Guest AuthorPapa CJ

Nishtha Gupta: A Triumph of the Human Spirit

By | Papa CJ | Comedian • Executive Coach • Author • Oxford MBA • HBR Writer • • WIT of the Week newsletter on LinkedIn, & • I uplift others & help them be the best version of themselves

Nishtha Gupta represents a triumph of the human spirit. I was inspired when I read the post by her below and it has been reproduced here with her express permission. Every human being needs to read it!

“Love, career, and a life after cancer, do they exist? What do you catch when everything is falling?

I come across young people, with dreams in their starry eyes, just being told the c-word, and their lives crumbling into pieces right in front of them. We are surrounded by a healthcare system that focuses on how long we will live.

No one asks us “how are we going to live”?

What happens to love? 

What happens to ambitions? 

What happens to every single day?

Love. Some closest people in our journey promise us togetherness till death does us apart. But humans make promises they don’t have the courage to keep, and leave for reasons they promised would never matter. In the increasingly fleeting word, when your only hope and station to live is the love in your life, and when you watch that love step away, you no longer know if you want to live. It is a terrifying thought that even after years of unconditional love, sapiens could turn soulless under the garb of modesty and modernity when difficulties creep in. Leaving you alone, not imagining if you would survive the loneliness.

Ambitions. After half a year of treatment, the world that I stepped back in was no longer the world that I had left. I don’t know how many times I zombied into the ladies room to cry. Why cry? I was out of “visible danger” now? I cried because I now knew how fragile life was – not just mine, but everyone’s. I cried for people left behind when the loved ones flew over the rainbow. People talked about plans of 5 years down the lane and I didn’t know if I had 5 years. My world had transferred to the world of vulnerable warriors who were a hearing ear to me, and I were to them.

Life. What happens when your body is breaking down, and so is your mind with the overwhelming emotions, the trials and tribulations. Your mind obsesses with fear – the ‘what if’ and “Would I”. “What if there is another sorrow down my road?” “What if I break down mid-way?” “Would I be able to sleep tonight or get out of bed tomorrow knowing what I am going through?”




What do you catch when everything is falling? You catch yourself, and You hold onto who and what is still around.

Love. Slowly it became my biggest liberating realisation that in this fleeting world, others’ love could also be a fleeting feeling, and rare are the humans who can stand their ground. What is stable is self-love – that could never be defined on other’s opinions. I learnt the exclusive art of self-love – to kiss myself on my shoulder and be my biggest support. Not with the idea of becoming something, or getting somewhere, but accepting who I am as the only expression of my identity and what I deserve. I learnt the courage to love and explore myself before anyone else.

Ambitions. I do not have any rosy words. The path ahead is not easy. But you know it is very fathomable and worth it. Worth it in exploring what you love and why you love, and what you do why you do. If you do not love what you are doing, you are probably doing something wrong. You will be reminded of your limits, but you can choose to remember where you can cross them. I fortunately had amazing managers at Mastercard who believed in me. I started from putting in a few hours, slowly strolling up, prioritizing what mattered the most, and where I could keep it all together, while being able to love my team everyday for their love. With relentless continued hard and strategic work, for purpose and people I believed in, I achieved much more than what was expected of me, receiving a very fast track promotion within a year. Following, I further moved from consulting to products, to continue exploring what I was capable of. Cancer could show me mortality of my body, but it failed to show me the mortality of my dreams.

Life. Life is just a dot in the entire time-space continuum, and somehow unknowingly we manage to fill this little moment with hatred and anxiety. But fear, at its root, is less about not achieving and more about crossing our own limits. When cancer took away my courage to take risks, I took away cancer’s power to stop me. I took my courageous steps. Of living alone for months in a foreign place. Doing 23 kms snow trek – my first snow trek ever. Winning a gold medal in a race. I also wrote, my words are my music on my keyboard. I watch, the beauty around is an art. I laugh, to let my sorrows know they are losing.

For me, everything was falling and I didn’t know what to catch or whether I was even capable of catching. But there would always be deliberate, unintending and your own voices in your head telling you “YOU CAN’T”. But because these voices reach your head, doesn’t mean they are real.


Do you find love? Yes, you find unconditional infinite love from yourself to yourself in solitude with your company.

Do you achieve ambitions? Yes, no difficulty is bigger than the size of your spirit.

Do you love life back? Yes, more than ever. And life loves you back.”

– Nishtha Gupta

Republished with permission and originally published at Papa C J’s LinkedIn

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