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Life Changing Letter


The postman always came in the afternoon, after we had had lunch. He would knock on the door, and hand us the mail. I can't recall who received the mail that day. Maybe it was my mother who handed me the letters that came for me.

I had already received some thin envelopes in the days prior to this one. "We receive a large number of applications from many excellent candidates and can only accept a small proportion of students. Unfortunately we cannot offer you admission. We wish you the very best."

Or another version: "We are pleased to offer you admission to our college, but are not able to offer you financial aid." Which meant, of course, that I could not accept. The tuition for college was difficult enough, I later learned, for families in the US. It it was well beyond the reach of a middle-class family in India such as mine.

The first thick letter I received was from Mt. Holyoke. Admission and full financial aid. And several days later, another thick letter, from Smith College. Which meant many more things than I could have imagined at the time.

I would come to the United States to college. I would leave my family and everything I knew. I would fly on a plane for the first time. I would go 10,000 miles away, halfway across the world. To a country I had only read about. To a country that years later, I would call home.

I would build a life, make new friends. Get an education. Get a job, then another, and another. I would fall in love, fall out of love. Have my heart broken. Have it heal. Have a child. Raise a child.

And all along the way try to keep my promise to myself that I would keep writing.


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