The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press


Junior Veda Manikonda poses with a “super heavy” lehenga. Heavier lehengas are usually worn for formal events, such as weddings. (Photo provided by VEDA MANIKONDA).

“[My parents] met through an arranged marriage and were married in 2002. They moved [to the United States] in 2004 or 2005. When they first came, they didn’t really have that much money. We had to take out a loan to get clothes, so that was pretty bad. I think hard work is one of the biggest things they’ve instilled in me.

Whatever I do in the future, I just want to be good at it. I want to do something preferable in STEM — maybe engineering, maybe medicine, maybe a mixture of the two — but whatever I do, I want to show the same amount of hard work and integrity [as they did].

My dad works at Memorial Hermann, and my mom is a doctor at Houston Methodist. My dad finished his master’s, and my mom did an MD, so both of them push for education. They’ve instilled that value in me too.

One thing other people find interesting about me is that I’m actually pretty cultured. I can speak my native language pretty well, which is Telugu. [This] was a surprise according to some of my friends [because] I didn’t really go to school to learn how to speak Telugu, so I consider it an accomplishment on my part.

Story continues below advertisement

I feel like any relationship in general just builds off of time, and the amount of time that you spend with someone, the closer you get with them. [My family and I] mainly watch movies. So Friday, maybe Saturday nights, we end up watching at least one Telugu movie per week.

[Something misunderstood about Indian movies] is that it’s completely dancing, which I mean, they’re 50-50 not wrong. But it’s not completely dance. It’s more than that. Also, [Telugu movies] are really, really long. We have intermission breaks for every single movie at one and a half hours. Each movie is give or take about three hours.

One thing interesting is the traditions we carry, especially Indian-Americans. You tend to see both ends of the spectrum, where they’re really, really cultured or they’re really not quite cultured at all. Sometimes when I go home to my cousins in India, I’m like ‘They know more American culture than I do!’ I went up to [my cousin] when I was in seventh grade, and this girl knew Dua Lipa, and I was like, ‘Who’s Dua Lipa?’ [My cousins] end up listening to more English songs than I do because I listen to a lot of Telugu songs.”

The hardest part [about having relatives in India] is lacking that familial support. A lot of our traditions — Indian traditions — are often based on family cooking. My mom always says, ‘Everybody wakes up in the house, and they all help cook.’ And they usually cook enough — not just for their own family — but to give to the rest of the streets and the rest of the neighborhood. Lacking some of those traditional memories is slightly sad, but [moving] is worth it.”

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Three Penny Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • H

    HasetMar 25, 2024 at 8:21 pm

    Love this, go Veda!