My Name is Ayush Kumar

Student: Colleen O’Melia*
Mentor: Jonas Zdanys
Major: English

In 2006, Ayush Kumar and his Māṁ, Fathi Kumar, flee their home in Gurgaon, India. Forced to leave behind beloved friends and family for their own safety, seven-year-old Ayush and a terrified Fathi land in America with the help of a family friend. Just when Ayush and Fathi think they have found safety in Massachusetts, over seven thousand miles away from their home in India, they realize they have been followed. Only a small circle of people know the truth about Ayush’s circumstance, and Fathi wishes to keep it that way. However, Ayush’s secret is unveiled when he reaches out to a camp counselor the summer after his arrival in America. Despite a report to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Ayush cannot be sure he will ever find a safe haven from his abusive father. At this point, Fathi can only leave her son with one piece of advice: “I have had to fight for my own life. I am still fighting for my own life. Now it’s time for you to fight for yours.”

*Honors Senior