Where are you from?
I am from Dublin, Ohio.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I am committed, motivated, and passionate.
What is your favorite color?
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
I love playing badminton and reading science fiction novels.
What is your favorite food?
I LOVE PIZZA!
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I wish I could see the future. I would really like to have this super power because if I see something wrong that will take place in the future, I can come back to the present and try to do something in order to fix it.
What is a dream that you have? What is something that you are passionate about?
My dream is to attend medical school and become a Geriatrician. I am very passionate about serving senior citizens and caring for their needs.
Tell us about a very difficult experience in your life. How did this situation weaken you? How did it make you stronger?
In 2008, my family woke up to a very disturbing phone call from our relatives in India. We found out that my paternal grandparents had been forcefully removed from their home and were placed in an old-age home. My parents and I were shocked. After that call, my mom and dad booked two tickets to go to India the next day. I had to stay back with my aunt who was trying not to cry. I couldn’t go with my parents because I was too young. When my parents went to India, they found out that my grandparents were kicked out of their home by our very own family members. When my parents asked for the reason, they simply said that they were too old and they did not have the time to look after them. That is why they decided to move them into an old-age home.
After that incident, our family broke into two. We never went back to that house and we stopped all communication with those family members. I haven’t even seen my cousins for more than 10 years because of the fallout. My parents supported my grandparents financially and tried to be there for them emotionally, but it was hard because they had to come back to the U.S. and it was too expensive to keep flying back and forth to India. Nonetheless, we tried to be with them the best we could.
After 2 years (December 2010), we traveled to India again. We were planning to see my grandpa and grandma together. However, we suddenly got a call saying that both were severely sick and wanted to see us. My mom, dad, aunt, and I jumped in the car and drove to the old-age home, which was 2 hours away. We were halfway there and we got a call saying that my grandparents had passed away. I still remember my dad’s face. My mom was sobbing. When we got there, my parents did not allow me to see them because they thought I was too young. My other set of grandparents (from my mom’s side) came to pay their respects and took my home. As a result, I never saw my paternal grandparents. The people at the old-age home told us that my grandparents had stopped eating completely which was the reason for their sudden passing.
What has been a challenge in your RISE-ing process? d. How have you overcome those challenges?
I think the biggest challenge in my RISE-ing process was trying to stop blaming myself for not working hard enough to see my grandparents. To be honest, I still haven’t overcome this challenge. My biggest regret was not being able to see them. However, I believe that this experience is what pushed me towards wanting to pursue Geriatric medicine. Sometimes, we are so caught up in our own lives that we forget about the people who matter the most to us. Senior citizens often feel left behind because they may not be able to keep up with life like they used to and may not be able to perform certain activities or tasks anymore. I believe that is OUR job to give them the care, comfort, and support they deserve.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling with a very difficult life experience?
I think people should stop and take a moment to reflect. We are so busy in our daily lives that we forget to take care of ourselves. Life is all about having a healthy balance. There are going to be days when you feel like the entire world is crashing down on you. However, I think you should take a minute or two to breathe and listen to your thoughts. That will help you decide what you need to do next.
What would you say to those who think they can’t make a difference in the world? Is there a certain quote that you have found inspirational?
“What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us”- Ted Kennedy. People should unite and support each other. Being present for another individual can really go a long way.
Do you think of yourself as an activist?
To me, I am just an individual who tries to support something she believe in.
What do you think activism means?
I think activism is working with a group of passionate individuals to support a cause that you support.
What is your vision of social change?
I would like to see equality in this world in which you are not defined or judged by your race, ethnicity, gender, and age.
If you could make a difference in the world, what would that be?
I would want to advocate for better treatment towards senior citizens.
What does RISE mean to you?
To me, RISE means the ability to thrive and elicit change. You have the ability to spark a difference and empower those around you.