Why I chose entrepreneurship over a six figure salary - Part II

Posted by Shabia Walia on

Once I took the leap from teaching to media full time, I bloomed. I did non-fiction, launched a news channel as core team, was chief entertainment editor, interviewed celebrities, anchored news bulletins, wrote a column on God for Bombay Times, did fiction and donned several hats as writer, creative director, producer over the years. The years did quickly go by but not without event. A setback took me to Delhi but I turned it on its head by finding love and a husband on that journey. How I found him is a blog for another day. But yes, I learnt living on my own after being a protected daughter for several years and once I came back to Mumbai, my equity as a professional grew even more. I was earning a six figure salary, my bosses loved me, I kept getting offers, everything you need to safely call yourself ‘good at your work'.

Living in converted into marriage and as my husband zipped across continents shooting various films, I grew leaps and bounds in my own field. We both were doing well but my heart ached for a baby. And after three years of marriage we had one. That was the turning point, as it is for most women. I wanted to be with her but at the same time did not want to lose what I had gathered over the years. A neat work profile.

When Sia was barely two months old, she used to sleep for 4 hours at a stretch after her massage and bath. Everyone advised me to use those 4 hours to catch up on sleep but sleep is not your slave and after a few days of trying to do that, I gave up. And then an idea struck me.

I had read and researched a lot before and during my pregnancy. I was so obsessed with the idea that by the time I really got pregnant, I was a walking talking encyclopedia on the subject. I remember I had a bb messenger group where I would often advise mothers on what to do when the baby was crying incessantly or not sleeping at night. Breastfeeding, sleep training, home remedies, colic, you ask me and I had the answers. I decided to converge all this information into a book. So while Sia slept, I typed away like a maniac. I wrote down the index and the chapters first. This way I had a goal of completing it chapter by chapter. And in about 45-50 days I had my book, complete. Did you hear that? I had written a book while being a fairly new mommy. I called it Mamma Mania and it changed my life in ways I had never fathomed.

Mamma Mania got published and got me acclaim from all quarters. Firstly it was a one of its kind book written by an Indian mother and not by a gynecologist or doctor. Secondly it spoke about the trials of conceiving in a mad, fast world in a light, humorous manner. It wasn’t a ‘what to do’ book. It was a conversational book written in the style of one woman talking to another and therein lay its success. Women from all over gushed about how easy it was to read and how they could relive their own pregnancy journeys through it. The fact that the ‘Mamma Mania’ blog I wrote soon after for IBN Live went on to become a huge success, again re-iterated to me that I could write naturally. Good or bad, I wrote from the heart. And this was my strength.

By now I had started working for a leading entertainment channel since I had found a good nanny for my 10 month old baby. Believe me, I was never so unhappy in my entire life. The job stifled me and the guilt of leaving my baby while I contributed to the vast nonsense of melodrama played out everyday, drove me nuts. Somehow I trudged along fighting to lift my spirits each day when all I wanted to do was throw in the hat. And I did. As soon as I completed a year, I resigned, much to the surprise and shock of everyone.

People sarcastically asked me if I thought I was Mother India herself and if they didn’t have babies to take care of. Some warned me about the consequences of leaving such a good job. I would never find work again, some predicted. Some thought I was crazy to expect anything more from a corporate job. Some reminded me how I had the weekends off.

But I did not want to live just on the weekends, I wanted to live each day. I would fight for it. I didn’t want to just exist, I wanted to live. Surely there must be a way of working and living happily, both at the same time.

They say, when you want something badly, it manifests into reality driven by your own energies. And how the universe conspired to make my dream come true, is a miracle in itself. More on that, in my next blog.

To know more about me, click here.


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