Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Visits YLDP Class of 2016


By Radha Chenna

HOUSTON: On Saturday, March 26, YLDP held a session with its keynote speaker, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, at the Mayuri Indian Restaraunt. Divakaruni is a New York Best Selling author who integrates her Indian heritage and culture within her writing. She has written seventeen novels, in which two of them have been made into award-winning movies. Apart from being an author, she also teaches a creative writing course at the University of Houston. Divakaruni encountered several challenges when she arrived in the United States for her collegiate studies. From her, we learned passion, adaptability, perseverance, independence, and the importance of time management.

Divakaruni was put in a dire situation when she least expected it. To further her studies, she came to the United States in hopes to get her Ph.D. However, upon her arrival, she was informed that her college tuition would not be supported by her family as her father had lost his job. Because of this, her family offered to get her married instead of continuing higher studies. Despite being given an easy solution, Divakaruni remained passionate towards her education and forced to earn money herself. Adapting to this harsh circumstance, she was working several odd jobs while simultaneously attending college. This perseverance paid off when she was finally approached by an agent who eagerly sold her first book. This became a major turning point in her life.

Throughout her first few years in the United States, Divakaruni adapted to a different lifestyle and struggled to pursue her passion for writing. Staying up late at night was a sacrifice Divakaruni had to make in order to expand her writing.  Her perseverance and management of time have proved to us that without passion, everything becomes a chore. Putting aside her discomforts, Divakaruni remained joyful and determined, which shows us that with passion, one can achieve anything. Without it, there is no hard work or goal in life.

Her life story of passion has inspired me and other YLDP students to chase after their dreams and to see the positive aspects of life. She taught us to pursue our dreams though it may be disapproved. Although Divakaruni struggled, she became what she always dreamed and inspired others to do the same. We can only tread forward in life if we have passion, perseverance, and adaptability. Divakaruni has taught us this very valuable lesson.