From left to right: Keka DasGupta's maternal grandmother, her mom, and her; 3 generations of women making sacrifices, helping future generations realize their dreams. (Photo credit for Keka's headshot: Gabor Jurina)
My friend Jennifer Kem wrote these words in a Facebook post recently and they stuck with me:
“Be the best descendant you can be, by being more of you than you ever dreamed.”
Over the pandemic, I did a lot of cleaning, organizing and decluttering of things. In that process, I discovered what I believe is a photo of my maternal grandmother, from when she was young. I didn’t know this photo even existed.
What a gift!
It made me reflect more deeply on where I came from in terms of my family lineage. And how I could make the past generations of my family proud, from the progress and soulful growth I may attain in my lifetime.
As my mom describes, my grandmother was married off when she was just 13 to my grandfather who was 18. This was the norm in her time. Sent to live with her in-laws, she never had a chance to fully experience her childhood or pursue her own personal dreams. She spent the rest of her life caring for her family.
At the age of 65, my grandmother finally had a chance to do something she always wanted. With a smile from ear-to-ear, and a small chalkboard in hand, she would walk through intense Indian heat to a local tutor – trying to pick up where she had to leave off when she was just a teenager.
What my grandmother wasn’t able to give to herself, she did give to my mom.
My awesome, spunky mom was able to pursue her passions as a child and teenager, acting in theatres, performing in athletic shows, learning to be a classical vocalist, lyricist and musical composer, and winning countless awards in the process.
As a child, my mom used to stress out the women in her community, when she would climb up tall trees and eat the fruits they bared - a pastime, usually reserved in those days for young boys, not girls.
Still today, when we are walking through a park, my mom will point out various trees and tell me how much she wishes she could climb them now (in her 80s!).
My mom was a natural born entrepreneur at heart, but in her generation in India, this career path was not a viable option to her family.
However, what she wasn’t able to have, she gave to me.
My mom has always been a staunch supporter of my work, career wise and business wise. She supports me unconditionally and has always believed that my work is meant to serve a higher purpose.
So, for my mom, for my grandmother, and for my many generations passed, whose stories I do not know due to the passage of time, I want to be the best descendant I can be.
I’ve felt a calling for some time now to write a book – with words that seem destined to come from deep within my heart. I began writing a few years ago, but recognized soon enough, that life had other plans for me in that moment. My intuition told me that I had more living to do, and, what I would learn from that process would ultimately surface in my book.
So I put a pause on my dream of writing a book.
Then the pandemic hit the world. Suddenly, I found myself on an unexpected journey of vulnerability, healing and self-discovery – one which that I had no idea was in store for me.
I know now that the universe knew best. The timing two years ago was pre-mature. It was the right time to start the book, but not the right time to complete it.
The pull to start writing again has returned for me, and I am heeding that call now.
My book's working title is: The Art of Life-ing (no surprise there!). In it, I’m most definitely learning how to BE more of me, than I ever thought possible.
Thank you Jen for your validating message.