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Today, I am an enthusiastic writer and an ambitious traveler—however, it wasn’t always like this.
I was born into a poor family, with a father who was struggling to find a high paying job and a mother who was a housewife. I lived in a slum in Chandigarh as a child, and often used to do small chores for people to get money for food or ice cream.
Things were pretty desperate.
I didn’t go to school until the time I was nine years old, but I really wanted to learn. So, I started saving up money at the age of eight to buy books to study from. I was always fascinated by two kinds of books: literature and geography. Knowing more about the different places in the world and their languages made me fantasize about living or at least traveling to those places.
By the age of 12, I had gained enough knowledge to pass a scholarship exam for a good local school. I scored above 90 percent on that exam and was awarded a full scholarship as a result.
I was happy to be enrolled in a good school and finally getting a proper education, however, one of my biggest nightmares was about to come true. I was bullied—a lot. And the reason I was bullied was my family’s financial situation. Shocking, right?
Well, the bullying really started to leave a mark on me because I had no friends. I assumed the other kids bullied me because I got a scholarship, and they thought that a poor kid didn’t deserve such a privilege. Then again, it’s just a guess.
In spite of all the bullying and loneliness, I managed not to lose my focus on my studies because I knew that my sheer determination to learn and thrive was the reason for me being in this school in the first place. I know it can be hard to fathom a 12-year-old boy with such a way of thinking, but when life hits you hard from the beginning, you have to hit back—hard. And in order to do that, you need to prepare yourself. By keeping my full attention on my studies, I was doing just that.
As I started to believe that things were getting better for me, I was hit with another obstacle that felt like a dead-end—my father passed away. I felt heartbroken and purposeless. I felt like there was nothing good left in my life, and I started avoiding my studies and many other things. My mom had to work because there was no source of income with my dad gone, and as a result I had to go to school with no lunch. Somehow, I managed to eat enough to keep me going.
Time passed and, eventually, I grew past the loss of my father and started to focus on my education—and only my education. I passed with excellent grades in my twelfth year and went on to get a scholarship at a local art college. I completed my degree in journalism and literature in three years and started working as an editor at a local newspaper. However, I soon got fed up with that because it was a boring job and the salary was insufficient for me to get where I wanted to in my life.
So, I left my job after working there for just and year and went on a trip to Australia with the money I saved up. That trip was more than 15 days long and it made me realize my passion. I came back from that trip and I realized that I had a pure passion for traveling, and what’s more, I thought of converting it into something productive and it led me to write travel blogs. I started earning money this way, which enabled me to travel even more and then I started writing about those experiences. Now, I am one of the best writers in Chandigarh and I keep growing day by day.
It is not important for us to be naturally good at something. The person we become is the result of the choices we make. If I can achieve my dreams after such humble beginnings, I am pretty sure anyone can.
Now, I am living the life that I want and my mother doesn’t have to work. I consider turning my mother’s frown into a smile one of my greatest achievements. I was able to accomplish all this because I never gave up.
I want to end this with a few words of advice: fail, but whatever you do, never ever give up.