Hello this Shanti Thokchom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally from India
I love to travel in my own small ways I could if,when , where & how I want it under my means & budget . I am a single mom to a teenaged son, I was born & raised in Imphal in the remote north East Indian state of Manipur and I am eldest of 7 siblings. My parents were uneducated & belonged to two different communities
I worked really hard to supplement the family income. In the meantime, I was very curious to visit interior villages of my coworkers back home. I started to accompany them to their homes during school holidays . Btw, I used to teach part time in a private kindergarten school in Imphal. I got paid just some $15 monthly but I was so happy cos I was earning on my own right after school and I did not have to bug my parents for $$$.
That’s how I started my love for travels in the 80s. Since then, I have always looked for ways & means to work as well as travel cos I am always wanting to know about people, places & their culture. I attended a general Nursing school in Jorhat Mission hospital, Assam & really became very interested & more adventurous. I had batch mates from different places & regions of India. That was a real Good enough reason to travel & explore !!
To continue about my travelling journey , well, I went to Mumbai in the summer of ’92 to look for work. I did not know anyone there except the staffing agency lady with whom I kept in contact with. It was pretty scary for a north East Indian gal with different looks from the mainland Indians to land there in such a big metro city like Mumbai
But I took a deep breathe & said to myself , I need to be strong for myself . Make it or break it! The taxi drivers at the Mumbai railway station were all giving me curious looks & that scared me all the more. We had heard lots of horror stories about Mumbai’s red light areas where so Many young innocent & gullible Nepali women were forced into sex traffic. I couldn’t even breathe easy thinking about it.
Well , I waited for the daybreak at the Dadar railway station, I toughed it out. And then I called up the staffing lady and informed her about my arrival in their big bad city of Mumbai and that I was very very scared to venture out of the station! She then instructed me to take a cab & gave the directions for her office. Thankfully , I knew how to speak Hindi so this cabbie couldn’t fool me or whatever. He dropped me off at the correct address & voila – I was in Mumbai at last. It was then known as Bombay. That’s where & how I got to start working in the city as a private nursing / sitter for the Richie rich families of this city !’
I was accommodated in a room with 2 other ladies from Kerala who worked the night shifts . Gawd! Their beds stunk of putrid coconut oil, but I had no choice but to place my own bed sheet on that bed to sleep. I had to learn fast the ways of this city or else could be left behind.
My staffing agency lady made my room mates accompany them to my new assignment at the Breach Candy hospital in South Bombay. These Kerala nurses did not want to do that, they muttered something in Malayam language under their breathe and I knew it was not a nice one. But I kept on being patient and tried to learn fast the city’s ways. I wore a shalwar kameez to go to work and changed into our white nurses uniform when we reached the hospital. Anyway, living , working and staying in Mumbai city has made me much more mentally tougher & able to deal with other life’s crisises.
Due to my hard work & dependability & sincerity, I was being recommended by my patients’ families to their own circle. That’s how I was able to come in contact with a nice lovely Indian doctor couple who were doing their internships in New York ‘s Roosevelt Hospital! They were looking for some one trustworthy to take care of their infant daughter and I just happened to be recommended to them by their relatives! I was sponsored by this couple to come to New York City to take care of their baby daughter in spring of ’99.
What happened next? I met my American hubby in a church and got married in ’00… We had a son together, but my husband died in an accident in “08! I have been since then raising up my son single handedly an also travelled to places I wanted.
Stay tuned to know more about Shanti!
Author: Shanti Thokchom
About: Widow, working a nursing assistant in a nursing home, love to work hard and travel in my own ways!