Surendar Singh - This Too Shall Pass

Hi, my name is Surendar Singh. I’m the owner of a company called The Blue God. We handle writing responsibilities of clients in events, advertising and various other fields. I have been doing this since 1994 but I was a software programmer before that. I was such a bad programmer that I was demoted. I was putting in my best efforts into making something out of this but the demotion gave me a sign and so I quit.

I had always loved reading. Growing up, I had read over 2000 books and always scored the highest in English. But the journey of me writing actually began when a friend of mine wanted me to write farewell letters to 20 of her other friends when we were in college. She described her feelings towards them and I managed to pen down them down exactly as she imagined. She told me to stop mucking around and take writing up seriously. My brother was an engineer so I was told - ‘you’re going to be an engineer’. I didn’t realize what I wanted at the time so I took it up. My education was chosen for me. I really felt incompetent during my engineering days but the switch to writing after I quit, at the age of 22, was a welcome change.

I didn’t earn much in the beginning. My first salary was 650 rupees a month. The cost of coming to office was 2200 rupees. My father joked that he was paying me to keep my job. I didn’t like the dependency so I took up freelance jobs for weekends and started to make 3000 rupees a month within a year and a half. But the burnout was real. I felt that I wasn’t progressing enough because my work was sub-par and to truly excel, I left my freelancing. I felt freer and more able to put in my best efforts. Life was sailing smooth until 3 years later.

I got an infection (multi drug-resistant tuberculosis) which forced me to quit my job. I wanted to get it operated but I had to get a negative result on a certain test. That took another two and a half years. I had to take 300 injections in a period of 3 years… so much so that parts of my skin got numb and the injection wouldn’t pierce through anymore. I tried to hide my pain from everyone else. They had already suffered enough. No one was allowed to drink from my glass of water so whenever I used to go out with friends, I used to make up creative excuses to prevent them from doing so. I recovered from the illness through a miraculous vaccine. My recovery was documented and taught in lectures but I didn’t care… I didn’t want to see a doctor again.

After a stint of jobs, some exciting and some absolutely boring, I founded The Blue God where we did work for ourselves. Work that we loved, work that only we wanted to do. But there’s always been a but. I got married about 12 years back and within 2 years of our marriage, my wife developed a sort of a brain ailment. We couldn’t figure out what it was and it affected her severely. She could lose balance at anytime, while walking, while doing other activities and so if no one was at home, it would be a huge problem. She was dependent on others around her. We eventually realised what it was - it was a disease called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It was a difficult time, especially with a child to raise.

My dad, within a year, got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Everything seemed to be working against us and crumbling in front of me. My work happened in between doctor visits, report collections, finding new treatments, running around hospitals. My brother and my family were of great support during these times but three years back, my father passed away and a year back, in March, my wife. It’s been tough for my daughter and me. We’ve been each other’s support systems all throughout.

I feel like I could’ve done more for her. But I was always honest with her with whatever that was happening. She deserved to know. She is 14 now and she has taken the situation in quite well. Kids always do. Now, we find solace in each other and that feeling… is unparalleled. With all that is happened with us, I still say, ‘Life has been kind’. I truly believe it is.

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