“Thank you for inviting me at your home Miss Zoya,” said the New York Times bestselling author, Mr. Robert Williams.
“It’s a pleasure Mr. Williams. It’s an honour for me that you have chosen to write my biography.” said Miss Zoya.
Both of them were sitting in the garden of Miss Zoya’s mansion located in the greater Vancouver. She built this huge mansion with fairly painted lustrous white walls. The intricate designs on the walls in various places marked a cultural Asian taste.
“What flavour of coffee would you like Mr. Robert?”
Robert adjusted his glasses and pulled out a notebook and a pen and said, ”I’d love dark Hazelnut.”
And the coffee was brought in by Zoya’s servant. Cappuccino for Zoya and Hazelnut for Robert. Sipping their coffee, they sat in silence for a moment.
“I think we should start Miss Zoya.”
“Sure.” she said.
It was the evening of December of 2010, I was walking down the lane in the winter of Vancouver. The beauty of the place was perfect. I stood there in the downtown, where people usually spend quality time with their loved ones and click loads of pictures.
It was Friday evening and the place was busier on weekends. I was dressed perfectly in a white cardigan and black tights. I wore a warm overcoat with long boots. My hair and makeup were done in a neat manner.
For the world, I was a beautiful young woman who was enjoying the evening perhaps.
“Hey! Can I please hold your hand?” I asked a lady in her mid forties, while I was panting. I started breathing heavily.
As soon as I said that, she quickly held my hand and sensed that something was wrong. She could read my eyes. They said something. In spite of my perfect outfit, she saw my body language. And underneath that make up, she saw my sadness. And yeah, she was a complete stranger to me.
The cold breeze surpassed me and I was standing there holding her hand. In less than a second, something unusual happened to me. I was trying to speak, but was unable to. It seemed that the world was falling apart for me. My head felt heavier and dizziness took over me. My fingers had gone numb. And the lady was trying to calm me down, she kept asking me if I was okay. But with her every word, her voice fainted in my ears. Her voice grew fainter. My vision started to blur. I could feel the grip of my hand losing from her hand. And finally it all became blank.
Next day, I got up in the hospital bed. When I opened my eyes, I was alone in the room. I couldn’t make out what happened to me. The only thing that I remember was that last evening I was in the downtown and now I woke up in the hospital.
Soon, the doctor came in.
“How are you feeling Miss?” he asked. The doctor didn’t even know my name.
“I’m good doctor, but I don’t remember anything and how I came here. “
“Well, a lady brought you here. And what I have diagnosed is that you suffered from an anxiety attack.”
Well, it was just an anxiety attack. I had suffered much more than that. Just a few months before, back in India, before I came here, my life was nothing better than a hell.
“Thank you for treating me doctor, and when will I be discharged?”
”Well, the good news is that now all your reports are normal Miss. You just need to complete some formal papers and you are good to go.”
A smile came across my face and I did all the formalities and walked out of the hospital. I had to come here the following week for a follow up.
And while I was walking through the pavement of this beautiful city, my eyes became wet yet again. I was here, in a new country, in a new place all by myself. Looking forward to start over my life again. But, my past kept on haunting me in one way or the other. I got an anxiety attack sometimes and was stressed the other times. But, deep in my heart I had decided that I will make this life worth living. That everything that happened to me was enough.
And there they were sitting in Miss Zoya’s garden in 2020 in Vancouver, right after 10 years with she reliving her story in front of the New York Times bestselling author.
I had nothing in 2010. I was all alone, abandoned by my family. Actually, I ran away from my home. I started working as an editor for a local magazine. I slept in a room that was offered to me by my boss. He was a great man and helped me a lot during my bad days.
After working all these years, one fine day in 2013, I decided to present myself in front of the investors with a business idea.
The night before I had to go for the presentation, I remembered how far I came. I was married to a middle aged man when I was just seventeen year old. I didn’t love him. Neither did he love me. Every single night, I was scared of him. He used to rape me every night. And he hit me and let out all his frustration on me. I wanted to study, so I sneaked some books from the library and would hide it from him. I would get up very early in the morning, finish all the household work, then I would read. I taught myself investing. I read books on spirituality. I read some biographies of amazing leaders and about people who left an impact on the world. And again at night, he would show an animal like behavior to me. When I talked about this to my mother she refused to accept even the idea of martial rape. For her, a girl must satisfy her husband’s needs and should worship him like a god. She taught me to sacrifice all my dreams. She taught me that my only job was to please my husband. Slowly, I had started falling into depression. If I didn’t have the access to those self help books, I would have taken my life long ago. But, those books gave me courage, gave me direction. I learnt a few skills to survive on my own. Gradually, I started to plan my life. I decided that my life is going to be greater and more valuable.
And it was the month of December, when everyone was sleeping, I bolted from the house. I took a flight and came here. I didn’t tell anybody about this. And after that there was no looking back. I struggled here. I got a panic attack and fell in the middle of the road. But, god sent that lady as an angel in my life, who took me to the hospital and I survived.
The very next morning, I wore a white shirt with a blue denim skirt, matched it with a pair of high heels. I tied my hair in a bun and looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself “Zoya, your journey starts now!!!”
And guess what? The investors at the conference were impressed with my business idea and immediately agreed to invest in it and put faith in me. I met everybody’s expectations. I didn’t let them down. I expanded my business to the whole country, opened up more stores, and then expanded it to another country. And then another. And there was no looking back after that. One of my main purpose was that no other woman should go through what I went through. So, I deliberately gave jobs to more women in my company.
I wanted to make them financially independent. I wanted to do more. So, I decided to open a non profit organization for women who were once like me. My non profit organization educates women and help them achieving their dreams.
“And here you are Miss Zoya, who’s name is in the top ten self made billionaires of the world on the Forbes list.” said Mr. Robert .
”The name of my book will be- BECOMING MISS ZOYA !”
”That sounds perfect Mr. Robert!! Would you like another cup of Dark Hazelnut ?”