Even before I got the miserly offer from my current company, I knew I had to take up this job. It just made a lot of sense. I was able to see hope and a good life ahead.
My hard work had finally paid off. All those numerous despondent interviews I gave in all kinds of unpromising places had given way to 3 competent offers. My heart asked me to select this particular offer even though it was the lowest one (well, the brand was huge, on the positive side). I confess that I felt totally shattered looking at the offer. It was like going back 4 years – back to where I started from.
But I took it up anyway. I started visualizing my life in Surat. There would be shopping, of course. There were malls in Surat. MALLS!! I had been good-brands-deprived and mall-starved all these years in Aurangabad. I would be working in a big, well-known company and will no longer get responses like – ‘Oh, which company? Optics? They make specs?’ I would be staying with room-mates after staying alone for so many years. I will make friends! I was so excited about sharing a flat with other girls. I visualized us chatting and doing things together and getting friends over. I would again come in decent human contact! I will have normal, sensible people, and not just a bunch of clowns, to talk to.
Life turned out to be all this and much more. My life changed. It was almost like a re-birth – professionally and otherwise. I couldn’t have made a better decision. My workplace is professional with educated staff. I did spend some time wondering and being confused but I took on to all the work assigned to me very enthusiastically and got instant appreciation. Finally a workplace that doesn’t resemble a circus.
The journey of initial 8 months saw lots of highs and lots of lows, personally and professionally, but I rose again. And even better, this time. I had earned true friends who cared for me so much. Ok, these were much younger than me but still very close and considerate. I also got to know a bunch of nearing-30-still-single bunch of girls I gelled with.
I developed deeper interests in writing, travel, food, gardening and craft here and started practicing them. Small interests that I had in various activities grew into intense passions I have become obsessed with. My once messy room became neat with different cuttings and work of art made by me. The barren balcony got filled with plants. We (I and my room-mate E) shopped together at Big Bazaar to experiment stuff in the kitchen and gave up when it didn’t work out. We went out for trying out new restaurants, watch movies and shop. We went out to nearby places to explore.
I love Surat for the enthusiasm of people (sometimes it gets a bit too high to handle. Try going out in evening on weekends), the street food, the colour and the malls. There are a few tourist spots in and around Surat and I’ve been around the beach, the Dutch Cemetery and a village for photo shoots, behaving like actual tourists. Not all is goody-goody in Surat. There is no Crossword or Landmark and no other book stores. Not all restaurants serve non vegetarian food. The crowd can be uncultured and rowdy since Surat is a rich place, not necessarily an intelligent one.
E became almost a sister to me. We chat for hours, share many interests and give each other advice on our problems. She introduced me to her friends and I became a part of their group. I couldn’t have found a better roommate than her. She has been with me through my heart breaks, dilemmas, successes, failures, fears and dreams.
I am something here. People know me for what I am. I am no longer confused. I no longer run away from people. I am appreciated at my workplace and am a very important member of the team. I put my best foot forward everyday and face people boldly, ready to take on any damn situation.
This was the kind of life I had been imagining all these years but it just wasn’t happening. It has happened, at last. Maybe I was searching for the real me all these years but failed. I found myself here in Surat amidst my friends whom I call angels of my life.
I am likely to leave Surat soon to move to Baroda. I kind of have mixed feelings. Though I am excited about exploring the new city and use the good things Baroda has to offer, I will always remain sentimental about Surat because this place has given me 2 of the best years of my life.
(Coming up: Shifting to Baroda)