Only in America: A New Beginning

Ajay Krishnan, Best in Class
Grade 4
Los Altos

Imagine you were one of the first pilgrims who came to America. You left behind all your favorite things, your family, your hometown, and your friends. You came alone. You did not know what to expect. Wouldn’t you have been terrified?

Well, my dad had a similar experience when he left India and came to America 30 years ago. He had to leave everything behind and start a new life, and he was only 22 years old. He came with 1 suitcase, $20 in his pocket, and an admission to college.

At first it was not easy. He knew English, but did not understand the accent. He had to study hard in school and also had to work outside to support himself. He got chicken pox during his first term exams and did not have anybody to help him when he was sick. Other than his simple belongings, he only had his dreams for a better life. As he always says, it was hard work and willingness to try new things that helped him succeed.

Dad’s life in India was different from my life in America. My dad used to play cricket on the streets with kids he barely knew whereas I get arranged play dates with kids I want to have over. He rode a bicycle that was too big for him, in the hot sun and without shoes while I have a bicycle for my size and I am not allowed to ride it without a helmet, sunscreen and even kneepads (in the beginning). I do swimming and tennis. In India, swimming pools are a luxury. Thirty years ago, the only entertainment in India were movies; there were no computers, no video games, no Internet. I enjoy lots of screen time – too much according to my parents. But the best part is that I have friends from many different countries. All my father’s classmates were Indian.

My parents have provided me with many comforts and opportunities. Dad says that I am lucky to have been born in America where hard work is rewarded, and encourages me to dream even bigger than he did. Our entire family knows the value of education and money. Dad encourages me not to waste starting with little things like switching off lights or turning off the faucet while brushing teeth.

I know Dad went through tough times. He says that adversities can become scars or experiences. If we are bitter about adversities, they become scars. If we learn from them, they become experiences. With time, effort, luck and his experiences, dad managed to succeed. He tells me that his relatives discouraged him from coming to America. They told him to remain in India, where everything was familiar rather than going to a faraway land. I am so glad he chose to go on his adventure. Where else can you land with only $20 and a dream and 20 years later become a vice-president in a large company? Only in America!