“I hail from a village where my family business was agriculture. My parents were illiterate and we grew up in a poverty-stricken household. Till the 5th grade, there was no electricity in my house and I used to study with the help of a kerosene lamp or the street light. Our daily meals included only a bowl of rice which was usually cooked the previous day accompanied with pickle. We were rearing some farm animals like cow and hens. So, my job was to milk the cows and deliver the cans to the milk society. Our ménage of four members was solely dependent on this income. So right after coming from school, I used to head out to herd the cows and allow them to graze. Until my 12th grade, I studied in a government school. During that period, I had attended many district level drawing competitions and my teachers would support me by buying me pencils and colour box sets. My mother’s dream was to make me study in a good engineering college and bring me to a respectable position in the society. But my dad however, was a hopeless drunkard and was a slave to his drinking habits. He has changed for the better now but my childhood days were hellish with him. He used to drink every day and abuse me and my mother. Simple things triggered him and he would start a fight out of nowhere. We lived in constant fear of him and 17 years of my life went in succumbing to the growing violence at home. I missed the cut off for engineering in a government college so, my mother enrolled me for a diploma course. The college was far so I had to travel around 80 kms by bus every day. I scored a good percentage in my diploma course and through that, I got into a good engineering college via counselling.
My dad had opened a new business in Coimbatore by then and I was staying with him. But his drinking habit continued and the abuse was unstoppable. The fights were relentless and one day, out of a fit of anger, my father threw out my clothes and sent me out of the house banishing me from entering it again. Destroyed beyond measure, I took shelter in a friend’s room. Since that, I had to walk to college as I didn’t have the money to travel by bus. In the free time I had, I used to work for different catering services and work as ice cream servers in weddings. Living with my friend, I learnt the basics of web design and graphic design. My college staff recognised my talent and I was summoned before the principal where I was questioned about my inability to pay fees on time. Deeply moved with my story, he made arrangements to waive off my college fees and hostel fees for the consecutive years. To this day, I am extremely grateful to my principal and all the staff members who helped me through this. I graduated from college with a good score! My mother’s dream finally came true. Following few hard years in the job industry, I am now well settled with a good job earning a decent salary. Growing up with an extremely difficult childhood, I decided to channelize the hurt into doing something meaningful for the economically disadvantaged members of the society. Joining a few NGOs in Chennai, I volunteered by conducting donation drives and supporting the NGOs however I could. I started to donate a portion of my salary every month to different causes.I am still grateful to god for this beautiful life he has blessed me with. Living a life without expectations alone will lead to contentment and happiness in life. And I stand testimony to that fact.
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