PHOTO CREDIT: ARUN BHARDJWAJ
Was she an alien roaming planet earth? Or a snowflake - not like the others around her? No matter how hard she tried, she just didn’t fit it. Fitting in felt forceful to Kalyani - like trying to force a marshmallow into a piggy bank’s coin slot. Yet others weren’t accepting of her either. She was different and she didn’t want to change, she was the butterfly who refused to become a caterpillar again.
She became the target of bullies at a very young age. Some of the worst bullying she faced was in boarding school, thousands of miles away from her safe haven called home. She lived with her bullies 24/7. From name calling to being beaten up, her bullies were relentless and brutal in their attack on her. Not a day went by without her feeling anxious and facing panic attacks in sheer fear of what she would have to face that day. To add insult to injury, a family member who was attending the same boarding school would tell her to “go die” every time she reached out for help. To this day, she shudders to think of what could have happened if she took those words seriously.
After leaving that particular school, she moved from one school to the next, not recognizing the emotional scars the bullying left on her leading to her becoming a bully of sorts herself. Not having any resources to help her overcome the anguish she felt within herself, she had no other option but to develop her own tools to help her heal. It was trial and error at first but once she found what worked for her, she was able to apply it in every situation of bullying she faced in the future.
The bullying extended to the workplace and within family too, however, she successfully applied the tools she developed to combat this and walk away with her head held high sans wobbly knees. But she yet had to face and conquer the worst bully.
Despite having a successful career in finance and holding two professional designations, Kalyani felt something was amiss. She tried her hand at entrepreneurship and ran a successful online fitness business for two years, yet that void she felt couldn’t be filled. She couldn’t quite figure out why she felt so unfulfilled.
The answer came when she attended an anti-bullying workshop at her daughter’s school. She had an entire lifetime of experiences, learning and tools she had developed so why not share it with those who are struggling with bullying? It would be a disservice not to do so.
Armed with this new revelation, Kalyani shut her fitness business down and started from scratch. It was scary but the sheer excitement she had at the thought of being able to help others with her experience kept her going.
Despite a lot of ups and downs in the process, Kalyani was consistent and determined to share her story and experience because she had one goal in mind: providing solutions to those struggling, to show them “how” to combat bullying rather than to tell them what to do. And so birthed “Unbullied - 14 techniques to silence the critics, externally and internally”. Through the process of writing her book, she came face to face with her worst bully - herself. She had been bullying herself with thoughts of not being “good enough”. While combating this bully, “Life’s Lessons”, her blog, came into being. The soul’s sole focus of her blog? Inner healing, overcoming feelings of inadequacy and annihilating the internal bully peppered with soul searching. and perhaps some humour. Kalyani firmly believes that if her work helps even just one person, she has fulfilled her calling.