My Dad named me Padmashree, and the one thing that he stressed again and again is that you will erupt above what you are born into. As does a lotus. That’s actually what my name means, Padma is a lotus and Shree is the goddess of it. He said you will rise above what you’re born into and you will float. He also told me to be careful as I rise that I don’t get stained, just as a lotus doesn’t allow stains to happen. You can say this is, in essence, what my struggle is all about. If there’s elevation available why would I settle for less?

I was flight attendant for a while. My job was basically to learn how the aircraft works and understand certain things to do if there’s an emergency. Then the next level of this was basically me making people happy. Giving them a smile and telling them ‘hey you’re going to be in a vessel with me for the next 12 hours and things could go wrong, so let’s have a happy journey’.

It’s nice to be at 36000ft and feel like a bird. Not only am I a part of somebody’s best experience ever but I’m also sharing this experience myself! Then I went to do the job and discovered it wasn’t at all like this…

I was supposed to do great things with my life but I found myself cleaning a toilet and being objectified beyond belief. I felt like a commodity of a certain calibre that would only last a certain time. I was constantly reminded of this on a daily basis. Every day I was checked from top to bottom to make sure that everything about me was perfect.

The passengers I was supposed to be sharing a special moment with wouldn’t even smile unless I gave them something. It was unbelievable and I saw the worst of humanity on those flights. I was shell-shocked. Every time somebody was terribly mean I did my best to remind them for one tiny moment to look out of the window and watch the miracle they were experiencing.

I got disgruntled and agitated. I guess I could even say I was disturbed.

When I decided that I was going to leave, it was a terrible process. And here was my naughty part… I had a flight to Seoul and my best friend also lived there. We got together and she stayed in a hotel room with me. I had a two day layover and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We ate, we drank, we went out… but then it was time to go and I didn’t want to. So I picked up the phone and told them I wasn’t coming. My excuse… I was on my period and it hurt.

This was a symbol of my femininity. Everything about me that was womanly they wanted to discard, so here I struck back with the same weapon. Then we went to party.

Now I feel that I’m sorted out. I don’t think I’m stuck anywhere or lack anything. I feel okay with who I am, I don’t feel the need to change this, I don’t need to have more, I’m not in that constant loop of self-improvement. Materially we’re all satisfied. There’s enough for us all. If we change people’s perspective then we can fix all the problems.

If you’re here, if this is all so great, then what do you do? I mean, think about it. My Teacher once asked me to dwell on this thought, “We are actually in the milky way. If you’re in the Milky Way what will you do? You’ve got a choice!”

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