“People run after many things in their quest for a happy life but I guess all of it boils down to just one thing in the end- freedom! The freedom to spend, indulge and experience is the dream most have but realistically speaking, it is always a trade-off. And in my life particularly, it was giving up a decently paying job in exchange for independence.
You see, I was serving for over a decade in Malaysia as a contract worker. Now as someone hailing from a small town like Villupuram, the whole fascination of going abroad for work seemed very enticing. We look at these countries like heaven, thinking a job there would completely change our lives until reality truly opens its door. Now this scenario holds even more true for blue-collar workers like me who are engaged in manual labour day-in and day-out. We were mostly put under rotational shifts with erratic sleep schedules and no place to call home except for our respective portions in the bunker-beds that are allocated. And there are other tiring aspects to it too, like loneliness from being away from one’s family to even the feeling of being constricted from all ends which are usually never talked about!
For me personally, experiencing all this alongside a very low wage rate and a high cost of living became the major hurdle, especially since I had to send a considerable portion of the money back home as well. So I knew somewhere that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my 20+ working years here, awaiting peace and solitude post retirement. I wanted to be independent regardless of the income I am able to generate!
And this mindset aided me to take a major leap of faith and shift back to Tamil Nadu, where I gathered my lifetime savings and started a pumpkin stall in one Koyembedu. Many onlookers often question this move and whether it’s even possible nowadays to earn big from selling a non-routine vegetable.
To that my reply is usually a smile. From the outside people might not realize this but this is the happiest I’ve ever been in all these 53 years. They are indeed just pumpkins but one’s that help me carve my remaining days with a sense of freedom, not fear!”