase in my life so far, then this is it. I grew up. And not in the sense ,half of the Indian population looks at growing up. This was more of a realization that I have indeed grown up and I can keep myself safe in the face of adversity. Self- preservation is first step towards that, and all your talks of female emancipation becomes non-sense unless you yourself can figure out the methods. Day in, day out I had to travel all alone to remote places during this time. Empty highways, in the early hours of the morning to late in the nights, I myself feel surprised as to how I managed. But there are no regrets, really and in the end the feeling of achievement is a price-less one.