A child of the slums
I scrambled up a ladder to the tin roof of our house, clutching a book about the evolution of animals. I was 10 years old, and I'd just finished cooking dinner for my entire family—a task that was my daily responsibility. From my perch, I could look out at the slum where we lived in a small town in India. But that wasn't what drew me to the roof: We didn't have any lamps in our house, so I needed sunlight to read my book. I didn't know it at the time, but that study routine was my ticket to a career as a scientist. > “I hope others can take inspiration from my story and realize … they, too, can persevere.” My father—a laborer—didn't let me attend school initially. I was always jealous of my younger brother when he set off to school each day. So, one day, when I was 5 years old, I followed him and hid under the teacher's desk. She noticed me and sent me home. But the next day, she called my father and told him that he should put me in school. Much to my delight, my father said yes.