“I was born and raised in Orissa. It was only after my tenth grade that I moved to Chennai along with my family. This change was a cultural shock to me as societal norms were so clear and boundaries so distinct. I didn’t know the last names of my friends, their religion or my caste until I set foot here.
But I think equality begins when you are clear about your identities and embrace each other for who they are, rather than painting the whole society in one hue! However, the identity crisis was not my biggest struggle; I wasn’t very fluent in Tamil, so it was a challenge to communicate. But then I made a few friends in school and one of them managed to understand my broken Tamil well enough to translate it to the others.
I stuck with him and we used to commute to and from school together. After my 11 and 12th, I went on to do my engineering. But staying in a hostel meant I didn’t have my parents to check if I was studying or make sure I went to classes. So, those four years I did everything but study and had a lot of backlogs. I was the only one who was unemployed among my friends as I was struggling to finish my engineering. But my parents and friends were all very supportive.
They helped me sail through the phase and I cleared all the papers. I’ve now been working as HR in a startup. I love my job. It allows me to meet a lot of people and learn new things. I plan on doing my MBA in a few years to add a degree to my education. I think friends are the most important people in one’s life after my parents and to me, there’s one person who is as important as my parents and friends. And that’s Sachin Tendulkar! I still remember the day he retired, I cried myself to sleep.
Sachin had an active role to play in helping me make friends and break barriers when I moved to this city. It was our love for him that united us despite me not speaking the local tongue! Apart from Sachin, I love Dhoni, because he teaches you to be patient, wait for your turn and let your work do the talking!”
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