Saturday Story 11: Baby Steps
Meghna lay in bed, scrolling through WA messages, adding a smiley here and a thumbs up there. It was past midnight, yet she could not sleep. There were so many thoughts racing through her mind. Had she taken the right call? Was she too young, would she be able to handle the responsibility? It was her mother who had put things in perspective.
“You are not the first woman to do this… “ she said. “Ho jayega.”
Her husband Amit had not been very supportive. After all, they were living a comfortable life – two incomes, teen bedroom ka apartment, four wheel drive. Achcha kamao, achcha khao. Andno losing precious sleep, either. Yeh kaun sa bhoot sawaar ho gaya hai… we have plenty of time ahead. But no, once madam has decided toh bas.
As a new life took shape inside her, everything began changing. She was no longer enamoured with her high-paying job, or the designation that had once meant everything to her. During meetings, she would doodle possible names, on her notepad. Or, sit daydreaming at her desk, imagining what life would be, a few months from now.
And one day, yeh bhi bas ho gaya. When she handed in her resignation, her boss couldn’t believe it. You take your time, Meghna, take a few months off. Why do you need to quit? Rakesh Garg, Principal at OakTree Partners, took it quite personally. There were so few women in private equity. Now, he would have to go back and hire for diversity.
“I wish you all the best, Meghna,” he said, grudgingly, as the farewell cake was cut.
That day, when she walked out of the office carrying her personal belongings, Meghna felt a sense of relief. Maybe, all this while, she had been living someone else’s dream. A dream fed to her by the System, which assigned values to people, based on their paychecks. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 – both students and companies fought to be at the very top of the pyramid.
OakTree Partners was, therefore, Day Zero. And what exactly had she done in her dream job, over the last 4 years? Crushed other people’s dreams. Every day, a dozen young entrepreneurs would send in a proposal for investment. These emails were not even opened, and read by an intern. The folks who got investment always came through reference.
Khair, free of the insane pressures at work, and the toxic back-biting environment, Meghna felt a sense of peace. At the same time, she had no plans of sitting still. There was so much to be done! Seeing her working on the laptop, without the usual frown, even Amit relented. Maybe, Meghna was right, surely there were exciting days ahead…
“Hello my jaan,” said the familiar voice on the phone. “I have a surprise for you… check your WA.”
It was Ritu, her bestie from school, also a new mom. In the months since Meghna had quit her job, it was Ritu who stood by her, offered encouragement and support. Motivational quotes, videos and even jokes, for the times when she was low. And a listening ear, when Meghna needed to share her doubts and fears.
With anticipation, Meghna opened Ritu’s message and let out a whoop of joy!
“You shouldn’t have…!” she said, though secretly thrilled. “This is… just too much.”
Last year, Meghna had hosted a baby shower for her best friend. And now, Ritu was returning the favour. Every girl needs a friend like this.
Someone who understands you, stands by you. And makes sure you get a whole lot of gifts!
The guests were excited, for it was the first time they were attending a ‘business shower’. To celebrate the birth of a start-up.
“A new business, is like a new baby,” said Ritu, raising a toast. “It deserves to be celebrated”.
The attendees gave their blessings, their contacts, their advice. And promised to spread the word.
Meghna smiled, for this was her moment. Pregnant with potential, ‘labour pains’ and a hundred sleepless nights to come. But so worth it.