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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Barat College alumna tells her story of leaving India with realization of not turning back

L-R:  Connie Campbell, RSCJ; Dean Traynor, RSCJ and
President of Barat College, Margaret Burke, RSCJ
taken in Drake Theater ~ Barat College (circa 1960s)


The story below was taken from a recent article in The Washington Post magazine section that I saw last week and has since been brought to my attention a few more times by fellow Barat College alums.  I met both Achamma and her sister Chinnamma many years ago in Virginia.  This is a story worth sharing and a very poignant moment in a young woman's life!  

From The Washington Post

Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when there was no turning back

Published: October 27

In 1962, getting a full scholarship to Barat College in Illinois to do my undergraduate work was a dream come true. But some of my colleagues didn’t understand why I wanted to leave all the good things I had in my native India. “You have a good job, a good name as a teacher and a good position in the community,” they said. “Why do you want to leave all this and go to the U.S.?” Yes, I was a primary school teacher. Yes, I did have a good position in the community. But to realize my dream of a college education in the United States, I had to leave all that.

I had decided to take a ship from Cochin to New York. My family and relatives had come to see me off. They came on board to see my cabin. We said goodbye, and I watched them go down the precarious rope ladder to wait on shore. Saying goodbye to my father was difficult; I tried hard not to cry. But he was happy to see me set off on my quest.

In about 10 minutes, the siren sounded, the ship pulled anchor and was on its way. I waved back to my relatives, watching each one getting smaller until they were undistinguishable. As the land receded, slowly taking the palm tree filled green coast with it, and the ship headed to the Arabian Sea, I realized that there was no turning back.

Achamma Chandersekaran,

© The Washington Post Company

1 comment:

  1. This past week, I had the opportunity to connect with Achamma at the 40th Biennial AASH Conference that was hosted in Boston. And, I was fortunate to be able to purchase a signed copy of her book "Daughters of Kerala: 25 short stories by award-winning authors/translated from the Maylayalam by Achamma C. Chandersekaran; introduction by R.E. Asher". Click on the link to the right under Sacred Heart Alum Authors to learn more and/or to buy a copy of the book.