Please Crituq a lot
Posted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:21 am
Hey guys, I would really like some help on my personal statement. Any suggestions would be really helpful. I would really like to know what are the weak points and strong point. Thanks
One of the first memories I have of my early childhood is accompanying my grandfather to the city center. I was no taller than my grandfather's knees. We walked side by side as I held his hand, and took in the view of our small Punjabi village, the streets were covered with dirt, the sewer ran right next to the side walk and merchants lined their street carts all around the city center in a perfectly straight line. We stopped by one of the carts for boiled eggs, and sat to eat them with hot sauce. This is one of the fondest memories I have of my grandfather.
After we were done eating our boiled eggs, my grandfather and I traveled though back allies and closed shops to visited the darah. My grandfather exchanged some money for a bottle and we walked away, he quietly spoke in Punjabi, “This is the finest liquor, it comes all the way from America.” I was immediately enchanted by the golden liquid in the square bottle, it was something I had never seen before , Jack Daniels, one of the reasons for my grandfather's eventual death from kidney failure.
This was the beginning of my fascination with America. As I grew older, my grandfather told me more about this far away land, and my cousins and I use to huddle around in my family's small living room, listening to stories my grandfather told about the Wild West, cowboys, George Washington, microwaves, football and even the Constitution. My grandfather was especially fond of stories about the American Civil Rights Movement, he would often condemned India for being stuck in the Middle Ages. Though his stories, my grandfather instilled a vision of America in our young mind, and the stories about the quest for human equality especially stuck with me. The caste system in India controls an individual's life from before birth where one can buy land, farm, marry, and even attend college. I was told that America had no such barriers.
The same year, my family immigrated to the United States. I remember the plane ride was unbearably exciting as I envisioned arriving on a different planet, where life was simpler, easier, and more fun. However, after a couple of years living in our cramped apartment in the Bay Area, I realized that life was not as idyllic as it seemed on the hit television show Dallas. My parents came from a family of farmers, with no education, and had to resort to working as janitors. Our two bedroom apartment was smaller than our house in India. At school, children taunted me for being different; one of them pulled on my jorah, others made fun of my English, and some even slandered my skin. It was not long before I gave in, and wanted to forget my cultural identify and blend in with the masses. I begged my parents to get me a hair cut, and buy western clothing. Before I knew it, my biggest obsessions were hip-hip and Sunday football. It was a marked difference from my Indian upbringing, in religious home with Sundays strictly reserved for prayer.
Unlike my parents, I had totally assimilated into American society by the time I was in high school. While my parents still regularly ate traditional Indian cuisine, wore Indian salvar-kamiz, and attend religious ceremonies, I was wearing blue jeans and eating hamburgers. I even went refused to let my parents pick me up from school so no would notice how different they were in their Indian attire.
When family and friends would come over, it was often hard for me to relate to them.
Often recent immigrants would come to my dad for advice, they were clueless as to how to approach getting a green card or papers to travel back to India. Some even thought for years that they could not travel back because they had sought asylum in the United States. My father was not privy to all the information pertaining to the law, and often times these people could not afford a lawyer to get this information. Often, my father would and the family friends would consult me on the matters because I was proficient in using a computer and the English language. I recall vividly getting a certain satisfaction from translating several of these document from English to Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Pashto. Growing up in Punjab had it’s unique advantage, I had the opportunity to pick up several different languages from a young age. Helping these family members helped spark an interest in Law from an early age.
One incident particularly stuck with me. A relative came to our house, who had been an American citizen for several years and still sported a turban. After 9/11, he recalled being harassed at his job as a train operator. A couple of weeks later, he was fired from his job after refusing to remove his turban because “Americans” were offended. Unfortunately, no one was able to help him and he had to find another job flipping burgers. Another relative was baptized and thus had to carry a kirpan (a 3- inch blade) under his clothing, and was fired from his job as a police officer which he had held for a decade after his superiors found out that he had been carrying it. At the time, I did not really understand these issues and often thought these people should assimilate like me.
As I grew older, issues like these made me realize that America was far not the land of freedom and justice my grandfather and the televisions shows in India had portrayed. By the time I was a senior in high school, taking a government class I realized that the founding principles of this country and its real conditions were very different, at that time I began to search for an opportunity to change a system that I believed was unjust.
However, the real eye opener came when I went to college. I was surprised by the diversity of the students around me. Instead of being afraid of who they were, they were embracing their roots and even going out of their way to make themselves appear different I met a young Jewish student from Israeli who had a profound effect on me. He was a recent immigrant, he would pray anywhere, in the corner of the library, in the middle of the park, and even in front of others. Instead of people avoiding him, he would often attract on lookers who, to my surprise, they would not making fun of him, but instead inquired about his actions and tried to understand him.
These events made me realize that I should not fear who I am. Soon, I found myself embarrassed that I had spent my adult life avoiding my history and culture.
Today, I am proud of my culture, both as an Indian and American. I choose to seek a law degree so that I may set up a non-profit organization in order to help those who are unable to afford legal counsel. My unique upbringings, culture, and languages skills put in a position to extensively understand issues that face members of my community. These issues range from small matters such as applying for a work permit to championing the constitutional right to wear a turban at work. I realize now realize that America is not like my grandfather had projected, it is not a perfect utopia, but I want to help achieve that America.