Most of you who know me personally will scoff on reading this. But it’s true. I’m not a confident person. I’m just blessed with a confident countenance and that helps me get by. I stammered as a teen and even today sometimes I do. I used to feel nervous if I had to address a group of people. Something as simple as standing up in class and reading a passage made me break in cold sweat.

I always preferred staying in my easy zone.

Easy zone. I’ve stayed cocooned in it, enjoyed its cosy comforts and eyed successful women with envy. Wow! She earns the big bucks. She travels the biz class on company account. Attends seminars, globe trots…wow…wow, wow…and how stupid and worthless are you K. Many of my class mates from school and college are today working with reputed banks, MNCs; earning the big bucks, accolades and all. All I did was freelance, play with curly top (my son) and cook. I’ve felt worthless and told myself the same all the time. I hated myself. I envied them, often hated them but when opportunity came knocking (and they did come) I snuck back into my easy zone.

Easy zone. I’ve stayed cocooned in it, enjoyed its cosy comforts and eyed successful women with envy.

Truth is, we make choices. Our own choices. Nothing has ever been thrust unto me. My life has been my choice. And with age I’ve regretted the choices I made. I wished I hadn’t married so young. I wished I had studied harder and made a career. And focused on it. I wish I had taken up full time work and not chosen the easy freelance route. Even as a freelance writer, in two decades of it I should have done a lot more. I didn’t. I should’ve been a columnist, a blogger with a big following…I should’ve done this, that and…

The list is never-ending. But QED : KB you pulled the short straw. Willingly.

My self loathing, feeling lesser than others, repenting and regretting continued. Then my book happened. Writing a book is a huge commitment. Sticking to a schedule for days, weeks, months; getting the  story out, reworking on the draft, pitching it to publishers and then finally signing the  deal is a long haul journey fraught with tension, rejection and endless waiting. It’s the toughest thing I have done. For me it is the most important thing I’ve done for myself. The woman who always took the easy path, shied away from challenges, led a life of comfort and envying others from the sidelines; I plunged headlong into the whirlpool. And most importantly I didn’t quit.

In a strange way it changed many things in me. It changed me. I began seeing myself in a different light. I didn’t hate myself so much. I felt happy, most importantly I felt proud of myself.

In a strange way it changed many things in me. It changed me. I began seeing myself in a different light. I didn’t hate myself so much. I felt happy, most importantly I felt proud of myself.

Our dreams, passions… When in the throes of it they burn us to ashes. Almost take the life out of us but when accomplished the peace is almost serendipitous. After 43 years I fell in love, again. With myself. I discovered myself in my journey with the book.

Recently an old friend called and said, Why do you write? You barely make any money.

Chasing your dream can never be about money. It never is. It’s like staring at the rainbow and trying to catch it.

Chasing your dream can never be about money. It never is. It’s like staring at the rainbow and trying to catch it.

In pursuit of my dream, I laid to rest the screaming demons that howled in my head for years. I don’t envy my friends anymore. Like most authors I too dedicated my first book to my parents but actually it was a gift myself. Writing is like oxygen for me. I make sense to myself when I write. It has enabled me to forgive myself and more importantly love myself. It’s so important to love yourself.

There’s nothing more amazing than self-discovery. You’ll meet yourself for the first time. Unravel facets you never thought you had. You’ll hurt, bleed, doubt yourself, fight with everyone around you and you’ll want to quit. But just keep at it.

As my book journey continues, I watch myself change and grow. I’m a work in progress, the journey far from over and I’m in no hurry.

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Kanchana Banerjee published her first book A Forgotten Affair with Harper Collins in 2016. She is working on her second novel and is the editor of a reading app. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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