“I was brought up in Michigan, USA where I spent the first 13 Years of my life. Though we were in a foreign country, we were brought up with South Indian roots right from speaking Tamil, to learning classical dance and going for first-day movie shows of Rajnikanth! When I was 14, I was faced with the idea of my family deciding to move back to Chennai – to build an educational enterprise and to look after my ageing grandparents. It all happened too soon and we landed in Chennai before I knew it. I still remember the anguish, the mixed emotions and numbness. I wasn’t ready to move to Chennai which was my favourite vacation spot turned new home. The only good thing was coming home to the warmth of my adoring grandparents and the delicacies they stuffed us with, that’s the Chennai I knew! I wasn’t ready for change but then change never waits for anyone right? You don’t learn much staying in your comfort zone. You learn, you grow, and you become a better you in the face of changes and challenges.
Though I was strongly rooted in Indian culture, everything seemed new, the environment, education, family, lifestyle, celebrations, traffic and having to stay away from my dad for a year all added to tremendous stress and panic. Every part of me felt like it didn’t belong here and I wanted to run back to my comfort zone. My world fell apart. Though it was hard, after a few months I began to embrace my new lifestyle with the support of family, friends, teachers and God who led me forward. But deep inside, I was still shy and struggling to be accepted and was waiting for every opportunity to run back to where I came from. I had my share of talents, knowledge and ideas, but they remained dormant.
My parents left my career to my heart’s interest. I knew I wanted to work with people and their lives, especially alongside my parents in their educational enterprise, and so I went on to complete my Master’s In Psychology. That was one of the best decisions of my life, the space that brought out the person in me. I changed my perspective about life, I began to accept my reality wholeheartedly and fell in love with the field of work. It wasn’t just about the field, it was about the experience which I am so grateful for. I noticed phenomenal change on the inside and that led to incredible change around me. That made the difference!
Today, I am so blessed to be a Psychologist and EQ Coach who works with people , mentoring them, coaching them , and conducting programs on emotional intelligence and mental health – empowering them to live their lives inside out. I look forward to hearing others stories, guiding them and being a small part of their life’s journey. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. We decide if we want to stay where we are or take necessary action to become what we want to become. We must look for the opportunity in every obstacle that comes our way, and when we do, we come out stronger, smarter and braver! And remember to always follow your hearts calling!
I can say I have come to love everything about this place, the people, the culture, the food, the zest for life , the perfect blend of tradition and modernisation and most importantly the fact that it gave me the most significant people in my life who molded me along the way into the person I am. Through all this, I have learnt to equally embrace both my identities as an Indian – American. Though I wouldn’t miss the chance to go back and visit Michigan, I think I love Chennai a little too much!”
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