This is the story of a dreamer and a believer who wanted to make her dreams a reality and fought tooth and nail to do that. She fought courageously and boldly to not only make her dreams come true but even to change the mindset of the people around her. Yes, this is my story, the story of Ankuta Ghoshal and of how I worked against all odds to get to where I wanted to.

The year was 2012 when I decided to take part in a beauty contest in Kolkata, and to my delight, I was adjudged as the first runner up. It was the beginning of a new phase of my life. It led to my getting picked up for various modelling assignments and my tasting success in my chosen path. But then fate struck a blow just a year later in 2013. Due to a severe illness, I had to give up on my dreams, my passion. I was detected with a severe disorder of the nervous system and became completely bedridden for the next one and a half years. I couldn’t take my final year college exams which was a huge blow.

What added to my misery was the attitude of my relatives and friends who started cursing me and labelling me as “unlucky “, “unfortunate”, “ and handicapped”. I was made to feel that I was a burden on my parents. Added to this were my physical inabilities. I could not walk properly, couldn’t speak properly. My life was depressing and unbearable. I realised during this time as to how blessed are the people who can lead a simple and healthy life. People kept telling me that I could never get back to where I was before the illness, could never get back to a normal life. But I didn’t give up. I worked on myself, picked up my confidence to get back to my normal life. Every day was like a new day, and I woke up with a renewed sense of vigour and hope. It was my parents who were there for me and encouraged and supported me. Though it was difficult and painful, I was determined not to give up. My mother kept pushing me, goading me to push myself a bit more. Every morning she would come to me with my stilettos and put them in front of me. It was her way of telling me not to give up. I would try to stand on my feet every day but found it impossible to do it. But I was determined not to give up. I had to take physiotherapy sessions and keep my morale high. I went through counselling sessions as well, which led to people calling me “ mad”, but I paid no heed. I was isolated, people were hostile, but I did not let any of it deter me.

And finally, in 2015, I was able to bounce back, get back to a normal life. I thought this was the end of my struggle, my ordeal. But sadly it wasn’t; it was the beginning. I was still kept away from all social occasions. My friends did not want to have anything to do with me because of parental pressure to stay away from me. People around me blamed my career choice of modelling as the reason for all my troubles, my misfortune. Coming from a traditional mindset, they felt that modelling was a wrong, and unethical career choice for a girl from a middle-class family. They thought that I had been punished for that.

And then to add to my woes, one day a relative of ours presumably with the interest of my parents at heart approached my mother with a marriage alliance. The guy was forty-six years old, and I was twenty-two!! The idea was to relieve my parents of the burden, that was me!! It was too much for my mother and for the first time, I saw tears rolling down from her cheeks. This incident went on to make me firmer and stronger in my resolve to rebuild my life. I resumed my studies and completed my graduation and went on to do my post-graduation and MBA.

I could finally see the light, the light of opportunities through all the darkness. I got selected to work for one of the big four audit firms. Along with that, I got into the hosting of TV shows, got back to my modelling, participating in beauty contests, anchoring and took to writing poetry as well. I won three beauty contests in Kolkata and was adjudged to be the finalist in another three. I anchored a show on the television where the guest of honour was the Governor of the State of West Bengal. It was covered by most of the leading news channels. Now that I was back, there was no stopping me. All my confidence came back with a vengeance. I started getting attention from different magazines and newspapers where my pictures were being published.

What’s more, in 2019, I became a Presenter with All India Radio. My life had come back a full circle and more. I had braved all odds to emerge as the winner. My confidence, my self-esteem, my happiness, everything was back.And that is when the desire to give back to society, to do something for the less fortunate started to take over me. I decided to start working with various orphanages and nursing homes, help those who were alone and helpless the way I had once been. It gave me a tremendous amount of satisfaction doing that, and I want to continue doing that.What I have learnt from life is that self- confidence is the key to success. If we have it, we can survive in the face of all odds and make things favourable for ourselves. Remember, nothing comes easily!

Having achieved so much, I now have a dream to establish an organisation for all those people who for some reason or the other have lost their confidence, their belief in themselves but still have the desire to resume and rebuild their lives. This organisation would work towards helping and counselling such people for free and in that way work towards building a better future for them, and the future generations.

About the Author:

Anukta Ghoshal was born in 1993 in North Kolkata. Besides her study, she was into writing and recitation from her early days. She had gone into a multinational company after completing her MBA. At the same time,she keeps her passion in full flow. She is involved in modelling and television anchoring. She has recently joined All India Radio as a radio presenter. Besides all these, she is involved in various social works.

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