I was not born in Myanmar, and my family fled to Bangladesh during the 1990s as ethnic Chinese.
My mother, a Bengali, came to the United States as a child to escape persecution and poverty in the former British colony.
I attended the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied business administration.
In 2002, I married a Pakistani immigrant who worked as a lawyer in New York City.
We lived in a sprawling apartment complex in Queens.
When the war ended, my parents went back to Bangladesh.
We never had any formal religion.
In fact, my family became so upset when we moved back to India in 2010 that they went to court.
They had filed a lawsuit claiming that I was a “bodhisattva” (a Buddhist monk), a term for a Buddhist who practices nonviolence.
In the lawsuit, they argued that I had broken the law because I was allowed to practice my religion in India.
After we moved to New York, I became a Hindu, even though my parents were Hindu.
I have never gone to a temple, prayed at a temple or made any other religious pilgrimage.
When I married my husband, he asked me to wear a religious mask.
I wore the mask at my wedding.
I’m a Hindu.
When we got married, I didn’t even ask for a Hindu marriage license.
My husband said, “You are a Buddhist.
Why don’t you marry me?”
And I said, I’m not going to marry you.
After our marriage, I was so angry that my family members would take offense at my wearing a religious face mask, I stopped wearing it.
In India, I saw how the law had been changed and people’s beliefs were changing, and I was trying to tell my story.
The story I tell in my book, True Religion, is about how my faith has helped me overcome my own personal obstacles.
I went back and forth between practicing Buddhism in India and in the United State.
My family moved to Houston, where my parents still live, and then to New Jersey.
In New Jersey, I had a hard time finding work, and after I had worked for a few years, I started looking for a new life.
In 2010, I met and married my wife.
They were both Hindus.
My wife’s parents were Hindus, and we started having a little bit of an affair.
They told me they were going to kill me if I did not convert to Buddhism.
So I had to convert.
I did, and now I am a Hindu in America.
As I have been learning about Buddhism and other religions, I’ve been coming to the realization that there is no religion in this world that I will not be able to embrace.
My life story was a story of resilience, and when I have a difficult time in the present, I have found that it’s a story that I’m happy to tell, as long as it brings me the benefit of my own experience and helps me grow in that process.
My book, My Life as a Hindu: A Buddhist in America, is available in paperback, Kindle, e-book and iPad editions.
This story has been republished from The Hill, a nonprofit news service focused on religion.