A fresh start?

Vaijayanti Bose

It is ironic that where one chapter in your life ends, another begins! I retired from G.D.F. Birla Centre for Education, Kolkata, in September 2010 at the age of 60 after serving the institution for 36 years, and was given a dream farewell by my colleagues. They had pulled out all stops and planned a memorable program to bid me farewell, including a candle-lit welcome with song and dance. The function after school hours in the school hall was graced by the senior management, who gifted me with an engraved and inscribed silver plaque, as is the custom in the Ashok Hall Group of Schools. This was followed by a special visit to the head office, where I was felicitated by Ma’am Khaitan, Chairperson, Ashok Hall Group of Schools. The last few months pre-retirement were filled with anxiety and no clear plan of action for the future. Giving history tuition was a possibility, but the camaraderie in the staff room and the joy of interacting with and mentoring my students would be a story from my past.

The morning after my last day in school, however, dawned with a wondrous surprise for me. The school Principal informed me that I was to continue on the basis of an annual contract. My joy knew no bounds! The school management kept renewing my contract for professional service every year for 10 long, glorious years! But all good things come with an expiry date and when COVID-19 hit our lives, the writing was there on the wall for me to see. Teaching had shifted online and I was without a job as my annual contract was not renewed. This sudden bolt from the blue initially threw my life out of gear, especially as it came at a critical time in my life when my husband’s deteriorating health was a growing matter of concern.

I am not sure whether it was foresight, but in September 2019, I started looking for ways to expand and build on my knowledge and experience. I chanced upon an advertisement on facebook, asking me if I was interested in transforming people’s lives. Intrigued, I arrived at the hotel mentioned in the ad. There I was introduced to Arfeen Khan and his Coach to a Fortune program. I used to meet with other participants of this program on Saturday evenings, where we discussed our breakthroughs in personal and professional transformation after having gone through the week’s module. After two months of training, I was certified as an Incredible Coach, with the authority to use Arfeen Khan’s Incredible You Program. Under Arfeen Khan’s guidance I even wrote and published a book, Pivot in Confidence: Live Carefree*, available both as a paperback and an ebook. I am continuing to train under Arfeen Khan to become a public speaker in his next level Speak to a Fortune Program.

So, post retirement, I have been evolving and learning new things like making and editing videos, blogging and podcasting. I have two podcast series on air and have also recorded interviews on zoom for my YouTube Channel, LEVEL UP WITH VIJII BOSE. As a Rotarian, I also speak on Rotary platforms, especially to interactors in schools.

I have been associated with two NGOs, Bichitra Pathshala and Rotary International, District 3291. As a member of the executive committee and editorial board of the former, I enjoy the opportunity to hone my editorial skills. Rotary has not only given me the opportunity to work at the club level as membership chair and treasurer, but serve the district team as zonal secretary for two consecutive years and as assistant governor (administration) this year. All this in the last five years.

*The book is inspired by my father’s story, who left the Indian Army mid-career to join the newly created Indian Frontier Administrative Service for administering North East India. The book urges women to follow the tools and strategies described in its pages to overcome their fears and face the world on their own terms. The author illustrates her belief that change is vital for growth with real life narratives of women, who followed their dreams and overcame challenges to write their success stories.

The author is a teacher by profession. She is now a Level Up Coach for women and teens, a blogger, a podcaster and has her own YouTube Channel to transmit her message – harness your mind power and level up to be your best version – to a larger, global audience. She can be reached at mamlubose@gmail.com.

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