“I’ve been a ‘good girl’ all my life. Doing all the ‘right’ things, adhering to ideas and norms that was expected of me. For the longest time, I was scared to tip the status quo, of doing something that would disrupt the balance. Till a Colombian abuelita (grandmother), one day, jolted me to reality, showing me all that I had been missing out on. “At this age, you should be full of life, mija!” — she had told me and that was probably the first time, I let myself have some fun without a care of what others would think.
I am a single child of strict Mangalorean parents hailing from a small town in coastal Karnataka. But I am not complaining. I love my hometown — the calm, the sea, the food, the people, the language. I’ve always been fascinated by languages — I speak five myself. And serendipitously, it was because of a language that I could leave my cosy, sheltered life in this country and venture out into the world. I taught English in Colombia and undoubtedly, it was a life-changing experience. Not less than an adventure that Columbus had embarked on. However, instead of discovering new countries, I discovered myself. Things which seemed normal and unquestionable back at home seemed so easily fallible here. And the best part was teaching — doing something I absolutely love in a place that gave me so much.
I’ve been lucky to be able to do jobs that I’ve been passionate about. Be it a non-profit that works with artists and their artwork or Donatekart — my workplaces have always been full of wonderful learning opportunities.
I find it wonderful how after reaching a certain age, you see things from a different lens. Where you accept yourself as is — embracing both your shortcomings and your feats. You realise how pleasing everyone is not only taxing but also harmful for your own mental peace. And finally, you realise how your work is only a part of who you are. Not the entire ‘you’.
Looking back, my only piece of advice to my younger self would be to live in the moment, finding joy in the little things and to be unapologetically you. Even if that meant being a leader who doesn’t stick to the stereotypical notions of being an aggressive hustler but chooses to build a rapport with her team.”
-Shrisha Shetty, Head of Campaigns