Twenty years ago I escaped from my family and hometown to the throbbing metropolis called New Delhi. I was in my twenties and truly thought that the world is in the palm of my hands. I was tired of all the smothering that was handed down to me daily in the guise of “You are a girl, thats why!” So when I finished my vocational course in Interior design, I just wanted to leave home and earn my living.
Initially I stayed with relatives as that was reassuring to my parents that I was safe. Gradually I moved to a PG and then was allowed to rent out my own place. I found this really nice place in GK and had the most blissful three years of living there. Succumbing to the charms of newly done up condos of Gurgaon made it easy to abandon New Delhi without any regrets.
Past twenty years have seen me go from single to married to back to being single. I have changed cities, houses, jobs and acquaintances in these years. This progression was not easy and when I look back at it, I wonder how ever did I manage it.
Salsa dancing classes, sketching sessions in Lodhi garden, Photography workshops, learning gardening, celebrity cooking events, wine tasting, learning water colors, starting a blog, practicing Reiki, crafting mosaic projects -I haven’t exhausted the option on learning new things yet 😉
I ventured into some pretty exciting jobs and projects in my career. Working on the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur for the Taj group of hotels was one of the best things that happened to me. Close second is the seven star luxury island resort project I did in Maldives.
Almost twenty years ago
I explored the city of New Delhi to my heart’s content, most of the times by myself. I fell in love with the gardens and the monuments, both a delight to be in during the winter season. In fact Delhi transitions into a gorgeous butterfly during the winter months. Delightful flea markets, flower shows, alfresco dining, art shows, music festivals and many more such social events liven up the city.
I don’t mind telling you that I have lost plenty of friendships in these twenty odd years. My oldest relationship is about ten years old and is with a truly kindred soul who understands me well. But other than that, most of my friendships are relatively new and keep changing over the years. (Of course I have friends that go back to school days but that’s much before the twenty years that I am talking about here.)
The key thing in all of these years has been my independence and I wouldn’t trade it even today for anything at all. Its been almost twenty years of living on my own and I can honestly tell you that I love it. And all of my learning of these years is that I must love and accept myself as I am, the world and its opinion be damned.
I am really excited to read everyone’s post on this blast from the past kinda prompt – hope you like mine!
I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and this post is in response to the prompt “Twenty years ago, I..”. This bloghop has about 29 participants. I received this tag from Mahathi Ramya at Fantastic feathers It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Keerthi Vydula at Thoughts thru lens
40 thoughts on “#WordsMatter- Twenty years ago I escaped from home”
Wow! You’ve led a very interesting life for sure, Shalini. I admire your ability to stand up for what you believe in and tell it like it is. Stay you! Hugs.
Thats the best thing to say to me and I am so happy to hear you like me as is 🙂 Thanks so much Corinne!!
how lovely to know so much about you Shalini, in this post. Love the way you live your life on your own terms and do so many interesting things. I am yet to make that herbal shampoo but ill let you know how it was once i make it. Love.
Oh this is so sweet Tina-thank you so much for the lovely words. I look forward to hearing your experiences with the shampoo 🙂
I understand, the independence and happiness. You explored a lot of hobbies, great
Thanks so much Ramya 🙂
It must have been quite an adventure exploring Delhi on your own then …though I always dreaded the blue line buses when I had moved
Ha ha – yes the Delhi buses were called the killer buses. In fact there was a joke that they were earlier called red line and then blue line – first the blood is red and then it turns blue with time. Its a very sad joke but it was quite prevalent when I had come to Delhi. My experiences in the DTC buses was typical and I thankfully discovered chartered buses which were far more civilized as far as the crowd was concerned. But I give full credit to the DTC buses for my foray into discovering Delhi as I could do it very cheaply and easily. I used to go out on weekends in these buses and just roam one locality to another -very soon my circle of people had started to depend on me to chart their routes as I was so well versed with Delhi roads 😉 (Those were the days of no google maps)
It’s good to sometimes look back and see how far you’ve come. Your experiences – good and not-so-good have shaped who you are today and as you said, your independence is probably the biggest thing you value. It’s something I love too
I treasure it Sanch-people have asked me number of times if I dont get scared living alone. And I am like scared-why? I guess I was always a loner and now this lifestyle fits me so well that I am loathe to give it up 🙂
You have lived your life on your terms and enjoyed it too. That must have been an amazing journey. Kudos to you.
Thanks Jyothi-it does feel like that when I look back at it 🙂
The world and its opinions be damned! That’s precisely what life teaches us, isn’t it?
You sure have lived a very adventurous life, Shalz! And, that’s what’s made you so strong, so courageous.
Hugs to you to Shilpa for so much love and support-treasure you as one of my best blogging buddies around 🙂
Wow Boss Girl! Your journey over the last 20 years has been really something. You had (and have) the grit to own your life.
To share my bit, I moved to Delhi around the same time as you did. I found a handful of great friends in the second year of my stay in Delhi and they made those days the best days of my life. After all these years, how many am I still in touch with? No one because all of us have grown up and apart. Friendships keep changing as we change and everyone else change.
Thanks Anu-thats feels good to hear. I had no choice but to tend to myself in the best way possible. I guess necessity is the mother of invention after all and thats what happened with me too. Over time, its become a personality trait with me.
I know friends come and go; but if the memories are good then the connect stays on longer than we know. I am sure if you meet these friends unexpectedly, there would be a connection still left and you would be glad to meet one another.
I have burnt my bridges with some of the ones I am out of touch with and thats been intentional as it was a fall out. Rest, if we meet somewhere or even on FB, there is an interaction even if we are not the closest of friends. Some have of course just disappeared. though I do remember them from time to time 🙂
I loved this post. It got me to know you a little more and I am so glad to know you. You are strong and I admire you for being you! Thank you Shalini for joining us. This was one of my favorite posts from the edition.
Btw – that photo from 20 years is a sweet one! Loved it!
Oh how lovely to hear that Parul- thank you so much 🙂 I am totally loving the blog hop and glad to be a part of it.
Those last two things you said about valuing your independence and learning new things – those are the most empowering traits for anyone. I love your love for life and the way you go out looking for new experiences. Which is why you’ve had such a colourful life. My very first job was in Delhi and like you I stayed with a relative for a few months then moved to a Working Women’s hostel in Hauz Khas. I loved living in a hostel – the companionship you find there coupled with new found financial independence is fantastic. Delhi reminds me of all that – of treats at Nirula and movies at Priya Cinema.
Oh yes Nirulas and Priya were my favorite places too and how I miss those days. Whenever I can I order the HFC from Nirula’s to sate some of that nostalgia and of course the sweet buds too 😉
I am happy to have this time out in Delhi to develop myself-certainly hardened my inner core with resolve and determination to survive against all odds.
Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have known each other then Tulika? 😉
It sure would have. They were such carefree times.
I loved that photo of you from 20 years ago, Shalini. You have a very busy and interesting life. But then haven’t we all in 20 years, right? I love how much you value your independence and the way you stand up for what you believe in. And the number of activities you have taken upon all these years, that’s amazing. Learning is a wonderful quality to have in anyone. You are awesome.
Thanks so much Vinitha-what lovely things to hear about oneself. I am thoroughly loving the comments on this post of mine and am so glad that I wrote about my life here. In fact this prompt led to some very interesting posts from everyone 🙂
I feel proud to know a girl like you..You have had an amazing journey and keep the excitement alive in the next 20 years. I love Delhi as a tourist destination. You did the Umaid Bhawan..wow..I think you have lived life on your own terms and that is your biggest achievement in life. Kudos.
I am happy that you are proud to know me Balaka 🙂
I hope to live it up for the next 20 or whatever odd years there are in this lifetime. Cheers to you too!
I would say you had a quite colorful life and experienced different shades of each color. I am sure you are going to unveil a lot more in future. I admire you for what you are and as is…I hear you and applaud it when you say ‘opinions be damned’. More power to you shalz. Maintain that lovely smile as always and be what you want to be. Love & Hugs, Kheer.
Thanks so much Keerthi-writing on this prompt made me acknowledge this journey in a very introspective way. I am glad I wrote about it and its been appreciated so much. Love & Hugs to you too Kheer!!! 🙂
You’ve come a long way as the Virginia Sims ad used to say. it’s so wonderful to look back and see this journey retrospectively. Some moments must have been hard indeed but you did it. i wonder what your story will be went years hence seeing how you metamorphose from teenager to adulthood
Thanks so much Sunita 🙂 It feels good to know my journey is being appreciated and I am so glad that I chose to express it all here.
Wow Shalz. When it comes to your last two posts I’ve noticed I couldn’t comment immediately. I read and let the feeling stay for a day or so and then comment on it. That’s how powerful your writing is. You’ve done a great job and honestly you are interesting and strong.
I’ve wanted to run away from home too, go to a far off college and know what life is. But life definitely taught me more about life just the way it is. For each one the experiences are different, but what really matters is the lesson we learn from it. Let the feelings and words of others be damned. Follow your heart and rule your life. You fit this saying in such a beautiful way. I’ve always been fond of Soumya for her honesty and now I’m impressed by you. Such lovely people to find online I’m still surprised.
Wow Jayanthy- you have blown me away with your comment. I admire Soumya too a lot and it feels good to have someone else say such nice things about her. She is one great connect through blogging that I have made and am very grateful of this.
I am so happy to hear my writing comes across as powerful; thank you for being so encouraging with your words. I hope to see you on my posts frequently as I simply love such open faced honesty and feedback. Stay blessed 🙂
Oscar Wilde says, “Be yourself for everyone else is taken.” You are one gritty girl who lives life like she wants, no apologies! It was interesting to learn more about you Shalini. You’ve achieved quite a bit and the best part is you are continuing to learn and grow. Cheers!
Love that quote Kala-thanks for the vote of confidence 🙂 Cheers!
You are a brave girl! May you always have this independence of spirit and openness to learning!
Thanks so much Sunita-fingers crossed 🙂
I really admire how fiercely you guard your independence. You do so many awesome things, experiencing life as it comes. As it always happen with brave souls, not many understand or can be with them in their journey and fall outs happen. But that is a part of learning too. You continue being the amazing, energetic and free spirit that you are meant to be.
Thanks Raji-that sounds like you really get me 🙂 I am not scared of the fall outs anymore and in fact made my circle tighter. I am a very loyal person, so when someone hurts me; it really hurts. I do move on but never look back on it as it makes no sense to me. People call me hard or unbending but this is the way I work.
Love you for understanding me so well
Wow! The Last 20 years have been truly eventful and interesting for you! You have come a long way, girl! Here’s to the next 20, may they bring lots of happiness, warm friendships and success in everything you do. Cheers ♥
Thanks Shilpa for the love and wishes