How Exploring A NEW Passion Helped Me Find My MOJO Again In Singapore – By Expat Aruna Vallury

One Indian mum shares how photography became “soul therapy” – after struggling to adjust as a trailing partner.
15 July 2019

I still remember those mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation when moving to Singapore with my family in 2011.

But, I needn’t have worried. It felt like home within 24 hours of landing at Changi Airport. The tropical weather, the greenery, the blue shimmering sea along the East Coast, the cosmopolitan crowd and more… I fell in love with the Little Red Dot – hook, line and sinker!

However, things grew more difficult as the months went by. My husband’s consulting job required him to frequently travel around Southeast Asia – today, he is still only in town on weekends. With a 2-and a- half-year-old toddler in tow, and no full-time helper back then, I had little or no time for myself. Having worked in financial services back in India, I was hoping to get back to work here. But, as many dependent pass holders in Singapore end up doing, I became a de facto stay-at-home mum.

As much as I loved this place, I could see that I was losing myself – I had no goal or purpose. And, my uncertainty prevented me from taking up any activity seriously.

After spending countless afternoons researching various career options and opportunities in Singapore, I was at my wit’s end. I finally zeroed in on a Master’s course in Knowledge Management offered by NTU (Nanyang Technological University), and was all set to apply for it, when I happened to see a magical word in Google Ads: photography.

Photography had always been on my bucket list of things to do, but I’d never had the time to pursue it. Also, I thought those big heavy cameras and monstrous lenses were not for me!

Still, I was inspired to search for short photography courses that I could do for fun. But – on an impulse – I instead signed up for a one-year diploma programme in professional photography offered by The Photography Institute.

I was instantly drawn to the subject. I suddenly found myself looking forward to each new day. I would drop my daughter at school and set off on exciting photo expeditions with my new camera gear. From the shophouses of Joo Chiat to the boats of Clarke Quay to the Singapore skyline, I clicked away to my heart’s content. It was complete soul therapy! I finally got my mojo back.

Photography gave me a new perspective on everything around me. I had a few friends who were willing models, and it was with their encouragement and my husband’s push that I set up a sole proprietorship in early 2015 and now run my own business, Aruna Vallury Photography.

When my now 3-year-old son was born, however, my passion took a backseat again. He had severe colic, and I had to devote all my time to his care. But, this time around, I didn’t fret. I learned to enjoy my time with my family. Plus, I was taking far better pictures of my kids than before!

Nowadays, I’m more than glad to be back in business. Picking up a camera was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

From The Finder Kids (Vol. 26), July 2019

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The Finder - Issue 299

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