I was always an average student. A happy go lucky kind of a girl who wanted to be friends with everyone in school. I was/ am not very talented either. I dapple in dancing and now I can bake a cookie or two, and that is about it.
I do have a gift of gab, but apparently, I don't make much sense when I talk and half the people think that I am making up stuff, so yeah, I don't talk much either.
I went through a fiasco when I was out of Class 12, and it was time to pick up a career, and despite the fact that in my heart, I always knew that I wanted to be an advocate, I did one year of engineering, failed badly at that, and then, I re-started in a B class law school. I of course look back at that and wonder if I could have been firmer at my decision, maybe then not changed my school, or maybe taken up arts, and then done law from a good law school, and then maybe had a better career. Or better still, had I been a little bit more intelligent in school and studied harder, or maybe been serious at some sport or maybe even at my dancing.
But, I have always been just average.
So, when I passed law, and I joined Ms. MA's litigation practice, I saw that she stayed with her parents, while her german husband was in Germany, and they had a "long distance marriage"; and when the practice merged in the law firm, my boss was a single mom. And a lot of others, who were in their late twenties/ early thirties, who were dating, breaking up, and were unmarried or unhitched. I was dating the husband, and after a rough 5 odd years of being in mostly a long distance relationship, we were in the "lets get hitched in marriage" kind of phase. When this happened, I made a decision, that I would try to achieve a work-life balance, and wherever required I would want to be more of a family person versus the always in office person.
I was doing very well before I got married. I was doing good practice and I was a part of the firm that had a positive growth story. I had a great boss, and some really really great friends in the firm. And then I moved to Mumbai. I went from being in a home, where I had my grandmom practically feeding me breakfast every morning to a house with no woman. I knew about taking care of the house, but being the only doing everything was a little too much. Not only that, I had to travel for a minimum of 3+ hours each day in mumbai locals/ public transport in dastardly weather, to go to office. The husband was in a "work from home" situation, where, he worked during the nights. We were newly married. Had moved into a new house, and for the first 20 days after I joined work, I had no maid. I used to get up at 5 a.m. and all that shit. I know how much I had cried myself to sleep, because, we had no time for each other. Not that we have any now either. Yes, I do wish, that I had pushed myself harder, and instead of 6 months, given myself a little bit more time in the Mumbai office of the firm. And then, of course, I stumbled and fell at each step, trying figure out where the hell am I going. I changed 3 jobs in 3 years of being in Mumbai. I hated myself for doing this to my career, but, I had to think about everything. Put perspective to the familial life as well as the career that I was trying to build. I remember, the very first interview that I had given after moving to Mumbai was with one of the top law firms. The only reason that I did not get a call back was because I was wearing a choora and I was a newly wed. Yes, it works against the women.
Nevertheless, I have paid the price of being the not so driven/ passionate lawyer, I am behind by 3 years from all my contemporaries, and, it is almost like I have re- started. I am now a part of the firm which is new, and therefore, a little eased out. But, I am getting to learn a lot more than what I would have had I been in a bigger firm. I may not be overtly ambitious, but the deal with me is that, as I lawyer, I should be learning the correct things applying them for the betterment of my clients. Who wouldn't want more money. But, am I willing to sacrifice my family life for my career, I don't know. I don't know, if I would be able to always just work, and never be around the people for whom I am earning. What is the point then? So, does that make me less ambitious? Or less of a hard worker? Or less driven? I think so.
In this whole deal of ensuring family doesn't suffer because of work, I have, I think managed to make a mess of both the things. My career and the family. I am turning 30 in about 3 months from today, and I have nothing to my credit.
But, I have been nothing, but an average, even as a failure, just that. I don't know how to better it.
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