Each of us has, at some point of time in our lives, received life advice from our personal life-coaches – parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, kids, the vegetable vendor or the stranger sitting on the adjacent seat on the flight. Something that moved you, changed you or made a difference to your perspective forever. India Pages brings you these slices of life, shared by people from all walks of life … Writers, Photographers, Artists, Television Producers, Hands-on mommies, Entrepreneurs, and Engineers …. Meet Anubha Sharma
The Universe Could Guide You To Your Purpose
“The universe is showing you signs that could guide you to your purpose,” He told me “I don’t think you will go back to Kolkata or to a job ever again, this is the only thing I can see you do from now on”. After arriving in Bombay I had become attached to my Reiki grandmaster. I often went for meditations to his center, I shared what had happened with him and his response changed the course of my life for good.
Flashback: My childhood in Kolkata
I am impressionable; stories move me. As a child of perhaps 15, I read a story about a French national living in Kolkata, where I grew up, who had adopted five street children. He had changed the lives of these children overnight. From nearly being beggars on the street they became school students with a normal life, enough food, and fair opportunities; all because one man did not hesitate to go out of his way to do something for others.
This story taught me a lesson that was to become one of the pillars of my baby, Angel Xpress Foundation. “That if you have the power and the capacity to do something that can make life better for others you must use it.”
I spent 20 years working commercially, I got busy making money and I used to think I am doing the world a lot of good as I was running/creating businesses for organizations, I felt I was contributing to the economy by creating jobs and career opportunities for people, and I wasn’t wrong….that made sense at that point in time in my life…
But while I made a decent amount of money doing what I was doing. Somewhere deep inside me, it did not feel like enough or rather meaningful enough …
Failure is sometimes just the universe telling you that your mission in life is somewhere else. In my case it was having to quit a job I thought I loved and had spent 14 years being successful at, I had a falling out with the same boss who had nurtured me fondly through most of my career.
I believe that the things that happened at this time and over the next few years were a universal conspiracy of sorts. I got offered a job that brought me to Mumbai, but while I changed 3 jobs in 3 years, I had really settled in Mumbai. I had made loads of friends and had started loving the feel of living in the city, so much so that I decided to celebrate completing 20 years as a working woman by rewarding myself with a year off; of living as a lady of leisure in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Leisurely brunches, days spend reading novels in coffee shops and movies in the afternoon sound really glamorous till that’s all you have on your agenda. The life of leisure soon began to pall, I was itching to do something that felt useful. An old friend suggested using this time to check out the social space which I had often expressed interest in but had neglected to explore.
I set off on a quest for practical exposure by volunteering; this journey brought me eventually to a street school of sorts. On my morning walks, daily, I would see some children sitting on mats and a few adults teaching them on the seaside promenade. I offered to bring breakfast for these kids who obviously were from poor homes and got roped into volunteering to teach.
My first interaction with the kids was a rude shock, 12-13-year-olds in grades 6 and 7 struggled with basics. My 8-year-old nephew could read and calculate better… I decided to do the best I could and I started going there every day. A few months later, just as I started to look around to get back into the work space, the topsy-turvy stock markets had put the job markets through the wringer once again, and it did not seem like things would work out on that front in a hurry so I decided to move back to live at home in Kolkata till the markets had settled.
Simultaneously a message I had posted on FB asking for warm clothes for the kids I taught, half of whom came clad in torn t-shirts on chilly winter mornings drew over 3000 calls over 10 days; numerous people wanting to help in a variety of ways. This made me realize that it wasn’t just these kids who needed help, there were loads of people who really wanted to make a contribution and just did not know how.
I was frankly disbelieving and found what my Reiki teacher had told me, was quite incredible. How could I give up using my capability that could earn crores for organizations to teach a few kids? How could I just give up all I had worked towards for 20 years? However I could not put what he had said out of my mind, I gave up plans to move back to Kolkata and decided to explore a little.
After that things fell in place with so much ease that finally I became at home with the decision to give up my career for good, to take up working for this cause instead; I started Angel Xpress Foundation to create a bridge between people who wanted to help and kids who needed help.
Today I am completely content with the choices I have made in my life. Not only did my teacher guide me on this path, the family he created through the process of teaching, has helped and supported me in a variety of ways including contributing the incredible amount of time talent and skill in helping me do work that I had no clue where to begin.
This family and my own blood family has stood by me in staunch support have taken some of the toughest decisions of my life.
Today, nearly 1000 kids come to 10 Angel Xpress centers across Mumbai to receive daily lessons from over 250 volunteers, mostly stay at home mums, grand-moms and students from affluent schools and colleges. Here the kids learn English, Math and how to be responsible and aware human beings from volunteers who they feel connected to.
About Anubha Sharma
Anubha Sharma, Founder, Angel Xpress Foundation was raised and lived in Kolkata till 2003, she spend 5 years in Delhi before moving to Mumbai in 2007. Over a 20 year career span she has worked with large financial services organizations in regional and national roles. Her stint with Kotak Securities was the longest. She is happily single with a great circle of friends. She is interested in Spiritualism and for 8 years now has been part of the extraordinary process of Reiki. To connect to Angel Xpress Foundation you can write to email@example.com. or look them up at www.angelxpress.org.