I started to study at a very humble playschool located nearby our home in the early 90’s. I was barely three-years-old when my father accompanied me to collect my very first progress report card. My class teacher was a very kind lady. I still remember standing near the door of the classroom as I saw her handing over my report card to dad with a broad smile. My father walked towards me, I held on to his finger and moved towards his blue-colored Bajaj scooter parked somewhere around the building. He didn’t tell me anything regarding my progress at the school. Probably he thought I was too little to understand. However, on reaching home my first question to him was, “Pappa what happened at the school? What did my teacher say?” “You’ve done better than anyone else in your class”, he responded. I somehow knew that my dad was proud of me and it was at this occasion when the seeds of aspirations were sown in the wet soil of my mind for the first time.

Since then, I did well academically, studied Engineering and secured a good paying job. Years passed in the blink of an eye and the overwhelming dose of aspiration injected into my mind was now dozing me off. Needless to mention, I became a sheep with no firm goals and a part of the rat race very soon. My life was reduced to completing daily tasks on the desk, going back home, watching a TV show and repeating it all over again the other day. I was 23 and by then had received some seven-eight marriage proposals. I aspired to have a fancy marriage of my dreams which seemed unaffordable then so turned down all such offers. I aspired to pay off my family’s loans, buy a new house, a new car, travel across the world and donate a share of my earnings to those in need. But how was all this possible by doing something which I never had fun with? I dreaded going to work almost everyday. The corporate life took to my nerves but I had no choice. It was too late as I was by now shouldering a major portion of the financial responsibility for my family. Taking that ‘bold’ step of leaving the job could bring down everyone’s expectations into dust. And I wasn’t courageous enough too. I dragged myself to work everyday, cursing myself, my family, and the whole social structure. I was drained out of emotional energy and reduced to bones, until one day I randomly happened to write down something in my phone. I called it to be poem then but today after four years, I am convinced that it was far from being one.

Fortunately, since then there was no looking back. I spilled everything in my heart on the paper. The sky now appeared clearer than before and small efforts each day laid down the foundation of what I aspire to do for the rest of my life. Never had I thought I’ll be writing for the big names in the country, nor I ever had a scope to think out of the box. However, I now find inspiration everywhere, there’s hope looking straight into my eyes and smiling at me. Although I haven’t quit my job, I have found means to take up whatever excites me alongside. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. And trust me there’s nothing that could be more enthralling than that!

And the best part is —

My aspirations have changed and I haven’t stopped aspiring. For aspiration is life and I am yet alive.

— Nazneen Kachwala