Saluting The Ghost Ship

10390320_10208436588969245_8875653394517465423_nThe conference room was cold. Maybe, it seemed colder because I was waiting to be interviewed by two editors. I had applied for the role of a reporter/sub-editor at a popular newspaper. My brain was almost ready to shut down, for I had already written a long test that checked my understanding of ‘affect’, and ‘effect’.

The wait was excruciatingly long. The room was close to the printing press, and filled with the intoxicating smell of the fuel that’s used to run the machines. I was sleep-deprived, nervous, and above all… desperate.

“Why are you choosing to leave behind six years of your corporate career?” asked the editor. In retrospect, I think my answer was the most cliched. “Because, I love writing.” The editor smiled, but not convinced. “Why do you love writing?” I didn’t know how to field that question; I wasn’t prepared. Clearing my throat, and drumming my fingers on the table, I took a brave stab, “I like the person I become when I write.” She smiled again, but not convinced yet.

“Are you aware that you will be a beginner here? You will be treated like a trainee.” Was that a warning? I swallowed my ego, along with six years of my corporate experience, and told her that I was ready.

10 days after what I deemed a fiasco of an interview, I sat behind my desk at the newspaper office, and wrote my first story.

When I saw my byline on the newspaper for the first time, I decided not to complain about switching careers, and going back to square one. I was proud of myself; I was pleased with myself for making a bold decision. I never knew that I could be that courageous.

Three years after I joined journalism, I had to make another choice. Should I swim against the current, and survive in an industry that was sabotaging my principles, and sanity, only because I love writing? Or should I quit journalism, and go back to a corporate job to save myself from anxiety and depression? Because the job was crushing my soul. It was challenging my ideals. I was beginning to loathe writing. And, I was tired. I was so tired that I didn’t want to fight anymore, write anymore, and revel in the fame and power that the job offered. I threw caution to the wind, and I resigned.

The corporate company, where I worked for six years, was considerate to me again. I joined them. I was thankful, for I was not unemployed.

But, I started attaching labels to myself.


When everybody else could create a niche for themselves, why did I fail? I was mad at myself for being over-sensitive, and egoistic. I was livid because I believed I was not a writer anymore.

However, I didn’t stop writing. I continued to flirt with words here. In time, I realised that I didn’t have to work for a media house to call myself a writer. I made peace with my past, and shrugged off the labels that weighed me down.

Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.

— Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Last week, when my friend checked on me, she asked if I missed my writing job. Without paying a second thought, I said, “Not at all. Not a wee bit.”

Her question brought an epiphany — finally, it occurred to me that I had known little about myself. It dawned on me that I was more valiant, when I made the painful choice of going back to the corporate job. The labels were the swear words that my ego had employed to taunt me.

After all, I was my own prisoner. And now, I breathe a whiff of freedom.

The resignation was not a full stop. It was a semicolon.

I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed


37 thoughts on “Saluting The Ghost Ship

  1. You definitely deserve kudos for your bravery in changing jobs. It is much easier to stay hidden in one job for a lifetime than to breakout and try new things. I changed jobs many times in my career years….I am a restless person and so it suited me. Many friends cautioned me to take the safe path because my changes affected my retirement funds significantly. How could I ever play it safe when there was a world to explore?….for me no regrets and no looking back. I hope that you will have wonderful,enticing opportunities to seize the day and make choices based or your heart’s messages. I am proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great experience really, to immerse yourself in one kind of writing and develop the skills, which you get to keep and use in many different ways in the future and to have escaped relatively unscathed, because you learned that that particular job wasn’t a good fit and took something essential away from you. Neither of the jobs define who they are but they can give you something of what you need on your path to living an authentic life, little by little if we have your courage, we can shed the things that drain us, that eat away at us and recognise better those things that sustain and nourish us. And nearly everyone then has to compromise a little, as the perfect life is only attained right at the end!

    Thanks for sharing part of you journey Deepika, keep following your instincts and continue to be courageous!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Claire, trusted you to write such a soulful comment. Thank you for reading, and sharing a beautiful thought. My spirit is lifted, and I owe a debt of gratitude to your for always making me feel better. Your wisdom is precious. Many thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a such a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.

    I think that when one does something for themselves it gives one freedom. Such freedom is sometimes a key part of loving something.

    Having recently discovered your blog and having the experience of enjoying reading it, I am glad that you write here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I admire your courage and the strength you have to fight for yourself. It is truly amazing 🙂 Keep going! My friend once told me that we cannot make other people happy if we’re unhappy ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had to laugh at your re-check of “affect” and “effect.” I have been there! We have more in common now: not just dogs, bicycles, and blogs, but also time at a newspaper. I was a copy editor at a big newspaper and had to take a “test” as well once upon a time. I worked 15 years there before quitting and moving away. It’s a hard life — journalism! I admire your courage in making your decisions. It’s not easy to know when to leave. I’m glad to know you don’t regret the decisions you made. Neither do I! Live and learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I read your ‘About’ a couple of weeks ago, and learnt that you were at a newspaper too. 🙂 We share our love for so many wonderful things. I am so glad. And, thank you for all the warm words.


  6. So glad you decided to blog, Deepika, you are such a talented writer! 🙂 And you are brave for switching careers, I’m glad it turned out well and you feel freer now and have time to write here what you want to put into words 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You read so many blogs. How do you find time?

    You read SO many books and also WRITE about them. How do you find the energy? 😛
    Jokes apart – I like doing it; and the replies given by people with whom I share it gives me the energy and motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Journalism is the career I wish I had but sometimes I have wondered what if I start hating writing. But, like you, I am glad that I have a tiny corner of the internet where I can write anything I want to. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such bravery and self-awareness. Labels are the easiest things to stick on ourselves and the hardest to remove. That you’ve recognized that is a massive accomplishment. 6 years after leaving the job market I still struggle with it so kudos to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine, thank you for reading. It was harder than I thought. But, life finds its way, doesn’t it? I hope you struggles will come to a fruitful end, or I hope it will make your journey better, and comfortable. 🙂


  10. We often make the mistake of thinking that how we put together a paycheck (or get our health insurance, which seems to be the most important part of employment lately) is who we are. Clearly this essay proves you are a writer, no matter what else you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was such a delightful article to read. Loved it alot. You deserve an applause for having the courage to switch careers and even more for switching back when you felt like it. I am so glad you do not regret the actions either. You have taken life in your own terms and emerged successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It seems you made the right choice at this point in your life.
    I clearly need to check your blog more often because I totally missed this wonderful, personal post. I had no idea you were a journalist.
    I went to university planning to graduate in journalism, switched to English halfway through, became a teacher for a year, and then left that job to join the corporate world. Life is messy and unpredictable. I’m just trying to enjoy each day as it comes.

    Liked by 1 person

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