“I was in my mid-20s when I decided that I have had enough of the life I had lived until then. I had completed my engineering degree, started working in the corporate, nailed down a promotion and was earning a handsome salary. But it just didn’t cut it anymore; I wanted to do something more than just be a face in the crowd. Fueled by an inner curiosity to listen to that inner voice, I took up an opportunity for a fellowship in social work far removed from my place.
Shifting states, I worked in rural areas on community projects and started working in a social enterprise; but the more I stayed, the more I realised that their goals didn’t align with mine. My inner calling has always been to work towards a greater cause called the ‘Environment’. Looking back I realise, I have always been right in listening to myself and giving myself the permission to question everything; the more I trusted my instincts, the more I strayed away from the norm.
I moved back from the fellowship and also ended my long-term relationship, the person I was eventually getting married to because my goals and purpose no longer aligned with them. And here began my journey for self-exploration; a journey which panned across India and ultimately ended in a fulfilling career in an entrepreneurship role.
I shifted cities and started becoming an active part of various spirituality centres. I completed two levels of advanced teacher training in Yoga and intended to start working as a Karma Yogi, doing Seva in the ashram I was staying in Madurai. Up until that one year of my life, everything seemed streamlined. I had a steady job and a marriage waiting to happen but having gotten off everything, I felt utterly lost and untethered! I knew deep down that I had an inner drive to do something great with my life but at the point, everything was bleak and the tipping point came through when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
What started as a spiral down to hell, became worse. But I was clear on one specific thing – I had very limited time to live so I wanted to spend the rest of my life the way I wanted to. I switched off my phone and went into an intense meditation and yoga lifestyle. I travelled to different places and visited a lot of temples. But it was also during this period that I spent a lot of time reading and discovering every piece of material ever written on cancer research. In the quest, I eventually met my doctor who played an instrumental role in having me cancer-free today.
With everything said and done, this journey of ups and downs ended on a beautiful note with me meeting my partner and starting a non-government organisation – Karunachal Foundation. We started by working with government school kids by introducing the play to inculcate learning about better environmental practices. Slowly our projects started improving and I also set up my own individual yoga practice. We are starting our sustainability retreats which would couple yoga as well as sustainable practices together.
I have recently started recording a podcast ‘My Second Life’ giving an insight into everything that happened before and after cancer. I often wonder what would have become of me if I had just gone with the rut ignoring my intuitions; maybe I wouldn’t have had this interesting story to tell to the upcoming generations. For what it’s worth, I am deeply grateful for everything that transpired within me that propelled me to push forward without thinking twice. For they are the reason for me to thrive today without inhibitions.”