The first amongst three who attended college
My name is Kausar Ataullah and I am currently pursuing my undergraduate in English Literature. I was born and brought up in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and I have recently shifted to India – something which I never imagined myself doing.
I am blessed since I’m the first in my family to attend a regular college. My elder sisters never got a chance although they had always aspired to. My sisters were role models for me. I saw them work hard, study, and get married. I always knew I would follow in their footsteps, which has kept me grounded.
My parents left no stone unturned to provide us with the best education, necessities, and equipment so we could achieve everything from home. My eldest sister pursued her bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. She wrote weekly articles, penned her opinion for daily newspapers, magazines, and blogs. She even earned herself a diploma from the London School of Journalism. As a side job, she offered tuition classes and taught the Quran to children. All of this while she was studying on the side. She kept studying post-marriage and completed her master's degree despite having a child. She currently has a family of two kids, and in this period of isolation is writing articles connecting teachings from the Quran and the pandemic. She is someone I look up to for advice, support, and guidance.
My relocation to India unearthed an entirely new world. Everything was new -- college, people, travel, language. But I continued to remain restricted from many things that other students did regularly like traveling alone or staying back after college hours. so I had to find avenues to explore within my limitations.
First, I joined an organization that I was familiar with. It is called the Girls Islamic Organisation, it works for uplifting and molding the society and bringing out the talents of girls. Second, I discovered a new thirst for knowledge and a strong urge to get things done. I knew now that I wanted much more than just a degree at the end of my course. So, I joined short courses that were available on the college campus. I started attending workshops, plays, and competitions, anything I could get my hands on to explore new avenues.
It turned out that moving to India gave me a lot more than I thought it would. It gradually paved the way for new hopes, dreams, wishes, and aspirations. I got an immense exposure that made me realize that there was no ceiling to the opportunities that I had ahead of me.
In the not-so-distant past, I always thought there were too many dreams I could not ever aspire for. I was extremely narrow-minded about my pursuits. India taught me how to dream. I now wish to become an editor and a social worker, to serve as a model to uplift society.
I have tried to make the most of the small opportunities I've had to gain whatever relevant experience I could. Till now, I have edited articles, taught school children, volunteered at hospitals, wrote scripts for plays, wrote and designed posters, became a member of The Girls Islamic organization, attended summer and winter camps, and much more.
I performed well in academics, made the best use of college and faculty, and became a member of the college’s council as well. But there have been challenges too. Since India and its people were new to me, it took a lot of time, space, and mental health to adjust the way of life here. Shifting demanded adjustments. Coming from a nuclear family and staying with relatives was not easy. I was not able to manage college and home together but gradually learned how to do so. Everything settles perfectly with time.
This was indeed a lesson I learned in life.
Kausar Ataullah is currently pursuing her bachelors in English Literature from Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women
The views expressed by the author are personal