Dec 022009

Being South Asian in the South is an intriguing concept. This is is
By the summer of 1985, my remaining two older siblings at home got married to individuals in India who moved into our home. Tensions were thick. By the end of my junior year of high school that year, my social life had revolved around the Indian community outside of school and a close-knit group of peers from India in School. We referred to ourselves as the “Breakfast Club.” There was one of us that represented every character in the movie. I did not fit in school the older I got, as I was not allowed to participate in the activities the others did, such as spending the night, going to parties, concerts, sports, or other school functions.

By the Spring of ’86, I had been directing a community Indian radio program for at least the past year for free. I considered it an opportunity for preteens and teens to gain self-confidence through announcing on the radio. Creating radio ads with my Breakfast Club was fun. I was also working at 2 part-time jobs and started college before finishing high school. I wanted to get ahead. I was ambitious and looked forward to graduation and beginning my life on my own. I participated in extra-curricular activities such as the Debate Team and managed to keep my grades up. I was accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill as I hoped and looked forward to getting to know myself and all I could do. In June I graduated from high school with honors and turned 18 June 9. I was getting A’s in my college classes.

At orientation at Carolina, I met up with some of my friends that were already there. I took my tests and learned which my dorm room would be. It happened to be one of the most coveted. There were some people I recognized who would also be in the dorm that I looked forward to getting to know. I came across debate club, theater, and social activist groups I wanted to take part of. My heart seemed to connect to so much. I enjoyed my debate club experiences and succeeding at original oratory which I wanted to continue. I was still uncertain as to whether to pursue international studies, journalism, or consider psychology. I couldn’t wait to be involved in the different extra-curricular activities, to have the freedom to become who I wanted to be, and freedom from the stress at home.
I had no idea that I would never make it there.

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