I quit my job to live
The year 2017 is coming to an end. It is that time of the year, when we look back at the last twelve months; to appreciate the good things in life and learn from the mistakes. Year 2017 has been a very important year for me in that respect; I guess I became more courageous, and took the irreversible step to move away from my 9 to 6 job as an IT engineer.
No doubt, this is not one of those articles about how I quit my job for Travel. I realised, when Travel becomes a part of your every day existence, you are addicted to a feeling that there is nothing like it. I have been traveling on and off for the last five years. Travel is a great tool to learn things, and also an easy way to escape from the reality of life. I feel, I am usually at my best when I am travelling, though often I used to feel lost and out of my moorings, even lonely many a time. There have been days filled with adventures and simultaneously days when life seemed like an empty vessel!
Someone might call me an escapist, but that’s just me! But at the same time I know I am stubborn and I will not give up that easily. And I was determined to do everything possible to live a life as I want. I knew a sense of restlessness simmering in me. With the passing of each year, my thing to do list was ever increasing in size and I was feeling a void and a sense of frustration overpowering me with the thought that there were so much to be done, so much to be healed and mended and life as a whole looked battered and severely broken.
I had to stop and find out what I am missing and what is ailing me. I have to change so that I start doing things, which are more meaningful to me. So, I decided to call it quits, because the life I want to live is something different and more meaningful to me, not the one I am immersed in … And…
It is a blessing to be an artist
As a kid I was always inclined towards arts. However to start with, my basic schooling in a small city where I began my life couldn’t support my real interests. This, of course, I came to know very much later in my life. I was made to choose Science over Arts, essentially to prepare me to become a part of a world which envisages that paying bills and meeting other mundane expenses are more important in life than anything else, only to find out later that paying bill is only a minuscule part of your existence! Everyone gets bills and can pay them depending upon how much and on what one wants to spend.
My life seem to have changed suddenly, when in 2012, a colleague handed over a camera to me; and then I felt an inexplicable change happening in me. Never before, nothing in the world made me to spend sleepless nights and realised at that moment that camera and photography must be very special to me and my life. I worked hard to learn things on my own and slowly started to understand the magic and learnt to create pictures which said more about life and people than any written or spoken words; and that’s how my pictures and this blog became my medium to communicate my world to the others.
To my great surprise and self pride I realised that there is no feeling more satisfying than the feeling of creating something new or different. Creation is not only the wonder of the universe, but also the routine and every day happening. When I look back I feel immensely thrilled and satisfied that this year some of my pictures and stories got published in BBC. I have been appointed as Canon Photo mentor for Western Zone. Also, I had my first big exhibition this year in Goa as part of the Serendipity Festival.
The bigger purpose of life
I realised that one should look at ones contributions during ones existence and the value going to be imparted by the work and actions/creations left behind when he or she is gone. What value am I adding to the world while I am trying to find my ways to happiness? May be we are all born with a purpose or maybe we are not! But if we are born with a purpose then what is that? It can’t be just buying more houses or cars or adding such assets, for sure!
I knew that Travel couldn’t be the purpose of my life as well. It is a temporary happiness. I need to dig deeper and that’s how the ‘Women of India’ project came into picture when a friend and I were discussing about my life stories. It is a project to cover the stories of women from Rural India. All I can say is that it is just not a project; it is immensely satisfying and also a healing process for me.
I don’t want to boast; but when the women see an Indian girl, just like them, with a camera, covering their story, it is kind of an eye opener for these women; that if this girl can do, why can’t I? I think most of the things I have done in my life would have made some such inspiration or at least some impact somewhere. But in true sense the stories of these women changed my life the most.
Earlier this year I have presented my work in Malayasia , through a talk at ZafigoX. I completed a few more projects covering stories of women in the remotest areas of Tamilnadu and Ladakh.
To understand the difference between need and greed
I have always been careless and I have always been losing things here and there. Now I understand the reason – those were the things, which were never important for me. I realise how day-by-day I am slowly moving away from materialistic things. Thankfully, I could never buy the idea of buying a matchbox house in a high-rise apartment in exchange of life long loans. The things I need are my laptop, phone, camera and of course love and care, these are the essentials. Oh! How simple and uncomplicated my life has become!!
When it comes to satisfaction a morning amidst the mountains or a good picture of some women in work made me happier than some of the most expensive gifts. I don’t need 10 pairs of heels or 50 pairs of clothes to feel good. When I started to earn in my first job, I needed them desperately to make myself feel happy and felt elated that I can finally afford them! It was just greed, which took the shape of a need.
And that’s just not me, but a person bought over by the amount of advertisement we watch every day in our lives through TV, magazines, Facebook, Instagram and Billboards; it can make anyone buy things. Think!! Is it making you happy in real sense? The madness has to stop somewhere.
The give-away is in process; old laptop, camera and clothes to those who might use these stuff better than me.
Health is wealth
I have been guilty of ignoring my health for past few years, but I think it was my obsession for photography, which took over my priorities. I forgot this; it is a maddening race again. However, this is my kind of race, and it makes me happy to put more and more work in it.
Also, health needs to be taken into consideration both physical and mental; until you are mentally happy, the chance that you are physically healthy is unlikely.
I always wanted to spend more time on holistic ways of living; only If could stop eating so much in my travels and get up early in the mornings. I continue to feel guilty!
This year I completed 10 days of Vipassna mediation course in Ladakh. Going forward, I hope to be more regular in Yoga too.
For seeking Knowledge
One of the biggest regrets I have, that I didn’t read enough books when I was relatively young and had more time. Also how the education system couldn’t encourage me enough to learn about geography, history and sociology and I was always stuck scoring high in Math and Science.
I have always been attracted towards graphics, so I read less. And now, there is a long list of half read books and the ones, which I am yet to start. I like reading articles, and thankfully technology made it so easy for me to read small chunk of knowledge extensively. I love watching documentaries and some of those were eye opener.But there is no substitute for good books.
I finished two books in last couple of months ‘Nine Lives’ and ‘1984’.
Because family is important-
Last year I lost my favourite person on earth- my aunt who gave me all the unselfish love possible. She was the one with whom I spent the best moments of my childhood, which I would cherish all my life. And seeing her sinking gradually, I panicked. I wish I could have called her more often than I did or could get back more time with her.
My mother is also getting old and her scars from her past tough life are slowly surfacing. I don’t want to live with the regrets that we didn’t spend enough time with each other.
I could find one month just to be with her, something which I couldn’t do in last many years. And I hope to plan some of the travel trips with her too.
There are many more things, which I want to do and I can keep writing about it. But essentially this is all I need to do at the moment, not to please anyone nor to meet anyone’s expectation or set any sort of standards. This is just my version of life, and we don’t need to subscribe to someone else’s version. We can create one for ourselves, as we like it. And live and enjoy it as we want. With Greetings for a very happy and healthy new year!!