Chasing the Sun

COMMON APPLICATION PROMPT 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.


In the corner of my room sits my grandfather’s diary: soft, well-worn, and cracked. The first entry, written in English, is dated “June 1st, 1970,” in the halting, elaborate script of a man accustomed to Bengali. The last entry, dated “November 31st, 2010,” is exactly a month before his death. The diary chronicles the life of a man—the refugee, the revolutionary, the poet—who gave me the name that’s come to define who I am.

My grandfather’s first brush with rootlessness was during Partition. Born in Bangladesh, Partition forced him to flee westward to India. Hounded in his native Bangladesh for being Hindu, and spurned in India for being Bangladeshi, my grandfather lived a life of continual reinvention, formatting himself to fit an alien environment. He spent the better portion of his life searching, not for material wealth, but for a sense of security—something more intransient than gold. In his diary, he often wrote about the sun, fascinated by its passage from East to West. Its regularity reassured him that something moving westward could still find a place in the universe. He collected watches, just to hear a predictable tick against his wrist every second. But perhaps my grandfather’s search for constancy best manifested...

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