I Chased My Academic Dreams in UK With The Support Of My Husband
This time last year, if someone would’ve told me I’d be writing a book holed up in a room in a university in England, I wouldn’t have believed it.
After my wedding, I was busy getting used to the new life. I was toying with the idea of taking up a job, but I was so busy with the publishing procedures of my novel, that I had to push it for later.
Samah and Anuj
I’m a Business Administration graduate with a Major in Marketing, who wants to be a novelist. I recently published my novel, ‘Encounters of a Fat Bride’, with Penguin India.
I started writing about four years ago and with every passing year, I became surer of my dream. Naturally, I wanted to hone my skills with some formal education. I was bothered with questions related to my job, my novel and about higher education. All of these questions and unwavering support from my best-friend-turned-husband, Anuj Bakshi, was what it took for me to take the plunge and pursue an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kent.
Consequently, nine months into marriage, when most women are getting used to their newly married life, I packed my bags and moved to England - to get a Master’s degree in Creative Writing!
The Thirst For Knowledge
Marriage has several preconceived notions attached to it. One of them is that you must have accomplished everything you wanted to, academically. But what if you haven’t?
I probably want to study more after my Master’s as well. And the thought that it would be easier now, than after two to three years of marriage because I wanted to go abroad, made me pedal faster in terms of getting everyone on board with my decision. We were still new to marriage, still getting used to the new routine. It made more sense to finish it off now, than after a few years.
Moving away to chase a dream is difficult for any woman, especially for a newly married one. But luckily, I didn’t have to face too many conflicts. People were a little surprised because it is an unusual decision. But everyone in my family and Anuj’s family have been very supportive. Outside the family, of course, many have shown immense alarm over this decision, but even they seemed impressed on seeing our conviction in the matter. People will make a big deal of something only if you allow them to.
Working As A Team
I think for such a decision to materialise, it all boils down to the understanding between you and your spouse. That’s where the main challenge lies. If two married people are on the same page in their decisions, the rest is manageable. I am blessed to have supportive parents and parents-in-law. My family was fine with the decision and they were actually quite excited when they saw how happy Anuj was for me. We’ve made an extensive itinerary for the families to come visit me turn by turn, so that I meet someone from home every two months or so. We’re making a big holiday out of my one year abroad!
My husband has been my biggest support system throughout this journey. From the never-ending paperwork to shopping for my stuff, Anuj has helped with everything. I’m someone who HATES documentation and technical work. He’s my one-stop-shop for IT related and banking work!
I would keep cribbing about how many processes there are to go through, in order to study abroad, but Anuj tolerated all my frustration. He was in the UK three years ago for his Master’s and his experience has helped me plan mine. In fact, because of how amazing his year abroad was, he pushed me to do this and experience that life for myself.
Samah, before leaving for the UK to study
Don’t Let Go Of Your Dreams
It is so often that women lose out on their dreams just because societal norms deem them irregular. Unfortunately, when you’re caught in a whirlwind of what people think or say, it isn’t too hard to lose out on who you are. In moments like these, it becomes very important for us to stand up for ourselves, our dreams and passions. Because if we don’t, who will?
Many a times, we don’t pursue something because of the barriers we have created for ourselves in our head. We ‘think’ it can’t be done so we don’t even attempt it. When I told people I’m going away for a year to study, I was asked how can I do so when I’m married now! To them I want to say, yes, I’m married now. It’s easier for us because we’re stronger and a better team.
To any woman who’s scared to take that leap of faith, I would suggest make an attempt anyway. Sometimes all you’ve got to do is try.
More power to you, Samah. Stories like these inspire us to #TakeCharge of our lives too!
This is a personal narrative by Samah Visaria, a Mumbai based novelist who is currently pursuing a course in Creative Writing in the University of Kent.
R*****Glad to hear that. It's really great that your husband understood your dreams and supported them. All the best
D*****Very inspiring. All the very best
M*****Glad to read about how you are pursuing your dreams and kudos to your husband and marital family for showing what support really means
R*****Really very motivating story to all the womens here.. It takes a lot of courage to step out of house just after marriage. Its great that your husband is your backbone. All the best for all success