Adding my own TADKA

That day in 2017


Uahaaa.. I yawn, I look at the watch and it’s 3:48 pm. 2 minutes more to go. I have no idea what happened in the last 45 mins. I have had 4 packets of Banti-Babli so far. 

Tringggggggg! Finally, I stand up, pack my bag and wait outside the classroom for my friend. Suddenly, just like a child distracted by a butterfly, my eyes chase a group of girls coming out of the other class. They seem to be in a hurry. Moments later they are in football shorts and jerseys. Two girls have a huge bag with them that carries 6 to 7 balls, some cones, some maskers, and something that I have no idea about. 

I keep looking at them when someone whispers in my ear “Let’s go home”. It’s Misba, my best friend. As we climb uphill towards our house, I tell Misba about what I saw. I tell her that I want us to join them. She seems excited but worried and says that her mom might not allow her to wear football shorts and play in the evening. We walk quietly the whole way and say goodbye.

A few months later, A boy walks into our class, whispers something in the teacher’s ear, and faces the whole class. ‘‘Anyone who is interested in playing football kindly connects with me after school ends. I’ll be in room no. 303’’ he said. I look at Misba and she is already looking at me.

I’m on the school grounds. Two friends of mine who play on the football team showed me how to kick the ball. I try to pass it to him and it doesn’t go straight. It’s not as easy as it looks. 

The trials are done, to my and everyone’s surprise, I played quite well.
Sandesh Bhaiyya plays on the boys’ football team, a boy who everyone looks up to. Aliya, he announces. I take a little jump, a big smile on my face, and something weird burns inside me. I like it. Actually, I LOVE IT.

Feels like for the first time in my life I know why I’m doing something and I know my purpose. Football gave me this kick that I didn’t know I needed.

2017 to 2021

Since then I have done a lot of cool things. 

  • Won the regional finals in JFK and went to Bangalore for the national finals
  • Published COVID In Her Voice: A Girl-led and Centred Participatory Research Study, with 25 other girls all over India.
  • Started working at Bohriali (An e-commerce company)
  • Became a football coach at JFK ( Just For Kicks is a Football Program)
  • Joined Enterprise India Fellowship and the list goes on

My vision board

Usually, when a new year begins, I am super excited. But this was not the case this year, I was low in energy. I didn’t feel like doing the things that I usually like to do. After a week I gathered myself together and decided to add some TADKA to the things that I normally do. So, I made a vision board, and magically this gave me a lot of energy. Even after all of this, I’m still struggling at work. I’m not working proactively. Just making sure my responsibilities are fulfilled is not who I am.
I was struggling to understand why I can’t have a balanced life? 

One of my mentors at Enterprise said ‘When you take all the water out of a well it needs time to refill’. I have realized that a balanced life is a myth. There is no such thing as a ‘balanced life’.  My life has 4-5 wells like this. Work, health, relationships, career, and some more. I have understood that all the wells cannot be full all the time. But I can definitely add my own TADKA to these things. For example, When I was very tired looking at the excel sheets and making sales calls. I researched and discovered Notion – project management and note-taking software. I transferred all my data to the Notion template. Again, just like magic, it fueled me. When I wanted to travel to new places on Sundays but I was very lazy to leave the house I started to make mini travel vlogs. 

I have realized that, that I love exploring new and diverse things, I love how they bring so much energy to me. But this does not mean that I take up something new every time and leave the previous things as they are. Sometimes all I need to do is play around with it and find my own ways to make it special. 

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