I was born in a small town in the hinterland of Rajasthan in a Marwari business family of which my parents were the black sheep: they were both doctors. I grew up speaking Marwari, my
vernacular, amidst a joint family. There were barely any schools in my hometown, and my parents decided to send me to a convent school in Ajmer when I was barely 7 with a view to ensuring that I get a good education. So I landed up in a strange environment where everyone spoke English, a language I was completely clueless about. In my first year at school I struggled to understand the most basic instructions; speaking the language was a far cry. I remember not knowing what the English word for ‘suno’ was. If I wanted to talk to someone, I would call out to them with ‘heard’,rather than ‘listen’. Gradually, I learnt. And learnt to the extent that in Grade 7, I decided I would be a college lecturer in English literature. Single minded pursuit of this goal, and here I am, Associate Professor in English literature. Over the years, I learnt also to put my multi-lingual skills to use by delving into translation from Hindi and Urdu into English. This pursuit bore fruit when I was recently awarded the Charles Wallace India Trust Translation Fellowship to the UK. I realize now that no dream is too small and no effort too big to achieve a goal if you put your mind to it.
Dr Urvashi Sabu
Dept of English, PGDAV College
Delhi University, Delhi