Let me tell you an open secret which might astound you that I am turning 34 tomorrow. Yes, you read correctly, it’s not 24 or 25. Though some of the fellows think I am still 25 or 26. It sounds real compliment and I thank them for making me feel too young even at 34. Usually asking any woman’s age in many societies, would not consider appropriate or at least polite, but I never feel shy or hesitated to share my actual age.

I have seen 34 springs, but I still recall my childhood birthday celebrations, when my parents used to make me count how old I had been with each passing year. I easily used to get frustrated to know that I am getting older and the worst part is when my uncle used to say “don’t consider it increase in your age, but take it as decrease of a year for eternal departure” That’s even scared me more, it’s too soon die.

I am coming from the part of the world, where girls are first to be dragged into domestic labor and last to be enrolled in the schools, less than half of the school age girls makes their way to primary schooling. Every fifth girl in my society is forced to get married, while she is a child (precisely before she turns 18 years)

I am fortunate to have best parents and amazing family who left no stone unturned to provide me best education, health care, lifestyle, environment, and above all the trust. I have never been denied to get education, never forced to marry despite the fact that my two younger sisters are married, which is unusual in my stereotype society. Elder one is normally first to get married. All this became possible only because of my progressive parents. Let me avail this opportunity, through this blog, to express my feelings and gratitude that I never did before. Thanks you so much for everything you both did to make me whatever I am today. I will never be able to payoff for your endless kindness, but offer my most sincere thanks for this life.

Life itself is a great teacher and it never stops bringing new teachings to you, from your own experiences as well as observations. So life teaches me in its own style. Living thousands mile away from family and loved ones is another chapter of life. Now it teaches me how to cook, tasting different food, though I am very picky, sharing a house with fellows from diverse culture, learning new languages, understanding map to reach unknown places and of course getting lost, explore other cities, a cruise trip and so on. This learning curve of life is not only grooming me personally and socially but also professionally. Serving in the dynamic host organization like Youth For Understanding is so far, nothing shorter than brilliance, which has enhanced my knowledge, equipped me with new skills and transformed my attitudes that will certainly prepare me to face unprecedented challenges of a complex world.

At this stage of life where I come across many people and have professional relations with numerous people around the globe, some are good to have in your life but some are not. Every individual brings a lesson even those who makes me annoyed, frustrated at a level when I even hate someone, I say that right people can only teach you what to do but wrong one also teaches what not to do. So don’t get surprised, meet diversified people, either they are right or wrong ones, you keep on learning from them.

Well. Today, while writing this blog, I really feel my age and let me say it proudly that I am old, not only in terms of age but in skills, experience and aptitude. I have got some gray hair that depicts the strength and energy I invested for learning, earning and in acquiring knowledge, I might have some wrinkles soon which will portray that I have laughed and lived my life with full zeal and enthusiasm.

At last, through this blog, a day before my birthday, I would like to show my deepest gratitude to my family, my love, friends, fellow fellows, colleagues, relatives and those who demonstrated their trust, love, care, showed their confidence and always provided space to grow and the most to God for blessing me the gift of LIFE.

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