Tracing My Path to Knowing ‘Success’

Waking up on a Monday morning at 7, eating half-boiled eggs on your way, running to chase the bus to MG road, and finally checking in at 9:30 sharp to not miss out on that attendance. Is this the reality for most of us—the working us—the hustlers?

What is the meaning of the life you are currently living —does this thought ever bother you? Is the shape we are moulding our lives into exactly how we wanted it to be? Are we heading somewhere at all? Or more so, are we really successful at all?

Ponder, most often than not, we tend to ignore the fact that there exists something that drives us forward in life, to make us who and what we are. We call it passion, the driving force that qualifies us as “successful”.

Let’s take a throwback to some twenty-odd years. I, like most of us, was asked, “What do you want to become when you grow up?” Being afraid to be termed as an “average kid with no ambition”, I used to give a response without actually having an answer. I vividly remember my replies chronologically, which began from, “I want to go to NASA.”, to “I want to become a scientist.”, which became, ”I want to become an IAS officer.”, and later even “I want to work for an MNC”, having absolutely no idea what an MNC is. To me, it just sounded fancy!

Aiming to excel

I was that child who wanted to excel in everything—every subject and every competition. To be honest, I did fairly well in most of them. I never asked myself if there’s anything particular that drives me; if there’s one thing that I can call my passion. I didn’t question because I did not want to do well in just one thing. I just couldn’t lose out on anything because that would make me an “average student”. And to me, that would mean I am failing. And, I feared failure. Badly. I wouldn’t know how to cope with it. I had to succeed which is why I studied hard, I competed harder. Being the best, being a topper was my happiness, my only source of motivation. At that point, I didn’t realise that I was conditioning myself into someone who couldn’t take failures.

Then came the time to make a decision that would influence an actual career path—the big divide of subject streams—Science, Commerce or Arts. At this point, one thing that I was sure of was taking PCM, not because it was considered crème de la crème, but because I actually liked these subjects.

Soon after, again the question popped. What after the 12th? I had no answer, again. I had done no research. I only kept studying to get good board exam results as was expected. I put in multiple applications for multiple exams, cleared most of those but again with no sense of clarity on what I actually wanted to pursue.

In my school days, art and literature were my keen interests. There was a point when I did want to pursue design but the rhetoric of “you are good at academics, nothing else will justify your talent” pushed away that zeal and I missed out on filling application forms for design colleges.

So, I took admission as a commerce student (as a backup, just in case) and started preparing for design entrances simultaneously.

While preparing, I knew I would make it through. I was a little scared but thinking that I might just be doing what has the potential of turning into a passion, made me happy. Results came out. I topped the entrance. And, I secured admission to NIFT-Delhi.

On to a new adventure

Throughout my student life, I had not only conditioned myself to fear failure but also became so comfortable in the home environment, that when the time came to actually take the plunge, I panicked. I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue designing at all. I also couldn’t leave home. So I decided not to pursue it. My decision was coated with the belief of me being adept only for academic-related career options and nothing else. I convinced myself of that, unaware of what harm I was imposing onto myself inadvertently.

I resumed studying B.Com and started preparing for the big ones then—CAT and other management-related exams. Being a commerce graduate, pursuing a Master’s degree in management would make sense. I was fairing well, but not so well this time. The school was easier because doing the best was my only driving force. But this time, I felt I belonged somewhere else. Somewhere in the fashion industry. This thought never left my mind, and I always shrugged it away thinking “only academics would justify my worth”.

All this continued and so did denial. I was clueless and gradually depression crept in. It was clinical and to top it all, my latent anxious behaviour had now become a disorder. This was the time I realised, with surety, I did not belong where I was. The know-how of fashion, clothes, malls, fabric, retail stores, their management— that’s where I wanted to be.

So, I decided to give it one more shot. I secured myself a seat for a Master’s in Design at NIFT Delhi. I joined it this time, got the courage to move out of home and just when I thought I am actually shaping my career now, I found myself not enjoying the course and the depression retracted. I left. I came back home. Once again I was clueless, sad and filled with more self-doubt.

Somehow, I didn’t want to give up this time. One fine day, I happened to research all the Master’s programmes offered by NIFT across branches. I found one course in NIFT Rae Bareli, Master of Fashion Management, which was cohesive to my B.Com background plus it was directly associated with the industry I wanted to work in. The campus was closest to my home, and so I decided to give this a final try. The campus was nearby, and the course. This felt like a weight of a hundred tons lifting from my body.

I went to NIFT Rae Bareli.

It was the best leap of faith I ever took. I knew I would perform well and I did. And this time, it was with happiness and clarity. I was happy.

All this made me believe that it was all okay. It’s okay to not know sometimes. It’s okay to feel lost because only then one can find their way back. There are few paths that have always existed but it’s just that we never knew that they did.

I kept going on. I stumbled, but I kept on. I doubted, but I kept on. All this has brought me to where I am today.

Living the life I wanted

Today, I am a part of such a beautiful team and workplace. For the world it is FableStreet, for me, it’s my second home. I found my true self in NIFT Rae Bareli but I “grew” at FableStreet. It is here where I am learning each day. I will continue to do that. What is the feeling of success like now? The success which I find each day. There are new goals and new milestones to achieve each day. It does get a little difficult sometimes but that’s okay. It’s all okay. Has anything worthwhile ever come easy?

So summing it all, I am still on a journey, like most of us. Still finding success in everyday life.
When I look back, I have no regrets, only learnings— learnings which I will nurture and pass with utmost sincerity, pride and joy.

Cheers to finding yourself!
Cheers to your journey!
Cheers to your success!
Cheers to finding yourself on that journey 🙂

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