FEATURED WRITER: Swathi Chakravarthy on ‘Bursting Out from the Cocoon’

All of us have go through that point in life when despite being on the cusp of adulthood, we feel young and wary. All the world wants is for us to burst forth and evolve, while we want things to stay the way there are, for a tad longer.
Swathi Chakravarthy writes on leaving her well-loved comfort zone to pursue the future. 

It was the end of Summer. I was packed and ready to leave in two days. After a lot of back and forth conversations with my father, he managed to instill a smidgen of confidence in me to woman up and do it! There I was, excited to set foot on the country spoken so highly about and at the same time, edgy to be leaving my comfort zone to pursue my future.

Let me paint you a little picture.
I was in that arduous period in my life where I had to decide how I wanted to carry forward my career to the next level. Several unsolicited options poured in of course but I paid no heed to anyone. Having travelled around the globe, my father insisted that I move abroad - to evolve a cosmopolitan outlook and also envision the world through my own eyes instead of my parents. I, on the other hand, had no intentions to take up such a venture. I dodged this discussion to the best of my abilities but to no avail. The thought of moving away from my security blanket a.k.a ‘amma’ and ‘appa’ scared the bejeesus out of me. I was not ready, nor was I willing to attempt to be so. The usual counselling and career guidance monologues popped up like weeds in my college campus. Finally, I gave in. The initial phases of entrance tests and application processes kept me preoccupied and so, I didn’t have a chance to fully digest the situation. Before I knew it, I had a school picked out, suitcases sorted out, and travel tickets were getting booked, one after the other. A domino effect had set in. I was lucky enough to catch a couple of hours in between this commotion to savour the happenings and understand the depth of the matter.

During my childhood days, I lived in Singapore with my parents and my little sister. Singapore had set great expectations for me. I would be lying if I said I loved my move back to India, because deep down, I did leave a piece of my heart in the pint-sized island. I extrapolated similar experiences for my future in the US. Thus, I started pulling petals off a flower by jotting down my own analysis of ‘To go’ or ‘Not to go’ reasons. I penned it all down - weather, culture, exposure, career growth. Moving to the United States got shinier as I elaborated on my points. But, the one straw that finally broke the camel’s back was the fact of having to live with strangers and not have my family with me, in a new continent, 22 hours away by air. This petrified me. It made all the rainbows that had formed on the paper before me fade away. But somewhere along the tug-of-war, I knew I wanted to explore. I knew I wanted to go. I took a deep breath and jumped - onto the plane.
Moving to the US was one of my first solo adventures. I landed in sunny California and the rest is what they call history. As a student, I found it hard to balance schoolwork coupled with a lot of adulting. It was new and unsettling, yet challenging and intriguing. I learnt a lot about the diverse culture of people I lived with, made new friends, exposed my palate to a wide spectrum of cuisines, and learnt to do things independently. I roved a lot within the country and I can guarantee that any traveller would acknowledge how travel makes one modest. I did have my down moments when I wanted to run back home, but I was getting to like the person I was becoming. After being cocooned within my family for two decades, I saw myself metamorphosing into something different and colorful. The overall experience was like a rocky road ice cream with mellow days bumped with unexpected experiences. 

Fast forward five years later to today, I cannot begin to explain how overwhelming this journey has been. I am ever thankful to my support system back home for pushing me out of my comfort zone and I am more than proud of the younger me who did woman up to take the plunge!


About the Writer:
Swathi Chakravarthy is a budding writer who has taken to writing just about anything that moves her from within. She is an avid traveller and even more, a travel blogger. She does her best writing in-flights, and in the wee hours of the morning in her cozy chair at home. She maintains a personal blog page, ‘To-Pen-It-To-Pen-It-Not’ where she opines about a gamut of topics from how a musical concert stirred her soul to how her world revolves around her daily dose of  ‘Chai’. She currently lives in sunny California with her husband.

Swathi has been working on her craft in an Online Creative Non-Fiction Workshop with Shweta, the Editor of Inkspire. This piece was her final assignment and is the culmination of six weeks of work.
This is what she had to say about the workshop, "I have often been a bashful writer. My love for writing usually doesn’t reach the public eye due to my fear of judgement. I enrolled in this workshop hoping to write better to trust myself to write out loud. Shweta was so inspiring in terms of her comments to my write-ups and her encouragement to do better." 


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