You never know when opportunity comes knocking
She had decided to press the pause button on her career graph and enjoy time with her newborn. Her entire timetable revolved around her baby. The initial 6 months went by in a blink – crying, feeding, massaging and bathing, and then sleeping late and waking up every 2 hours through the night; Reena had no idea where her life was headed. She craved for a little more sleep and nothing else. Or so it was for the first 6 months. Later the baby adjusted to a fairly good day routine and Reena found a little more time on her hands. She used to read the morning papers daily as they were her only means of keeping in touch with the world. This was the late 90s and the Internet fever was yet to catch on. Reena always chose to read the local supplement first as it carried more positive news than the main paper, which almost always was choc-a-bloc with negative news - murders, rapes, accidents, fatalities, gruesome crimes, you name it and it was there.
One day as Reena was reading her favourite astrology page in the local supplement, her eyes fell upon a very small ad for a column. It invited readers to write 150 to 200 words only, on a certain topic specified. This was a daily column and the winners would get a nice, little cash prize. The small ad caught Reena’s fancy, less for the prize money but more for the opportunity it presented to her for doing something other than raising her baby. The topic for the day looked interesting too – “Should you have one child or two children”; the next day it was, “Adoption – a good idea or not?” and similarly it went every other day. The topics ranged from family life to the work front to parenting to culture and so on.
Reena had made up her mind and she started writing for this column. She enjoyed writing, more so the challenge of writing within the very small word limit. She won the first day. She was happy. She wrote again the next day. She won. She wrote the third day too. She won again. This series of writing and winning went on for many weeks and months. So that her winning not get undue attention from the publication, she started writing under a different pen name; now, the pen name won. She got a kick out of this, but what made her happy was not the wins necessarily, but the fact that she could write winning stuff.
And then serendipity happened. In the name of Manjiri. Manjiri was the page editor for that publication and that day she called Reena. To ask her if she would write for them. Reena could not believe her ears. Write for them! Write for THE Indian Express? Wow! Why not? But Reena was not ready for a job, her baby was important; so she negotiated and got the work on her own terms. Reena’s writing career had begun unbeknownst to her, without any planning on her part. She had started writing to do something different, to keep busy, to feel good, but had found a passion. Which in a few years was to become a profession!
Serendipity had become opportunity and Reena had found her calling!!