jogging in a rat race..


Embracing odds and making it even: namrata

It would be unfair to say that Namrata, a freelance editor and multimedia strategist, is only a warrior. She is a yodha – a person with a mind as calm as a saint yet spirited as a one who wields a sword. I am sure there are many such women men among us but we do not breathe pause to take note.
In my search for a creative designer for Nivasini, I contacted Sridevi, an old freelance designer – extremely talented, patient, intelligent and hardworking. And through our conversations I learnt she has a story published through Jauggernaut (edited by Namrata). Namrata is an old acquaintance and on meeting her, I realized the beautiful person she is. Here’s an interview about jogging in a rat race.
Please can you tell about your academic background?
I hold a masters in strategic finance with a specialization in taxation and audit. Apart from that I have a diploma in multimedia and one in customer service too. After I quit my full time job of a banker I also did few courses on creative writing and literary criticism. As of now I am working on my dissertation.
What inspired you to take up freelancing – here is where you can tell your story?
There are many times in life that we come across situations where we have no choice. We just have to. Quitting my job and taking up freelancing was one such thing. I just had to, I didn’t have a choice.
I was keeping unwell for many months now and my doctor had advised hospitalization for atleast 3 weeks. My boss refused me leave, as he was already fed up with my frequent leaves. In very polite words I was told they could no longer accommodate me given the current situation.
One of my closest friend had been suggesting me since months to take a sabbatical, if nothing else then for my health.  Once I was stable health wise I could always look for jobs and come back. Given my nature I wasn’t okay quitting without anything to keep me occupied and also as a source of income, however small. I was fortunate when I quit I already had two editing projects on hand which were paying me at least half of what I earned a month and that was comforting enough.
I would like to mention here that before plunging into it all lock, stock and barrel I had spent 4.5 years building my online presence in terms of a blogger, a book reviewer (my review blog has been amongst the top 50 review blogs of India consecutively for last 5 years), working as an editor for a magazine briefly and also trying my hand at working with publishing houses as an intern just to learn how it all works. Like it is said, the odds were in my favor. Of course I was doing all this because someday I saw myself working on it full time but the question that always remained unanswered was “when”. This forced sabbatical gave me an answer to that when. It was now, or never.
The only soothing fact was that IF this didn’t work, I always had a back up of going back to banking after few months of recuperation. Yes, that’s how I was. I needed a plan B to comfort myself thinking what if Plan A didn’t work. That gave me the confidence to leave my comfort zone behind and take a leap of faith.
Today three years after that big leap, I can clearly vouch for the joy I am surrounded with because not only am I doing something I love, I have also managed to make a living out it.
How did you find motivation to rise up to doing the tons of things you do today?
Blame it on my hyperactive nature, but I started with only one thing that is editing. Manuscript review happened much later when someone offered me to do that, citing my book reviews experience. “It is just an unpublished book for you” was what I was told. But I tried to improvise it further by adding more analytics to it and making it loaded with information. A decade as a banker and ROI is what I always think of! This was my way of calculating the ROI.

My experience in customer service ensured I spoke to authors at great lengths trying to understand things from their perspective. Writing is a very lonely process and there are times you are stuck at a juncture for a long time not knowing what to do. That is what gave the idea of becoming a writing buddy. I wanted to be that one person you can keep bouncing off your ideas without sounding weird, someone who could understand why are you up at 3 AM crying at the death of a character  and a person who could see your baby, your manuscript under a new light and value it as much as the author did.

Honestly there are days when I am down in dumps. I wallow in self pity and cry for things beyond my control. But at such times I always try and remind myself of one thing, “If you could come so far, you can go ahead also. This is nothing. It is just a bump, a small turn where there are new roads waiting for you. This is not the destination neither is it the pit where if you fall you cannot climb out.”
Motivation always came in the form of more work and client appreciation. It encouraged me to keep doing what all I did.
 What are you other interests?
Apart from reading and writing, I do pottery, paint and dance too. I have learnt 9 forms of dancing till now and it is exhilarating to give my inner most feelings an expression through that at times.
How do you stay motivated?
Whenever I am stuck badly in life there are always two options for me.
1. You take rest and gather some strength before going on.
2. You push your limits and reach your goal anyhow.
Quitting is never an option that I can see and maybe that’s what keeps me motivated.
There are innumerable people suffering from various health conditions but they give up. If you had a meeting with one of them for 2-3 minutes what would you say?

First of all I would like to say that every individual’s battle is unique and only they can judge how bad it is. Like in my case my own brother couldn’t understand the reason for my depression and ended up making fun of it for years though he also shared the same surroundings while growing up. It is something as simple as your favourite need not be mine.

If there is one thing I would like to tell them then it would be “accept the problem”. I have seen a lot of people ignoring the whole problem because of the social stigma attached to it. Once you accept it, you will automatically gather the strength to overcome it.
Believe in yourself. There will always be someone better than you, but there will only be ONE you.  Life is not a race where you need to keep running and win. Sometimes just running in itself is enough, because it means you didn’t give up.
Listen to your body. That is something I learnt after I fell sick badly. Our body gives out warning signs much before the final collapse.  Also, I learnt the art of saying no. It might sound harsh but it is important for one’s mental peace. Say no when you don’t like something , say no when you can’t do something. Say no to people who are toxic. To things that do you no good.  I saw a drastic change on my health after I started practising this.  Do what you love and love what you do. Remember everything said and done YOU are important, your happiness matters and your thoughts mean a lot.
Never let someone define you, for they will do that basis their parameters. And lastly be you. Always remember, if one bought a bitter gourd sapling and watered it with sweetened water everyday, it will still give out bitter gourds. Their taste won’t change because you want them to. That’s because nature has made them like this and they are sticking to their nature. It is difficult to please everyone by changing. Please yourself by staying true to your nature and rest all will fall in place.
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