Prompt- Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
Note- This is my First Draft so please don't pay attention to the word limit. Please tell me if it's good enough !
I was brought up in an extended family with one elder sibling, two first cousins, an uncle and aunt, my parents and grandparents under one roof. Ten of us in a three bedroom home! Life wasn't easy, yet we lived in harmony.
Welcome to my world. The great Buddha likened a family home to a beautiful garden which when disrupted creates a storm that wreaks havoc. I could certainly say my family home was a beautiful, pastoral garden.
There are, of course, two sides to every story.
As the youngest I was pampered. The 'Choksi family' was known in school as there were so many of us; with three elder siblings, I was never bullied - my sister was my mentor, particularly in studies as she was scholarly. I could say I had the best of both worlds given that I could share confidences with my two elder brothers. Dinner was a rambunctious time, with dinner being cooked for us, my grandparents, my father and his brother. There were adjustments, though: my mom had to sacrifice a lot. As in the movies, there was always a villainous character stirring up trouble and creating misunderstanding within the family. And just like the Star Plus soaps tell you, in most cases it was the chachi (or father's brother's wife). My mother and chachi never got along!
To compound this, my grandmother was a strict disciplinarian: my mother had to compromise on everything; consequently she'd remove her frustration on my sister and me. But I have immense respect for my mother as she always got us what she wanted!
With my cousins and I, it was another story, from playing play station to soccer. Watching TV together, most memorably cricket, we had the rule of 'shotgun' which meant whoever said the word, got to keep the television remote and choose what to watch. We'd fight over this every night; however all in good spirits. However the sharing and horseplay did get oppressive at times; as there wasn't a lot of privacy.
Still, my siblings and cousins became my role models -seeing them go through life's vicissitudes taught me to be a stronger person. I drew strength from their stories, of hardships they went through, which seemed always to parallel mine.
I believe that living with my grandparents and assorted family elders' taught me traditions and core values which have laid the foundation for my approach to life. There were times, of course, when I wanted to rebel, however living with others also made me diplomatic!
The transition from a joint family to a nuclear one was radical.
The family separated as dad's elder brother decided to get a new house. They decided that it was time to part ways as everyone needed their own space. Initially there were times when I would not eat, as I missed my cousins. The living room, once brimming with incessant chatter went silent. Dinners were relatively quiet, and there were times when I would whisper 'shotgun' to myself, hoping for someone to answer. I felt extremely lonely sleeping in my room, alone.
My parents had mixed emotions - my mother experienced independence from this new liberation. In charge of everything, she could now do everything freely; she grew as an individual. My sister and I were ecstatic; we each had our own room. The newfound privacy engendered closeness as a family. I conversed with my dad much more than before across the dining table, when he'd talk about our jewelry business. My interest in his business increased, which led me to go to the shop to see how things worked. My father helped me crystallize my interest into passion. I would always hear people talking about the stock market, thus I decided to matriculate for a course at the Bombay stock exchange. I gained an insight on how the stock markets functioned. I also interned at the Axis Bank. I was fortunate to learn from those with years of experience in the banking field - it helped me to improve my communication and organizational skills. This internship also helped to develop the prowess I need for college. All this really helped me broaden my perspective and learn the whole shebang of the real business world.
This has fostered a dream, to use my education to expand the business and take it to greater heights. I'd like to make my dad proud!