I am born to a mother who went through tremendous hardship in her life. Her parents couldn’t afford to give her an education, and left her in their mud hut from the age of five. She played the role of a mother to her younger siblings, and of a servant to help with cooking, washing, and cleaning. As she grew older, she worked as a maid in other people’s homes to earn a living for the family.

At twenty, she left home to live with a stranger who didn’t even speak the same language, but promised to look after her. As time passed, he began to beat her and later left her for some other woman.

Having lost her father and husband, my mother worked as a maid to earn enough to feed herself and her three children. Despite all the hardships faced, she stood strong but isolated like a lighthouse in a storm.

My mother wanted to give me and my siblings a better life than what she was experiencing. Fortunately, the opportunity to put me in a good school came at my early age of four, and she didn’t hesitate; I was enrolled at Shanti Bhavan.

I missed my mother but had housemothers to look after my needs. I missed my two brothers, but grew up in a school with over one hundred other boys. In my early years, I believed that I was born into poor circumstances because I didn’t have a real father. But now I realize that I am the daughter of a strong and brave woman.

I am now a 17-year-old business student at Shanti Bhavan. I have grown up in an environment that offers the best of both Indian and Western cultures. From a very young age, the art room drew me like a magnet;  I love painting, sketching, making cards, clay modeling and shading. Apart from academics there is nothing that I love more than using my talents to create something new and bring joy to others. My interest in commerce coupled with my passion for art will help me design my future in the business world. I see the importance of art and design and therefore, I want to apply my skills in a career in the business world.

Shanti Bhavan has given me a strong academic and moral foundation for the past fourteen years. I have been exposed to different ideas, cultures, and people.  While my education at Shanti Bhavan was a turning point in my mother’s life, it is only the beginning of my own.

Today, I consider myself a strong and confident young woman. I believe that I can accomplish what I set out to do. As our school song says,  “This is a precious moment, we’ve only just begun. There’s a long, long way to go, before our day is done. We cannot see tomorrow, yesterday is but a dream. Today is what really matters…..”