I remember writing my future self a letter in eighth grade. I filled it with my hopes and dreams for high school. The memories I wanted to make, the people I wanted to know, the goals I wanted to accomplish and oh so many more things. I wanted a high school musical or any other cheesy coming-of-age movie. Even though my experience wasn’t exactly like the fantasies I had in middle school, I was able to make a lot of my goals and dreams a reality because of my family and friends.
Thank you to my Amma and Nanna.
They left the only home they knew and headed towards an uncertain future so that I could have more opportunities to do whatever I wanted to whether it be rowing, writing, dancing, anything. Both of them told me to not only dream but helped me achieve those little and big dreams.
From a young age, I struggled with my identity as an immigrant, causing me to be shy but Amma pushed me to make my first friends and played the extrovert, while embarrassing me of course, and taught me the power of putting myself out there and spreading the love even if it meant looking like a fool or being rejected. She helped me learn that when there’s a will there’s a way. And, she always found a way. And, of course, Amma and Nanna were there to comfort me when I couldn’t find that way or was lost.
My Nanna taught me it was not only important to make connections but to cherish and deepen them. He helped me love people and family near and far. He has shown me that loved ones aren’t a weakness but a strength and has taught me to prioritize and stay loyal to family and friends.
I am also beyond grateful to have my little brother, Sishir.
He has taken care of me like an older brother, forgiven me for being a teenager and taught me to look for the best in myself and others. He has been kind through adversity, and I still don’t understand how a 12-year-old-boy can be as mature as he is, but he makes it work and makes me a better person in the process. And of course, I can’t forget my other brother, Robin, who has always known how to comfort me and bring a smile back to my face with his fluffy face and puppy-dog-eyes.
I am also so grateful to have all my grandparents and relatives who support me and treat me like their daughter.
With the amount of family I have, things get crazy easily but that crazy has helped ground me and is now my safe haven. Ammamma, tatas, and bamma, you helped me find the beauty in my own culture when I was lost, helped stay connected to and be proud of my roots. Thank you for teaching me that it was not only okay but beautiful to be Indian. And thank you to all my relatives including all the mamas and attas and pinnis for having utter faith in me and for believing in me more than I thought was possible.
To my friends, I don’t know what I would’ve done without all of you, especially senior year. Thank you for always being by my side and for being my family. And of course knowing when to spam my phone with pictures of Matt Bomer and Mark or any other NCT member. I will forever be grateful for all those gifs and photos stored in my camera roll.
In the past few years, I have made unforgettable memories and the strong bonds I forged with my friends and family will only grow stronger with time and distance. As I look into the next chapter of my life, a part of me is sad, but I also know that these experiences and memories will help me grow into a strong woman who will make all the amazing people in my life and myself proud.