“Education! That’s the key to escaping this vicious loop of poverty. While it can seem very ordinary to many, for us underprivileged, it’s the only saviour!
And I know this as someone who had to drop out of school due to lack of means and start working, right at 14. I used to live in Hyderabad, with my maternal grandparents, who enrolled me in an English-medium institution and even taught me a fair bit of Hindi. This was back in the 60s where prospects seemed bright and I had dreams of becoming an IAS. However, reality rarely pans out per one’s expectations and I witness mine dismantle one day, with a phone call from my father, asking me to quit everything and immediately head back to Chennai.
His lifelong savings had apparently been looted by my uncles who left us with little money to even survive the month. Now the regret of losing all his hard-earned wealth alongside the pain of being betrayed by his own family crippled him far beyond what we fathomed. The vitality in his eyes were lost and he desperately wanted a trust-worthy member to keep our shop afloat.
Of course, I couldn’t deny his request but every single day I spent at our shop made me only long more for an education. It felt tiring and repetitive with very narrow margins and plus a clear lack of motivation. Nevertheless, with my hands handicapped and a question of survival posed afront, I didn’t have much say in the matter and had to power through year after year.
However, considering all that I had to forgo, I made sure to educate my son till college. I want him to have the freedom to pursue whatever he likes and become independent enough to not rely on anyone- be it me or even the Government. And I say the government after looking at the kind of support it provided us with during the pandemic. Barely a thousand rupees and, in fact, unaccounted bribes frequently in the name of ‘penalty’ has become the new normal in my place of work and I would want my kin to definitely rise above the clutches of this system!”