Mantri to Manhatta

Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?
– Jon Bon Jovi 

I remember the first time I watched Bon Jovi’s song ‘It’s my life’ on the television. I was about 6 years old, and I had no clue about what the lyrics meant or why the guy was shouting out random words. But what I did know was there was a guy who wanted to be some place that really mattered to him, and come what may he was going to get there.  I wanted to be that guy; running, climbing over fences, being bold enough to face ten dogs, crossing every hurdle that came my way to reach a destination so worthwhile (Reminder: this post is about dreams, so do not question my ability to over imagine at six)

Here’s a link to reminisce the beauty that is Bon Jovi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx2u5uUu3DE

When the song came out, we used to live in a place called Mantri Housing in Pune, India. This house has quite a lot of significance, but here are the top three reasons:

  1. It was the first house that was purchased by my father and his brother
  2. My mother was married into this house
  3. I was born here

Living as a joint family, this home thrived on unconditional love, abundance of laughter, and the freedom to dream big! 

No matter how eccentric or impossible my dreams sounded, my parents would react with the most enthusiastic ‘Can do it!’ attitude. Whether it was getting the barbie doll from Crossword or landing on the moon, my parents never differentiated between which of the two could be achieved, because they both had the same probability. If it weren’t for their immense belief in me and my dreams, I wouldn’t be here typing about how I achieved my biggest one yet.

Let’s fast forward to 2014, when I was pursuing a Bachelor’s in Bangalore. My friends and I used to live in a hostel in an area called Kormangala.  The balcony of our room had quite the view of the city, but also the tip of a building called UB City which is a famous spot for indulging in luxury.

UB City

I am not sure if you see the very acute resemblance that I do, but every time I would see UB City from the comfort of my balcony, I would tell myself that one day, I will be looking at the Empire State.  And ladies and gentlemen, the very same year, this happened:

I was right there, next to this beautiful beast that deserves all the attention that it gets on a daily basis. A lot of people had a role to play in making this possible. My parents, my best friend Sneha and her family, and the Immigration officer. I was here, in the City of Dreams, seeing every rom com come to life, walking in between hustlers and dreamers. I had gotten a taste of New York. It was no more a city for me, it was an emotion. Having explored the city with two of my best friends Sneha and Prerana, my love for the city grew by the minute. If there was one thing I knew by the end of the trip, it was that I would come back for this city, and I would come back to live and not just stay, because the latter would never be enough.

NYC Dreams
Cheers to the Dreamers, Doer’s and Believers. This world is yours to conquer!

After I returned to India, anywhere I lived would always have a piece of New York in it. I would place it in such a way that it would be the first thing I saw when I woke up. Everyone who knows me, knew about my unhealthy obsession with the city. So in 2017, when it was time to apply to colleges for my masters, NYU was on the top of my list. I had believed in it so strongly, for so long that I just knew there was nothing that could stop me.

Except: NYU never processing my application because I had only 15 years of education as opposed to the 16 that I needed. I had been so confident about getting in, that I never realized what the alternative would feel like. There was a lot more to this story, but to give you an idea, it felt like I would never be able to fulfill the dream. As always, my mom came into my room with all her wisdom and said, “you just wait and watch, you won’t be studying there, but you will work there.” I brushed it off thinking ‘Mom, not with the current political situations.’

In November 2018, I had the opportunity to interview with a Boutique Hotel in New York. My close friend from Les Roches had been working there for 6 months already. She is someone that gave me so much to look up to, and the thought of getting a chance to work with her meant a bonus to my big dream!

IMG_5985
Héléne was my Pin Buddy at Les Roches (kind of like a mentor) and she has stuck by it ever since she handed me down her pin, guiding me and protecting me!

When I finally interviewed at the Roger Smith Hotel, Helene was more thrilled than I was. She was constantly giving me updates about what was happening and whether I stood a chance, she also played a crucial role in moving my application ahead. Her energy was a major boost for me and I started to believe in my dream again. New York, would it really be possible? So soon? Manifestation works?

But I didn’t want to get too excited about in the fear of jinxing it. But then on December 1st, I was with my Les Roches friends devouring some fondue, when I got the email saying I had been accepted as a Management Trainee at the Roger Smith, the little New York Hotel!

What? 

Was this real? 

Till the time I sat on the fight to New York, I refused to believe that it was truly happening. That I was going to be fulfilling my biggest dream.

22nd February 2019, I was welcomed by my new family, full of warmth and happiness (and maybe some tequila) in New York City.

As a group of seven trainees from different parts of the world, we have the opportunity of training at the Roger Smith Hotel for a year, where we learn from industry experts while rotating across different departments to understand the nuances of working in a hotel.

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 1.55.26 PM
Mantri to Manhattan, First day of School V. First day of Work. Bag Upgrades, Consistent with the shoes.

Here’s to dreaming, believing and doing!

(And listening to your mom!)

 

 

 

 

 

2018: The Year of Endless Possibilities

“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose”

– Dolly Parton

For some of you reading this, you have already entered 2019. With less than 10 hours to go, from the part of the world that I am writing from, I find it hard to pen down words to bid goodbye to this phenomenal year.

And so before I say goodbye, I thought why not make the best of it, one last time?

2018 has been that additional best friend that I did not know I needed. I have so much to share about this best friend that I do not know where or how to begin. But let me start with the highlights of 2018!

Set out to get a Master’s 

694EB09F-3FD8-4B5B-882F-198FFE1FF1AB

 A decision that changed my life, helped me grow each day, made me understand myself, and also taught me that a year can make a world of a difference.

Found a family away from home

MHL AND MBA
These phenomenal people! PLEASE TAKE A BOW!

Each one of them, in their own unique way taught me things about life that I will be lucky to hold on to!

EXPLORED THE WORLD (Thanks for the credit card, Dad!)

Travel GIF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Countries. 3 Continents. 20 + Flights. 50 + trains. A few Buses. Endless Ubers

 

Explored the world of Dating 

Dating.gif

Only to realize…

 Marlyn Moonroe.gif

(Found a better way to say, ‘I am still single!’)

 

Went home to my other family

 

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I tried to do my dissertation….

 

SWISS CHALET LIFE

 

 

d3b1a1a5-2490-490a-a817-738c85fba8b2
Taking a moment to appreciate that we could take a drone shot)

Made Mom and Dad Proud (Valedictorian + Academic Topper! WHAT?!)

 

Growing up, my dad would always ask me, “So who topped?” I would have a list of answers prepared before hand, “I think she has a better tutor”, “You know I was sick during that exam, so my percentage went down”, “But dad, its math!” My father never asked me why I did not top, I always felt the reason to justify why someone else did. Considering this is probably the last time I will study, I wasn’t aware that this time I wouldn’t have to prepare an answer.

And like Dolly Parton said, I have been blessed to have a year filled with self discovery. A year of forming new relations to last a lifetime. The opportunity to travel the world and meet new people, explore new cultures. A chance to study in a different country and realize my true self. It has been a year of endless possibilities.

My quirky highlights of the year:

  1. Having Vada Pav with my uncle during my transit from Mumbai to Geneva
  2. Spending 9 hours in the lounge at Abu Dhabi
  3. Making drone movies
  4. Completing a 23,000 word dissertation
  5. Going to Winter Wonderland in London
  6. Being Broke in Monaco
  7. Having Dosa in Paris
  8. Trying every possible flavor of Fondue
  9. Making snow angels (I lasted for 5 seconds)
  10. Trying to walk on ice without skidding
  11. Falling asleep during the first half of the movie Venom (Thank you $20 recliner seats!)
  12. Witnessed a Live Game of Thrones Concert in Chicago
  13. Stayed at Grand Kempinski, Geneva because my flight got cancelled (without having to pay a penny)
  14. Went from Switzerland to France in 33 Minutes.

2018: What I learnt:

  1. If you are taking a train in Europe, don’t just check the train number and platform, but also which compartment you need to be on!
  2. Les Roches: you were everything I wanted and so much more (despite the fact that you are situated on another planet)
  3. Switzerland is more expensive than you anticipate (travelers, please note)
  4. There is abundance of unconditional love, laughter and support to go around
  5. You are so much more than you give yourself credit for!
  6. Do what makes your heart swell!
  7. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing your parents smile endlessly because of you.
  8. Fondue is the food coma you need in your life.
  9. You can never have too much Hot Wine
  10. Don’t be afraid to try new things! 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain

HAPPY 2019 TO EVERYONE! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY LOVELY, PHENOMENAL AND EXTRAORDINARY!