Picture this. 1978, Punjab – the land of the five rivers, of bhangra, of upbeat folk songs and dhol, of the very brusque language called Gurmukhi, and the beautiful city of Amritsar. Well, dear toastmasters that city is my birth place – a city that gave me life. 

But the city that gave me a name, my identity, and a chance to realize my 3 little weary epiphanies (out of the many) is saadidil walon ki dilli (our prodigal city – Delhi). 

When the baby me was to be given a name, it was a plain easy – just like any Chanda’s daughter became Chandni, Kuku ji’sdaughter became Kuki. Kuki, me, was a happy baby, a caring sister, and a very obedient daughter. Luckily, Kuki had a formal name too – any guesses? Aha! You already know it! Deepti means incandescent light (of my parents’ eyes or so they believed). 

True to my name I was always glowing, radiating …with shyness. Yes, I grew up to be a shy teenaged girl who was conscious of everything about herself – a not-so slim figure, short height, ordinary looks, distinguishing sidelocks, and acurved smile (by the way my dad always referred to it as the Madhubala smile). So in school, my only saving grace was adecent academic score and a sense of fulfillment that I used to get by participating in co-curricular opportunities like debates, poem recitations, or even backstage preps. Dance, Drama, and Singing were not in my foray.

I remained pretty much the same shy girl throughout college. And by the way, there’s always that one uncle in our lives who advises our dad about the courses kids should pick, I had one too! Much to my horror, I was advised the deadliest combination in those days, year 1996, Maths and Computers. Pretty much against the notion of a cool college life; mine wasn’t close to being the F of fun. Morning assemblies, regular full attendance classes, girls-only fests were all too boring. Bunking meant informing the lecturers that none of us will attend the class that day. So we waited for the Computers class at NIIT on Monday- Wednesday and Fridays to have all the ‘missing’ fun – mixed bag of friends, interesting subjects, and yes, smart & good looking teachers! What fun days!? 

Immediately after I completed graduation, I took up internship at Modern School, Barakhamba. For a good 1 year I taught classes 5, 6, and 10th. Why didn’t I teach 7th to 9th remains a mystery! And then, my formal career began with a job at NIIT in e-learning and instructional design soon after. It was tough. The taxonomies, the transitions, and frames. But that apart, I made some lifelong friends and well, memories. First jobs are so precious. A residential boot camp at Sainik Farms. PC’s long lectures, Major’s infamous ‘aan do’ words, scrumptious evening snacks, late night chitter chatter with friends are some precious memories. 

Life has moved on since – multiple jobs, changing careers, but one thing’s for sure, we make memories. Lets cherish every moment and live life in each moment!

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