We are turning 4 very soon.
Yes! A 1000 likes on my Facebook page. It took me three and a half years to procure a 1000 likes. And almost an equal quantum of time to acquire a lot more than just financial freedom. Honestly, finances weren’t even the last thing on my mind when I started my journey with my Little Reading Room. It was more of my love for learning than teaching that led me here today. What seemed like a win-win situation since inception, was an aching experience incognito.
Something that I would have never known if I had opened a restaurant, a boutique or a book store. As in if I had opted for a business with investments involved rather than a testing profession like teaching. It did require business skills though, for marketing my brand and myself really well in order to carve a niche. An exhilarating excursion of being persistently judged on my financial well being, marital status and all other different kinds of statuses. Being conscientiously, invariably and religiously guesstimated. Bearing just one daughter was questioned. As if, producing and collecting children were a recognised national feminine pastime. ÜBERing to the daughter’s school was fifty percent cheaper (I have my own calculations) than being driven around. Storing petty cash in my fuchsia pink PUMA bag’s net pocket sounded suitable. But choosing these tiny compact conveniences over flaunting prosperity constantly met disapproving glances. Honestly, I don’t have an aversion to poverty. What is heartbreaking is when someone tries to impress you with success and money showing their shallow mentality towards you. Yes, someone did that and Ouch!! A bit of me died. But something was definitely wrong. Was I dressing shabbily? Did I look like an ‘Abla Nari’ drenched in poverty? Something wrong with the face? Hey! I assumed I had super stunning skin. These baffling questions were stealthily sneaking and ruining my peace of mind. It was giving me a constant bickering headache. Yet I ran, jumped, hopped, walked and crawled but moved without a pause, and pushed my Reading Room as much as I could. I gave it all I had, with a slight shady guilt of investing my daughter’s share of my time in it. They were siblings after all. The smaller one being more demanding.
But when the nature’s law of balance is put into application I’m still on the triumphant edge. I earn well and of course money matters irrespective of your non monetary goals and intentions. Though as mentioned earlier I earned more than mere money. A successful venture boosted my self esteem, confidence and above all my vision of life expanded to a different level. It was looking beyond clothing, jewellery, cars and other social parameters. Like the dawning of the ‘Devil wears Prada’ moment where everything seemed just so superficial. When women greet one another it is a complete scan from your branded bag, to your belt, to that tiny metal hanging on the rear your stilettos. All that I stopped noticing and instead started understanding the intangible abstract. The hidden side.
• As in when you ask a rich person to contribute a little higher amount of money in some kitty or organisation he or she might call it expensive and politely decline while the mediocrely moneyed would readily pay out of shyness or to amplify their communal image.
• Right ethics go a longer way than sly over-smartness.
• If you wish to stand up for what you think is right, you have to be ready to face the criticism.
• Reading in between the lines is more important than brawny words for a meaningful conversation.
• The biggest recognition of your achievements is the admiration or jealousy you see in people’s eyes.
• Your so called current best friends might not be as happy for your accomplishments, but your ex best friends and school friends might still be secretly proud of you.
• There exists this huge clan of Indian housewives who look up to working women in admiration, irrespective of whether they are actually making money or not.
• Humble beginnings always feel like being in the middle of nowhere.
• A lot of middle class women live in extreme cash crunch and deal with immense financial crisis for everyday necessities forget fulfilling little wishes. Yet they never talk about it.
• Always take your own decisions so that your regrets are also your own. Never ever seek advice from people who are not involved in the same business themselves. Your best teachers are your wrongly taken decisions. Trial and error takes time but it’s still the oldest working strategy. The only challenge here is being observant of the mistakes and working in that specific direction.
• What we see in other people is a reflection of ourselves. Our discernment has precisely more to do with us and very less to do with anybody else.
• The shallow show off clan pretend the biggest magistrates of the society
• If you really want the society to better, work on yourself. As you yourself are the only unit of the society that you can possibly change according to your principle belief. I shall share an example here. Even after hailing from an extremely patriarchal Marwari family I am happy with an only daughter. I would have been equally happy with an only son. The child’s gender doesn’t matter to me. I crossed that social barrier.
• Log Kya Kahenge still matters. A lot of middle-class graduate housewives who are in requirement of money even till date abstain from working to live up to the societal norms.
• My mother tells me every day, that I did it without any financial requirement. Thanks to her but do we really need a financial requirement for working?
• People who have achieved more than you will never judge you. Most of the people, who looked down upon me in terms of finances because I chose teaching, (I should not be saying this) are seriously honestly poorer than me in terms of financial net worth. And I honestly never clarified their doubts because it seemed unimportant at that point of time.
• I really hope that the teaching profession was a little more respected in India. Though I myself earn a bomb, I solemnly wish that other teachers are paid tad better. I know many who aren’t. Some of them work tremendously hard.
• Learn to USE the word NO effectively. Turning down children because of full batches and lack of time was quite disheartening but I learnt to say no, not compromising on my personal time and more essentially the quality of my sessions.
• But there are times when we get opportunities that do not make up for the opportunity cost for our time invested but is a roller coaster learning experience. If there is a persistent instinct to go for it then GO GRAB. It’s hidden treasure. Just excavate till your curiosity is satiated.
• Get over – he said this and she said that. No one said anything. Getting over the small fights is more important than it appears. My FOCUS should be JUST ME. Self love, prioritising myself and delivering qualitative work became indispensable.
• ‘In any classroom the person who learns the most is the teacher.’ This I read somewhere and found it true.
• When we say that someone else’s opinion of us does not matter to us we are lying to ourselves. It matters. We are humans. We feel every bit. We ignore rude comments but it comes back to us when there is no one around and we least expect it. So just write it out!
• Okay in the end I got a confession to make. All that constant judgment with gluttons gorging on sadistic pleasure which seemingly didn’t matter in the beginning started weighing me down during the pandemic. When things were silent the mind grew loud. So for the first time I showed off on social media. Something I would have never done.
Today that my unplanned second born ‘The Little Reading Room’ has many students all over the globe, some of them would be authors hopefully, and of course a 1000 encouraging likes, the bickering astuteness or the assessing reactions of people when they hear of my work, hurts a little less.