The theory of survival
- 08 Jul 2019
"When I was 9, I remember my father left me at an orphanage, having lied to the authorities that I had no mother. He was a small farmer and we hardly had any land. He wasn’t in a position to feed five children, so he put us in an orphanage. He asked me to forget that I had a mother. I was too young to understand what that meant, but I was disturbed. I had nobody to talk to and kept all the sorrow and anger within myself. In school, I would see kids come with their parents, dressed in good clothes, while I didn’t even have a proper school bag or footwear. I would dream of becoming a successful person and buying things for myself. But my father ruined my dreams when he got me married to another farmer who was 10 years older than me, at the age of 16. Then, I didn’t know anything about intercourse. In two years, I had two kids. My husband couldn’t feed all of us, so I went to work even during the 9th-month of my pregnancy. Every time I bent to work in the fields, my stomach would ache. I would sit down, cry but get up to work again. I would sell my brother-in-law’s alcohol bottles to buy milk. A couple of years later, I tried to kill myself. But I looked at my children and realised that I couldn't die and leave them to grow up as orphans. I needed to work.
I found a job in another town and moved out with my children. I also resumed my education at an Open University. Throughout this phase, things were difficult but I had no choice. Death wasn’t an option. I needed to survive and I was ready to do anything for that. I met a cousin from the US and was inspired to move there and explore the world. I spent a year trying to obtain a Passport and Visa. Then I flew out to the USA. But upon reaching, things only got worse. I had to live in a Gujarati household as a paying guest. I worked at gas stations, as a baby sitter and many other small jobs. But this was also the beginning of my entrepreneurial dreams. I wanted to start my own business. When I visited Mexico for stamping once, I realised that I could start a consulting company as I was familiar with the paperwork involved with the Visa processing. With my savings of $40,000, I started an office in Phoenix in the October of 2001. Soon, my daughters moved to the US to complete their education. When I look back, I’m proud of not having given in to the negativity within me and standing up for myself. I didn’t need a man. I did it by myself. Every time I visit India, I go to old age homes, orphanages and try to help them. I also visit educational institutes to empower our future generations. Today, a lot of village children read about me and want to know who this living person is. I can proudly say that I’ve achieved more than what I dreamt of as a child and there's no better feeling!"
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