This is an essay I wrote at the request of my sister-in-law when she had to submit one on herself for an interview.

Who am I?

The words a and I are the smallest words in the English language. However, while a is definitely a singular, I is more often that not a plural. This is because I am not alone, but a collection of my family, my friends, my teachers, my environment and my experiences. Therefore, the best way to describe me would be to describe the various components that go into making the I that I am today.

My family forms the core from which I draw my strength and inspiration. My father is a retired bank employee. He worked for over 40 years with the State Bank of India, Ootacamund as a cashier. Early on in his career my father made a conscious decision to sacrifice growth and promotions in his career so that his children would be able to lead a steady and stable life. In the process, my father instilled in all his children a sense of duty and responsibility to the family and to the people dependent on us. In his attempt to bring up his children in the best possible manner, he has been ably and staunchly supported by my mother. Although illiterate in the conventional sense of the term, most of my lessons of life were imbibed as I sat at her feet while she combed my hair, or as I squatted on a stool as she worked in the kitchen. Over the year, my mother came to be regarded as the mother of most of the children in our extensive family. I have never heard her say “No” or turn away from the responsibilities that life had thrust on her.

Along with my parents, my three sisters have been the mainstays of my life. They have helped me keep my feet firmly grounded, while showering me with support and love, at times being the only ones to do so. Even at the lowest and loneliest moments of my life I know that the three of them will stand by me like torches that will show me the path that will bring me out of the tunnel.

Although I go through life to reach the light at the end of the tunnel, it is my family that ensures that I never walk in darkness.

A person is usually measured by the friends she keeps. But more doesn’t necessarily mean better. My friends have been to me the rafts that have carried me across many a rough water of life’s rivers. It has, of course, helped me that I have spent all my childhood in the same town. This has meant stronger and deeper friendships. Friendships of the kind where we can be out of touch for years, but pick up from where we left off the moment we meet again.

While parents, family and friends create the atmosphere for one to achieve one’s goals, it is the school that sets you firmly on the path to a distant dream and aspiration. A product of Shanti Vijaya High School, Gel Memorial Higher Secondary and the Government Arts College, I feel proud and honored to have been part of, however small, the glorious traditions of these institutions. It was in the hallowed classrooms of these august institutions that I learnt the important of hard work, team work and smart work. The lessons, so thanklessly drilled into me that have stood by me when I have needed them most. Although the subjects may have read English, Tamil, Math and Science, a more important and unlisted education was provided to me. The education of how to be a human being, of how to care for my neighbor, and of how to love and not to hate.

Although it is fashionable to call a person ‘self-made’, I would be painfully hurt if this adjective were used to describe me, as it would be unfair to all the people who contributed to making me who and what I am.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a team only as strong as its weakest player, in the same manner, a person is only as good at the least good among the people who created her. I am fortunate that the standards set by the people around me have been high enough so that when I live up to them, I am forced to live a life of the highest quality.

Who am I?

I am what my parents, my family, my friends, my teachers, my environment and my experiences have made me.


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