My name is Madhu Priya, and I am a native of Chennai. I hail from a family of vegetable vendors who had their own share of struggles in life. My father moved to Chennai before I was born after having a run for the money. Initially, he worked as a plumber, but with the advent of technology, he had to lose his job. When the earnings were less, he decided to open a vegetable shop along with my mother in Chennai. It has now been three decades since they have been selling vegetables.
My mother always dreamed of studying in convent school when she was young, but because of financial strains, she had to drop out of school. But she made it a point to get her daughters admitted to one of the best convent schools in the city and get the best education possible. But it was not easy. She used to go to school every day and plead with the management to get my sister and me admitted but failed every time. For the next two years, she kept trying and did not budge. Finally, she managed to get the attention of the school principal and accomplished what she wanted for us. So I was the first one to get into the convent school in my family, not just in my family but in my entire neighbourhood where most of the people are usually vendors, vegetable or fruit sellers. It was such a proud moment.
I owe my success to my parents, especially my mother. All they wanted for us was a good education. Coming from a financially weaker background, it was not easy to pay huge amounts of fees in a reputed convent school, but my parents made it possible for both sisters to get an upscale education, despite going into debt.
But the struggles did not end there. My school life was actually way tricky than I had imagined. Most of my classmates belonged to elite families and were the children of celebrities, sportspersons, politicians. Initially, I did not have much idea about the class difference but became aware after a certain point in time. That is when I came to know I did not belong there.
My mother would always show up late for parent-teacher meetings during my school days. I was angry with her for never making it on time. After completing my graduation, she told me that she was always late as she did not want to embarrass me in school for being a vegetable vendor's daughter. At that time, I felt terrible for not understanding my mother and not getting the chance to show my classmates how proud I was of her.
After accomplishing success and securing a job, I took the opportunity and posted on LinkedIn to show the world that I was a proud vegetable vendor's daughter. I wanted to say that I am a proud daughter who defied all odds and flourished her way today. I did work out, went viral, and earned heaps of praises.
I am certainly at a far better place in my life than where my neighbours thought I would be. I am a first-generation learner, the first girl-child in the family to have done a Master's degree, the first girl to get campus placement in an Indian MNC, the first working mother in the family, and the first to get a promotion from Senior HR Associate to Associate Manager. This is my first ever promotion and all credit goes to my mother.
I cannot thank my parents enough for supporting me throughout my journey and their happiness is my reward. There is nothing you could not achieve if you have family support with you. Today I can proudly say, their sacrifices did not go in vain.