Tanya Mathana’s Story of Moving from Bhopal to Mumbai – Lessons to Learn for Fulfilling Your Dreams in the Big City
Many successful female role models came from small towns and made it big in the ‘City of Dreams’. However, moving to a big city from a small town is a life-changing decision. It should not be taken lightly. For starters, it is expensive. Living alone, away from your friends and family, can be very stressful. A big city like Mumbai is crowded, but not knowing anyone around can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. On the other hand, it is the city of dreams. There is the potential of better work opportunities, the excitement of being independent and ample opportunities for learning.
Whether it’s for pursuing higher studies or starting your career, you must make your decision after considering all the pros and cons. We caught up with Tanya Mathana, who is the COO of a Digital Advertising Agency. She came to Mumbai from Bhopal to pursue a career in advertising. And in just 10 years, she has risen to the level of senior management. In an exclusive interview, Tanya tells us about the struggles of moving to a big city and why it has all been worth it for her.
1. How old were you when you moved to Mumbai from Bhopal?
I was barely 18, quite young, fresh out of school.
2. What made you decide to move to a big city?
Back in my hometown, the career options were very limited. You could choose to become a doctor, an engineer, a teacher or a banker at best. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue at that stage, but I knew that I wanted to pursue something different and exciting. So, I took to the internet to research, and discovered many new and exciting career opportunities. As luck would have it, I came across an upcoming course in Media and Communications called BMM (Bachelors of Mass Media). I liked the course structure. So, I decided to move to Mumbai to pursue the course.
3. Was your family supportive of your decision?
Initially, everyone in my family had reservations, since it was such a big step. They were quite scared of the fact that I would be all alone. But, after a lot of arguments and conversations, looking at my determination and confidence, my family finally gave in and supported my decision.
4. How long have you been staying on your own in this city?
I have stayed for around 10 years by myself. In these 10 years, I’ve made a lot of good friends who have practically become my second family now.
5. What are the pros and cons of living on your own?
Missing your family and feeling lonely is a given when you move to a big city. But I sincerely believe that all these challenges make you a stronger person over time. You become more confident and independent.
6. How has this city influenced your thinking and lifestyle?
The city has exposed me to a different sort of culture. It is a lot more inclusive.
7. Would you like to move back to your hometown someday?
Probably, yes, someday. But, in the meanwhile, my efforts will always be driven towards encouraging the girls from my hometown. To help them believe in their dreams and to guide and mentor them through my experiences.
8. Have you ever been scared for your safety, considering that you are living alone in the city?
Not really. Mumbai has been very kind to me. I have always felt very safe in this city.
9. What must one consider before relocating to a new city for a job?
Find out as much as you can about the new city, its culture, the company and its work culture, its people and the job profile. The more informed you are, the better prepared you’ll be.
10. What advice would you like to give young girls from small towns who want to move to a big city?
Stay Updated– Always try and stay ahead of the curve by reading a lot. There is enough information available on the internet today about choosing the right career, career guidance and various courses that you can pursue online or offline.
Be Inspired – There are so many women achievers and role models who have made their mark in their respective fields. Get inspired by their success stories and apply that knowledge and learning in your journey.
Stay Curious – Always stay curious about new things coming up in your field of choice. You will get a lot of information on the internet. You just have to look for it.
If you are curious to know about more women like Tanya who have created a successful career for themselves despite the odds, head to Glow & Lovely Careers (formerly known as Fair & Lovely Career Foundation) career guidance section and get even more inspiration.