Since I was a kid, I always felt that I was different and didn’t quite fit in the ‘world’. Many people including my parents and teachers took my introvert character to mean I was shy, unconfident or reserved. In truth none of them applied. Quite the contrary I was confident and forthright. I didn’t speak much because I was an observer and believe me I had much to observe.
From the moment I was a month old, along with my siblings I was brought up in two households: our Indian, one where my father was the oldest of his extended family in England and then the household of Auntie Anne who was in charge of me till I was six years. As if the Indian and Welsh cultures was not enough to fathom, Uncle Constance, Aunty Ann’s husband was Polish and had been captured and made prisoner by the Germans twice and the Russians once during World War II. There was a great deal to absorb spiritually and intellectually.
Whilst it might sound intriguing our upbringing left us with questions. Questions like which culture did we belong to? My parents tried to answer the question by sending us two girls to Welham Girls boarding school situated in Dehradun North India, hoping we would turn out more Indian. That plan backfired. You see, the school was founded by an English lady and some of the prominent posts were held by ex patriots who had grown up in the Raj.
Anyhow, I tried to fit in with my peers and found I was just too different. My sister was better at integrating than I was. I found that my opinions and my excruciating clarity of what I liked and did not like, upset people. I was judged to be ‘quaint and too direct’ (whatever that means). Misunderstood, I found solace in books and that’s when my life truly changed and I found harmony.
Reading helped me realise that I didn’t have to fit in any culture. I learnt to ‘just be me’. I didn’t require labels of nationality, religion, class and status. I had literally stripped myself to the core to understand my ‘Self’.
By the time I finished University, the fog had lifted off my world and I soon found I had infinite possibilities. I learnt to play life winning games like visualization which was easy after a life of observing, storytelling, and reading. I just had to clearly know what I desired, visualize it and work towards it. I learnt to let the seed take root and forget about it and when I least expected it effortlessly took root.
Since I discovered this I found I can fit in easily in several contrasting communities and have many valuable friends in all of them. In the playing field of life I have learnt the importance of story and keen observation and have managed to have several successful careers, primarily in teaching and coaching, with some software engineering splattered in between the jobs. I qualified from university to be a computer scientist and business analyst but got waylaid by helping others find the ‘best they can be’.
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