Piyushi Dhir is an Author, Blogger and Traveller, currently based in Ivory Coast, Africa. She has authored two romance novels and a collection of short stories -her latest is Silent Promises. Piyushi is an alumnus of Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon and Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi.
As the daughter of an Indian Air Force Fighter Pilot, Piyushi spent her childhood getting frequently transferred and having to constantly move from one place to another. She used to loathe being uprooted like this, pulled out of school mid-semester and starting afresh at newer, unfamiliar places. However, looking back, she says that it was probably these changing scenarios that shaped her personality and eventually made her acclimatise to different cultures.
As a student, Piyushi recounts also being subjected to the typical societal expectations of becoming a doctor or an engineer. Subsequently heeding to her parents’ suggestion, she agreed to pursue Science so as to venture onto engineering later. However, after having attended coaching for the engineering entrance exam preparations, she realised that she didn’t have even the slightest inclination towards it.
“I used to ask myself what I wanted to do but could never understand it conclusively. Only one thing was clear to me - I knew what I did not want to do.”
The First Chapter
Ultimately, Piyushi decided to join the English Honours Program at the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi University. Not only did this course help her understand the world better but she also started looking at things from a fresher and broader perspective.
“For the first time I really started enjoying what I was studying. It enabled me to question the society, culture and even my parents. I think it was the first time that my mind started opening up.”
The Second Chapter
At the age of 21, drawn to the charms of the corporate world, Piyushi started preparing for the Common Admission Test (CAT). She was successful in securing admission in Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon a year later, where she specialised in Human Resource Management.
During her final year, Piyushi got placed from campus with one of the top recruiters. While working, she was often entrusted with important tasks and responsibilities, and was performing fairly well, when lightning struck -
“I realised this was not for me. Although I was doing well professionally, I wasn't happy. Sitting in front of the laptop all the time, I missed watching the blue skies. This was definitely not what I signed up for.”
However, quitting was not an option for Piyushi. She had a family to support - her husband’s startup was in the nascent stage when they got married. “I was the one who had to run the household.”
This continued for over two years, when, Piyushi says “Together we figured that it was time for my husband to resume his corporate career. He got an offer from Olam for Ivory Coast. He then asked me jokingly if I would like to move to Africa.”
Not only was this an interesting opportunity, but also at at the back of her head, Piyushi thought that this could be a way to give writing a shot. And, after extensive deliberations, the couple finally decided to settle in Ivory Coast.
The Third Chapter
By the time Piyushi reached Africa, she already had a manuscript in hand (In Search of Love) and though she had already started submitting her manuscript to publishers during her notice period, she was turned down time and again.
One day, as Piyushi was sitting in front of her laptop, she stumbled upon the Kindle Development Program. She immediately submitted her manuscript for the program and within twenty four hours, it was available on Amazon.
“It was basically a spur of a moment thing for me. And thanks to social media, I could really get the word out.”
But soon afterwards, a realisation dawned upon Piyushi - unless the book came out in print as well, it would have been challenging to monetize it as the Indian market was still skewed towards hard copies. And hence, her search for a publisher resumed.
During this period, Piyushi recalls being financially depended on her husband. However, with time, she ventured into freelancing to supplement her income. At the same time, she created a website to showcase her work which helped her improve upon content writing. Overtime, she was successful in establishing a brand for herself and people started to identify her as an Author and a Writer.
“Sometimes, you have to give out free work, just to be on top of people’s minds, so they know that you’re a Writer.” Piyushi remembers an instance where an MBA batch-mate of hers, reached out to her, seeking assistance in creating the pitch for a product launch for her company. It was opportunities like these, which she says helped build her reputation as a Content Writer. With time, the money started pouring in. However, it wasn’t that easy to establish herself prominently in this field.
The Fourth Chapter
Piyushi recalls that when she decided to quit her job everyone except for her husband thought she had gone mad. Piyushi herself was hesitant as she feared she would lose her corporate identity.
“It takes a lot of courage to throw something you have devoted time building to try something new. But, if you really believe in it, it's really worth it.”
There was a fork in her road when she had to choose between focusing on freelancing or her book. And though there were instant returns when it came to freelancing, Piyushi chose the latter, as it aligned with her long term goals.
Even monetarily, she realised that in the long run, investing her energies in a book would be wiser; “Potentially a book can earn me money throughout my life. I might want to travel, write, read. Even if I am not actively working, the book can earn passively.”
The Fifth Chapter
Piyushi has already submitted the proposal for her next book to certain publishers and has started freelancing for a Canada-based company in the meantime. She is also volunteering as an English teacher at the American Embassy, something she is really enjoying.
The Final Chapter
Piyushi still remembers how her mother warned her that without a regular job, Piyushi would soon feel frustrated. However, today, Piyushi is extremely happy that she took this step. Not only does she love her work, but she also cherishes the flexibility it provides her with. She can maintain a better work-life balance this way, while also satisfying her creative juices.
“If you want to write, if you believe there is a writer in you, don't wait. Start writing right away!"