I had been in India for only 10 years.
When I arrived, I was the only Muslim in the house.
When the first car in my new neighbourhood was sold, I felt guilty.
A Muslim, by virtue of the country I came from, was not a real part of my identity.
I couldn’t find any sense of belonging, but it felt like I had a home.
And I loved it.
I was not allowed to wear hijab.
The first day I arrived in the city, a police officer pulled me aside.
He told me that I could not wear a headscarf because I was Muslim.
The next day, the same officer told me to remove my hijab.
I was shocked.
How could they tell me that wearing a head scarf was forbidden in the country where I grew up?
I felt humiliated, but I also felt confused.
Why was I being punished for being Muslim?
It wasn’t the police who made me feel guilty, it was my family.
The same officer also told me I was not to come back to India.
When they told me this, I started crying.
I felt violated.
But I was also so young.
I had not gone through puberty yet, so I didn’t understand what was happening to me.
I went back to the US for college, but after a year of classes, I left the country to pursue my dream of becoming a real estate agent.
I lived in a tiny apartment, and I started working as a home health aide in an upscale neighbourhood.
I made a living by working in restaurants and bars, but there were no jobs.
I worked for less than $2.50 an hour, and my parents gave me $400 a month.
They never asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I didn, too, think of my family or myself.
I started to look for a job when my parents divorced.
They divorced after five years of marriage, and after my father lost his job, my mother-in-law, who had a good job, offered to help.
She was also a teacher.
When she heard I wanted a new career, she was like: “Go get a job.”
We did a trial in a local hotel, but when we came out of the hotel, my parents were waiting for us.
My mother- in-law said, “Look, this is your new home, you’re a new person.”
I was surprised.
I thought: This is a dream I have never had, but the only way I could find this new home was to leave India.
I stayed in an apartment with no electricity or running water.
The only food I could get was rice and vegetables.
It was a hard life.
I spent most of my time working in the kitchen, but sometimes I would go outside and play.
But after a few months, I realised I was sick of working, so, I quit.
I also had to quit my job as a cook in the restaurant, because it was so hard to feed my family, even after I quit the job, and because I had no money.
I left my home, my family and my job.
I went to live in a place called Hyderabad.
It wasn�t as nice as India, but that was the first time I was really comfortable in a foreign country.
When people told me about Hyderabad, I just thought: “Oh, that�s wonderful.
That�s what I want.”
I moved to Hyderabad in 2014, a city that was completely unrecognisable.
It had changed so much.
In 2015, I moved back to my hometown, Haryana, because I wanted the change that was happening there.
I had never lived in the United States before, but a few weeks before I moved to Haryanvi, I visited my parents in the US.
I cried, I told them that I was going to leave.
They were devastated.
I told my parents that I would leave India and come back in a few years.
But they didn�t believe me.
I asked them to call me and ask me to come stay with them in Hyderabad to help them with their family finances.
They agreed to this plan.
They had always thought I was just a young girl living in a big city with lots of people.
But when I got there, I realized that I really am a person who has grown up in the big city.
I lived in an English-speaking apartment, which I shared with my two roommates.
I didn�tt know that my parents had separated from me. They didn�nt want to have me around other people because I didn��t want to be seen as the “other”.
They also didn�ll allow me to eat, but my parents let me watch films and play games. I could