I always wanted to be a television anchor.
Every night at 6pm on the dot, my dad would turn on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. I would sit nearby, my legs slung underneath the coffee table, and absorb. Some days I’d gather every piece of paper I could find and spread it around the coffee table, so I could look as important as Tom Brokaw.
Having a professional career like that wasn’t deemed possible for Indian women at that time. My mother was always in the kitchen. She didn’t weigh in on the news of the day, or much of anything else, for that matter: not the bills, which went unpaid, the cars, which were towed away in the middle of the night, or the abuse, which she suffered in her marriage. She did not she speak out. She did not speak up. Indian women did neither.
When I left for college I found a freedom I never experienced before. For the first time, I made my own decisions and did what I wanted. My own reality set in when the registrar informed me that my tuition went unpaid; at 19, I was on my own, with no money, but still determined to make my dream happen. And so, facing $19,000 in tuition, I began writing letters. I wrote to anyone I could think, telling them about my dream and asking them for help. My diligence paid off when a doctor in the Midwest agreed to fund half of my education. I negotiated a loan with the college to pay the remaining balance and I was on my way.