“I wish I could just go to sleep, forget everything and wake up a new person!”
During challenging times, many of us may have wished for this! In a fantasy, getting your memory erased sounds like a convenient way to get a fresh start. However, for someone who has been through the ordeal, the idea is not so fascinating.
Imagine being 20 & grabbing your first job right out of college. Just when you have everything you wanted, you’re in a tragic accident, barely surviving & then, forgetting everything you know about yourself!
For many, this is a straight-up story from a 2000s Bollywood film but for Shweta Handa Gupta, MCC this is her life story.
A story of living twice: once as a promising student, looking to make their mark & the second, as a young CEO who’d go on to join the boards of global organizations & become one of the world’s top coaches!
After a severe accident in September 2001, Shweta underwent 4 brain surgeries in less than 2 months. As she emerged from the coma & induced paralysis, she had to be reminded of who she was, and who her parents were.
“By December 2001, I was slowly returning to normalcy. While I still couldn’t remember most of my life before the accident, I had a fierce need to get out of bed and stand on my own feet. I desperately wanted to get better amidst my doctor’s & family’s fears that my intelligence may not be the same anymore”
Although her memory was fuzzy, she had a dream to fulfill. Shweta’s determination helped her find the courage to take up the MBA admission that had been waiting for her.
The very next year 2002, she joined a full-time, top B-school MBA while still on a barrage of medication including anticonvulsants & mood stabilizers.
Living what can be called a ‘second life’, Shweta’s tale of two lives began. She was studying MBA by the day and was with her NCERT books by the night. “I had forgotten most of my earlier education including even basic Mathematics. I had to school myself again.”
Though her learning abilities were strong, she had completely lost her social instincts and emotional connection to the past. “I had to rebuild my emotional connections. It was like being born into an entirely new family.”
“I was a 21-year-old with the curiosity, eagerness & social skills of a child. It was a very scary place to be! The good thing was that I didn’t lose my determination or confidence”
Her confidence was soon put to test as medication caused her to gain 13 kgs of weight in 1 month! While she was still coming to terms with this sudden change, she was subjected to much name-calling & bullying.
She couldn’t be discouraged at this point. With tears & a determination to pull through, she completed the MBA with a great placement.
Shweta credits the strength, the capacity to learn fast & work hard that she built in these years for her career successes. She describes how her brain research, life experiences & career have all come together beautifully to where she is today.