A Not-so-Flowery, Genda-ful Startup

May You Find Your Courage In 2018

If I had to choose a word for 2017, it’d have to be ‘accept’. This year came with an unyielding ferocity that made us all give in to its will.

Despite such global outcry, look at us at the end of 2017 having accepted Donald Trump as the President of the United States of America.

Say what you may – here in on our island nation, Fiji First is just about to finish it’s first term as ruling party.

As the workers of the Airport Terminal Services sit outside in a strike lock-out this holiday period, flights out of the Nadi International Airport continue to take-off and land as normal – albeit with a delay, a little smelly and minus the horrendous chicken curry and blob of rice in tin foils while the rest of us sip our Fiji Golds, burp our goat chasers and follow the saga on our social medias accepting that there’s not a darn thing that we can do.

Few days ago over coffee, a friend commented that it has been a big year for me. I hadn’t really thought about it then but sitting here on the back verandah in my drenched singlet overdosed on a natali (fried whitebait) and beer lunch waiting for the rains, I accept it’s been one big year for me.

I think this happens to most of us humans – when we are faced with something too big a magnitude, our brains automatically block it off, refusing to deal with it. I think I haven’t had enough time to process all that that has happened this year.

But as always, I’m forever grateful to the universe for the paths it leads me to – never easy and the only sane way forward is to dance through them on full 90’s music!

Earlier this year I got invited to a Pacific women writers panel organised by a foreign embassy. At that time, I honestly I didn’t think much of it. It was only months later in hindsight when I realised, I was on writers panel. Other invited women were legit writers from the Pacific and then there was me. This once foul-mouthed girl who came home with concrete splatters on her shorts! At TGP this year, I also launched a second talk platform called GendaDISRUPT – an innovative talk platform for industries in Fiji and introduced a business arm to the company offering content services. I even fell off the grid for a few months and wandered through the back streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Florence and Berlin this year.

But this year was also when I nearly died. I got ill and was down and out for about 4 weeks. And in true desi style, the family has never mentioned this again. Neither to anyone outside or to each other.

I think 2017 is the year when I finally grew up.

I’ve realised following your passion doesn’t always lead to happiness, love can leave you softer and that when you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.

There are no ifs in life – only choices and consequences. Soooo you see, it’s going to take me some time to process 2017.

I don’t know why but I’m slightly apprehensive of 2018. I can hear the winds of change howling on the other side of this night. Just as when something’s about to happen – there’s this funny churning thing happening in the pit of my stomach and I can smell that nothing’s ever about to be the same again.

And there’s not a thing you and I can do, Dear Reader but to accept what’s about to come.

A running cab driver who regularly drives me to and from Suva (who has also self-appointed himself as my therapist/news source/matchmaker) saw my exhausted face one evening as he drove me back to Nadi and (without being asked) said – “tum don’t worry. Apan hausla buland rakho and next year we will find you a boy!” 🙄

I’ve always heard this hausla buland rakhna phrase but never really knew exactly what it meant. So I looked it up and it means “keep your courage steady”.

Dear Reader, I don’t know what 2018’s going to bring for both of us but I do feel in the new year, hope just won’t cut it.

You can either just like in 2017, sit there and accept all that 2018 throws at you or you can get up, walk out and battle.

May you find your courage in 2018, Dear Reader.


So you too hausla buland rakho, Dear Reader – I’ll see you on the other side.

Shyamni. xx



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