I moved to India from Texas at the age of 11 to skip 6th grade and complete middle school there. I come from a traditional Indian family with strong values and ethics, although we rarely follow tangible customs. Despite skipping the sixth grade, seventh grade was so easy. As a teenager, I blew off things that didn't interest me.
Slowly transitioning to eighth grade, I got used to the environment around me and I felt like I was slowly changing from good to better. Initially, I strongly disagreed with the idea of moving to India, but with time I started loving the country the more. India has taught me my culture and how extravagant it is. Indians have taught me how to be independent and self-righteous. I learned how to nurture and care for people I love.
My parents asked me to come back to Texas as soon as I completed the 8th grade, which was contrary to my wishes. I wasn't ready to leave all my friends and the culture which I loved so much. I had to convince my parents to let me stay and finish my freshman year of high school in India. Freshman year was when I got exposed to other realms in the world such as poverty. For my journalism class, I made two documentaries about old age homes and how the less privileged struggle to survive in India. These two documentaries were eye-openers to me. I learned that a person could be smiling from the outside, but within themselves, they are struggling. Back in the United States, things were different, so I was intrigued by the whole experience in India.
I learned more as I filmed my documentaries. The common thing I saw from the underprivileged people is that they are financially needy but they have a happy life. The disadvantaged people didn't have proper access to health care, too, unlike in Texas, where healthcare was accessible to everyone. During this time, I met Dr. Manoj Kumar. A decade ago, he left his psychiatric practice in the United Kingdom and flew back to India, intending to address the mental health conditions of the rural population in India. The decision of him coming back home taught me that the essential thing in the world is good health.
When I come back to Texas, I felt completely different, mature, and wiser. The experience in India shaped me into the person I am today. The first day as a sophomore at Coppell High School, I was nervous and bullied for my overweight. Adjusting was easy because I had enough experience in survival from India. I took school seriously and excelled in my studies. With time, my social life was growing better, and I did not get bullied anymore. The documentaries I had filmed in India won during the film festival, but instead of continued filming, I choose to grow my career in the medical field to provide accessible health care all over the world. I wanted to become a surgeon and help set up small clinics around the world that can offer free affordable healthcare to people living in poverty.
Moving to India was the best choice for my parents and I ever made in my life. I am truly grateful for how India shaped me into a better person and the person I am today.
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