My son loved books and stories even as a year old. All I wanted was to buy him more and read to him more. But there was barely any money for such pursuits then, so I borrowed books from friends and neighbors and made up stories to entertain him.

It was 21st March, my 31st birthday, and I was home with no celebrations planned. That evening, my cousin handed me an envelope. It was white crisp with Happy Birthday written and a smile 🙂 drawn on it. With a happy, broad smile, I opened it gently with my son sitting on my lap. I pulled out a coupon that said one-year subscription at Justbooks Library—Happy Reading!

Tears welled up in my eyes as I hugged my son and looked at my sister. She had read my heart. This was and is the best gift I have ever received. Today, after 15 long years, I still subscribe to the same library and have seen both my children grow up to become book lovers.

Having been a software engineer earning a handsome figure and leaving it all for a dream and grappling with the reality of it, for the first time, I was knocked out of my romantic idea that money does not buy happiness. I realized the coupon, which I could never afford then, did buy us a passport to happiness and growth.

Many realisations about money followed in the following years. During the same phase of life, every waking hour brought back-to-back challenges day after day. One day, my father demonstrated something very profound. He stretched out his left hand and held his palm like a cup, and then, with the cup of his right hand, he covered it and said, “Look dear, money is like this. When you get some, you must learn to keep it covered, and handle it with respect and care. The moment you carelessly leave it open, it will fly away”. This lesson held up a mirror to my existing ways. With the little we made, we were in a hurry to return to a lifestyle we had compromised for our dreams. I slowly learned to pull at the reins and learned to ride it better. I have since learned to move from a feeling of lack into respect for money and wealth.

Over the years, I have also felt that working with money is tricky for a woman (to whom caring and nurturing are core emotions). This is because, at every step, I had to challenge my mind over my heart. Is it okay to think about saving money over buying toys for my kids? Could I permit myself a day of splurging at the parlor? Is it worth the money to watch a movie in a theatre when waiting a bit could bring it onto our home screen?

My financial knowledge, or the lack of it, was the undercurrent in dictating decisions. 

I then looked up options to save and invest. I was dazed. Markets, Investments, Mutual funds, SIPs, Bitcoins, ULIP, RPLI, Shares, NSE, BSE—the list went on. How much to spend? How much to invest? Where to invest? And whom to trust? Again, this put me in a Zorb ball.

I was precisely in such a state when I met the remarkable team at Gaining Grounds a few months ago. With their many intuitive questions on life, they gently coaxed me into finding my feelings and thoughts about money. Answer after answer, I felt my fears being appeased, hopes instilled, and trust built. We made a good start, and I am assured that I have a trusting backing to guide me henceforth.

The envelope with the gift coupon brought me tears of joy and a lifetime of knowledge and growth. Now, with my association with Gaining Grounds, I look forward to opening more such envelopes, which I trust will bring me more realisations about finance, wealth, and a fulfilling life.

This is a guest post by Sharmila Rajasegaran

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