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At the age of 10, I had to move to India along with my father so that he could take care of his ailing parents. My mother and younger brother remained back in America until they could finish up business. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, India was as much a foreign country as it was my parents’ homeland. I was dropped off at my aunt’s house and stayed there as my father was too busy looking after my grandparents. I found myself feeling increasingly isolated, as the happy kid I used to be became eclipsed by my loneliness. Especially not having my mother around, I felt like I had no one whom I can talk to. The people that I stayed with, instead of taking good care of me, tore me apart from the inside. My aunt especially had no patience and refused to listen to me all the time. If I asked her to not play loud music the night before a test, she would say, “This is my house and you cannot question me” and proceed to ground me. I felt as if my voice was taken away from me and the emotional abuse became ingrained in my daily life. One weekend my mom and brother came to visit me, and I blurted out that I hated living with my aunt. Rather than getting angry, my mom understood the situation. She told me how she was raised by a single mother and faced a lot of challenges that she had to overcome to become a topper in her University.
After hearing her story, I felt like my problems with my aunt were momentary and I shouldn’t let them stand in the way of my happiness. My education and my passions, especially basketball, were mine and I shouldn’t stop pursuing them due to negativity around. I worked to make my parents feel proud and have trust in me.
The move to India also affected my education. I had to learn how to speak fluently, read and write a brand-new language: Telugu. It had its own alphabet and script that I had to learn by practicing 4 hours a day and walking up an hour early every morning to struggle through reading the newspaper before going to school. Little by little I started to understand more and more of the language and persevered until I got an 81/90 on the Telugu examination.
As the famous Margret Mead said, I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
At this point of my life, I was excelling academically and received a 96% in the 11th grade exam, became the captain of my high school basketball team and even got selected to represent my city. When it finally felt like everything had worked out in my life,
Like a meteoroid which struck our lives,
I received a call saying that my father had passed away in an awful tragedy. My life seemed to fall apart. I was emotionally broken. I could barely focus when taking my SAT four days after my father passed away on October 2nd 2018. I felt stuck and unable to move on. This is the hardest thing to overcome and it’s something I am still struggling with. I realized nothing can change back time and I have to be strong for my mother and brother. I want to achieve my father’s dream of getting a great education and live up to his expectations. It is still painful to think about the fact that he won’t be here to witness me doing so.
I have faced many challenges in my life that not only have shaped me but have also proven that I can persevere and achieved my goals and dreams. I know that I have many hurdles ahead of me, but my life has shown me that I have the ability to face them and come out stronger.

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