2011 Personal Statements – From Field To FortunesMarch 14, 2011
From Field To Fortunes
It’s four in the morning when I head towards the vegetable and cow feed farm on a small parcel of land owned by our family. My hands are numb from the cold morning air. I clench my fingers around a large spade and walk towards the water tank. I open the outlet for water and rush back to the farm to irrigate the plants. By 8 AM I am back home for breakfast. Soon after, I take the cows for grazing. The air feels damp and I am scorched and thirsty from the intense heat of the summer sun. I finish grazing cows and head back homeward by noon.
By the age of four, I began to realize that my parents were poor and that they had been trying to sustain life by having the entire family work all day in the farm. In a good year, we could get by what we grew and sell. My mother, father and younger brother all worked on our farm day in and day out. My mother was often absent due to her ongoing illnesses. Our lives have always been difficult, with little hope for a better tomorrow. But at the age of five, one man – Dr. George – offered me a chance at a new life of living and studying at Shanti Bhavan, a school and home for children from some of India’s most socially and economically disadvantaged families. I didn’t understand at the time that this chance was a turning point in my family’s life.
Shanti Bhavan has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and, in doing so, pursue my family’s as well. With its support, I now hold the power to remove the shackles in which my family is confined. My family has suffered discrimination, injustice, and indifference. There have been many atrocities committed against my family and, as a result, my parents suffered a lot during the first years of their life together. A majority of these troubles were a direct result of my father’s brothers, who fought with him often over finances and land. For example, my father and his two brothers decided to drill a bore well when I was a child. My father paid for the drilling, while all the three brothers benefitted from it. In the end, no money was returned to him for the cost of drilling the well. Similarly, three years later, my father and his brothers sold a eucalyptus field to make some money. My father’s brothers took the larger part of the share, leaving almost nothing for our family.
As a result of the many troubles – financial and otherwise – that my family continues to face, my parents are trying to make ends meet. With that in my mind, I face every day with the challenge in my life: to save my family from poverty and the inferior status that society has placed them in based on their socioeconomic status. This responsibility to my parents has given me the strength and determination to become successful. I am working hard to study the fields of science and engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
After college, I plan to give back a lot to my family and community, as well as those who have helped me succeed, particularly Shanti Bhavan. I am grateful to the people who have helped me get to this point in my life. I will both donate and give my time as voluntary service to Shanti Bhavan. Shanti Bhavan is not only a quality institution of education, but also a haven of peace. It has given me the opportunity to study and earn a good job. If it were not for Shanti Bhavan, I would have struggled for food, love, and education each day. Furthermore, Shanti Bhavan has opened my eyes to the world.
Volunteers from all over the world visit our school. They are Broadway stars, musicians, artists, college students and working professionals. These visitors enrich our education and shape our perspectives by sharing their experiences with us. For example, we once had volunteers from Wharton University. These business students taught us about investing and starting a company, a valuable and eye-opening seminar. Outside of my academics, I have been exposed to a broad variety of activities that have strengthened my life skills and my social skills. The Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW) program, a segment of our board exams, is an interactive and interesting activity, which ensures that we are moral environmental citizens, in keeping with the Shanti Bhavan culture. For this project, we are assigned specific community service tasks, such as conducting campus maintenance and doing our laundry. These are just a few of many skills and values that I will depart Shanti Bhavan with.
As the morning dawns once again, the same boy who was working in the field is headed in a new direction. I am headed towards big success because of the opportunity that Shanti Bhavan has given me.
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Meet the rest of the Shanti Bhavan Class of 2011.