Jan 19, 2015

My Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’- #UseYourAnd

And I discovered there is more to myself!
There is not one but many ways to describe ME and yet there is not one thing that can fully define ME.
I am multi-faceted AND multi-talented.
I feel blessed I am ME.

My story did not begin when I was born. My story began when my mother left me. Forever! Her death gave birth to a new me. My journey of life surely began as the only daughter in a nuclear family  who could choose to be responsible or while her time away. Living the luxuries, being taken care of and being pampered to the hilt, I was my mother's only pet and treasured baby. But the day she died, she left me and my dad a broken mess. I was left with no option but to pick up the threads of my life on my own. I was no more a child or that spoilt teenager. I had transformed, overnight! Jerked out of my comfort zone it was almost like learning to live all over again. I wasn't only the daughter but now also the only lady in the house, my father's soul support. His only and sole support!


The year my mother was diagnosed of her acutely failing health, it had been the last academic year for me to secure a degree in Commercial Arts. I had to quit my studies for it was just my father and I who were battling by my mother's side in her struggle for life, against acute renal failure. Mum loved Pune so we shifted. After a year of neglecting my studies, I enrolled myself back into the university and appeared for my final exams through an entirely new college. I decided I would juggle all my responsibilities. With minimum attendance recorded and almost no training at college because most of my time was spent outside the ICU where my mother got admitted time and again all through that horrible year, I managed to pass with flying colours.



And before I begin to sound like a martyr I wish to bow out and say this post, is not a vanity trip and neither is it because I wish to gloat about my successes. I write to inspire. To tell my friends, LIFE is what you make of it. Get a grip on it and march on!

This is the era of the woman. The woman who will not and need not,submit herself to circumstances.

God had his own blue plan drafted for my life but that did not mean he stopped me from walking the path I believed would lead me to my goals. There were just torturous hurdles that I had to fight tooth and nail to overcome. I was a super ambitious girl with a zest and zeal for life that ran in my veins, like it rushed in my mother's. She had left us physically but haunted me in my dreams, egging me on to pursue my career and make the best of what I had. And what I had, by God's grace was a lot- my talent,a gift from God, my writing skills.

We had shifted home from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai to the more serene Pune, so that my mother's health may improve but sadly, that was not destined. What was in my destiny, was the struggle people predicted that lay ahead of me. When I proposed that I would take up a job in the Advertising Industry, my Puneite neighbours who surely meant well, painted a very bleak picture in front of my eyes.

"Pune lags a decade behind as compared to Mumbai. Don't expect a writing career like the one you would have had in Mumbai!"

"Pune works less and sleeps away most part of the day.Starting a career from scratch over here is bound to result in ziltch!" 

While the aunties had even wiser words for me.
"Darling, without your mother around, your father will be worried for you. Why do you want to go out into a new city and chase a career in an almost non-existent industry? Why don't you get married and settle down? "

Another said, "Look! Your father will not be able to find a nice groom for you on his own. let me help you! We start looking now. We may find someone in a couple of years. Don't waste your time on a hopeless career."

Little did they know that I had always been a rebel. And my father always surprisingly never let the fire in my belly be doused. In fact he gave fuel to it! I refused to cower to this dim fate that all were spewing like venom into my ears and my father was like the antidote, instilling undying hope. I could never imagine my mother patting my back on settling down for a lesser life. I dreamt of making my parents proud. Marriage and kids, the easy life was not a choice I planned to make at that point! Then it would have definitely meant a compromise.

So I rose, intending to stand on my own two feet and began to explore Pune who was a stranger to me. As soon as I secured my degree I interviewed for a job opening and also got selected as English Copywriter at a leading Ad' agency in Pune. I was to be the highest paid fresher at that time but the very first day at office turned out a fiasco. An extremely modern looking girl with western dressing sense was probably indigestible. And sexual innuendos, attempts of harassment were completely unacceptable to me. A loud and tight slap- in-the-old-bugger's-face later, I barged into the boss's cabin. Finding no consolation there from another old lecher, I walked out on the job and floated my own Advertising agency. 

I am happy to share that my passion for writing took me from strength to strength in the following years of dedication and focus. Pune had very few good English Copy-writers in those days and being a small city, word spread like wild fire. I rode the wave like a queen and began to bag big clients and small, big projects and small like no other. Soon I was being hired on retainership by leading Ad' agencies of Pune. The stranger of a city gave me many new and loving friends, who saw the passion in my eyes and spirit in my heart.

One day I was recommended to the Editor of one of the Times Of India Supplements and was called in for an interview. In 2006 I saw myself discovering a new interest and knack for journalism. My feature articles were being appreciated.I brought my father's name into print with a bold byline on the front pages and Page 3 of the leading daily newspaper of India. 

2007 gave me the love of my life and that's another heartening but long story of how I made an uncompromising choice. 

Life was good to me and God was being kind. I was now not only a daughter, I was also a wife and a daughter-in-law. These men in my life are made of another metal I believe. They give impetus to my woman power. They believe in me and I love them for that. God has blessed me with a family of REAL men.   


In 2008 with my father-in-law's blessings and constant cajoling to take another leap in my career, I inaugurated my own Art Gallery that would help me pursue my other undying passion-Art. AND I became an art curator.

The following year I was taken to a whole new level of life. Motherhood! This becomes a turning point in most women's life and usually we mellow down. I am a true Capricorn and family is of utmost priority to me but I also refused to let go of my own singular identity. Like every other new mother I gave my baby my days and my nights. I didn't have the comforting presence of my mother or my mother-in-law by my side. I drew strength from my prayers and meditation. Like mostly all women do, life posed the biggest question before me too. Do you wish to be a doting mother OR that famous writer, you always wanted to be? After much deliberation with my own self, I decided I had to delete that OR and type in an AND. Remove that question mark and make it an exclamatory!

I let my heart rule but made my mind search for a way to make both ends meet. A stay-at-home mum who desperately willed her career not die a premature death. In 2009 I took to Blogging and look half a decade down the line, here I am! Still at it. A happy wife AND a doting mother to two naughty sons.  In 2011 with my very first book titled 'NOT TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE' I became a published author AND with my own label of hand-painted fashion accessories I became a serial entrepreneur.
Then I was invited to blog at an international portal AND so I am a fashion blogger at http://wearethecity.in/blogs/vibhuti-bhandarkar-virtual-social-blogger/
 I am a social media strategist AND an artist. AND I am also the founder of a Women Entrepreneur's group called 'Amazing Woman Entrepreneurs' where I coax women to rise and shine to show how AWEsome we really are!

So this post is simply an attempt to inspire you all to #UseYourAnd like I did. I have been interviewed and written about in the Pune and Mumbai's leading newspapers, more than many times. I wish you celebrate your AND like I am doing. Push yourself out of the comfort zone of excuses and strain yourself to reach out for your dreams and ambitions. Don't remain debating between the ORs. Don't let that creepy word bog you down. This AND has much to offer. Your dreams, your identity, your happiness!

I am thankful to Gillette Venus and BlogAdda for triggering such a lovely blogging idea where women will be motivated to break out of the shackles of the 'OR'  to wake up and embrace the 'AND' within.

If my story has inspired you enough, watch this video to know more about how you can  #UseYourAnd 








This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus

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