Meet The SHEROES: Writer Monica Bhide
I see women becoming more empowered and taking more risks. It really makes me so very happy to see young kids following their passion and moving away from traditional and conventional expectations. Also, I feel like the young women are no longer afraid of failing, and this gives them the foundation they need to become enormously successful.
The year was 1986. A very dear friend of mine insisted I show her my poetry. I hesitated, but finally showed it to her, and her kind words of support offered me just the encouragement I needed to keep writing. She gave me what would become my first ever poetry journal. I still have that journal and whenever I start to lose my path, my patience or my dreams, I go back to that journal. I read her words of encouragement and they always help me find my center.
As a child, my favourite activities were reading and writing stories. I pretty much read any book I could get my hands on and remember spending hours in the British Council Library. I would read to learn, to understand, to absorb, to lose myself and then, eventually, to try to find myself again. And then, of course, I loved to tell stories! I would spend hours writing tales but I rarely shared them with anyone.
I have a very geeky background. I am an engineer by trade and I have two Masters degrees--both in technology. I worked in corporate America, with a Big Five consulting firm for over a decade, but then I decided to leave that job and follow my dream of becoming a writer.
I am very grateful that I have the background that I do and that I have the degrees to fall back on! Education is so critical. It gives us the security blanket to try something different, to take a risk.
Of passion and calling
I started writing full-time about eleven years ago after quitting my corporate six-figure job. Back then, if you had asked me why I quit, I would have told you that I wanted to follow my passion--my passion to write.
However, now I think my answer is different as I have had a chance to reflect on what writing means to me. It really wasn’t all passion. And I think this is true for many people who follow creative paths--it was a calling.
What is the difference? In my experience, passion is a strong desire to do something you love but if you walk away from it, it doesnt cripple your soul or your spirit. But a calling is different. If you don’t answer your calling, it doesnt let you sleep at night! I am not sure I realized at the time that writing was my calling, but I do now.
Starting from scratch: Learn something new every single day!
The decision to write about food was simple at first: I loved to eat, and they say write about what you love! My biggest inspiration comes from my children. They inspire me with their curiosity and their limitless attitude towards life.
My husband was very supportive with the career switch, but my mom and dad, rightly so, were concerned as this was a big change. Starting any new career is fraught with uncertainty and I think they worried about that. While money was certainly part of the change for me, the biggest thing I had to do was start from scratch.
I had to learn to pitch magazines, newspapers etc. I had to learn how to write proposals, how to interview people, how to write books etc. I am still learning! I have now been writing for a decade and learn something new every single day!
My long term goal is to continue to write books and tell stories that empower people! Lastly, some of my must-haves for life are my family, my dear friends, peace of mind and a bottle of hot sauce.