The exams had got over few weeks back , the results were out. We were happy that we would be going in next class ,and most importantly would be getting new books, uniforms, water bottles etc. We were least bothered about the rank in our class because exams were meant to be just another hurdle before we got new books with fancy pictures & cartoons which will keep us occupied in summer vacations, reading stories from Hindi and Literature books.
St. Joseph’s School,
The principal was giving report cards onstage to kids who came first in the class.The assembly zone roared with clap with announcement “Next is Durgawati ,1st position ” . There was a girl who was just honored by the principal of the school since she came first once again in her class.She was promoted to next class but there was a concern in her heart.How will she pay for new dress , fees and books ?
I went to bus stand with my father to get some veggies . But the actual reason was that I would be getting my new books & stationary from the local market there.As I passed a hawker selling groundnuts I saw a girl standing with her father helping him to deal with customers.This was the only source of income for the family of 5.It took great effort to feed 5 mouths ; sending kids to school was luxury for him.Coming from a very poor family the girl had two options – either to be a hawker and earn something for the family OR continue with her studies. But the girl didnot believe in the OR option, she chose the AND. During the day she attended the school,after the school got over she would join her father to earn for their daily chores. When the market would close and we would be sleeping in the warmth of our houses she would open her the old & tattered books to complete her homework.While rest of the class would not care what the teacher was explaining she would listen with utmost attention since this was the only chance to understand and learn the topic. She might not even have the time and books to read the chapter.She would borrow the books from her classmates to study. Some seniors would donate the used books to her to study and she made sure that she made full use of the privilege she got. Durgawati had undergone immense struggles to achieve what we couldn’t with all the facilities we had.
Over the years Durgawati had become a household name in Shaktinagar. Our parents would scold us and take her name an ideal example to be followed. Durgawati had made her father very proud and famous. People helped her in their own ways. Many would buy stuff from her father’s shop, students would donate books, principal would help with fees and teachers would go out of the way to cooperate with her.
Since we lived in NTPC township having people from technical background,everybody knew each other very well and the discussion revolved around engineering & medical as lucrative career.
Durgawati was no exception. With the help of everybody she passed class 12 board exams with flying colors and had also cracked engineering entrance exam in her very first attempt without any coaching.It would have been a opportunity to celebrate for any other folk but a worry for her.An engineering course was too costly , the fee was high and hostel charges were rocket high. Again she had the choice either to stay where she was , get married (which her parents wanted since they were not much educated) OR go for her dreams. Yeahh.. you are right she chose the last option. She decided to go for her dreams.
“Where there is a will there is a way ” is an apt saying and applies very well to her.People and NGOs of our township came forward to fund her studies. She was on her way to accomplish her dreams and make us all proud.
Since I was many years senior to her, I had already left the place for my engineering but would hear about her from my juniors and parents. Durgawati continued to excel in her engineering . It was long fought battle to achieve her dreams midst all the challenges. I happened to meet her once at Delhi railway station where she was headed to go for her home during semester break.
With her sheer perseverance and hard work Durgawati fought each battle and achieved what we all dream to do .
She is now working in Power Grid Corporation, a government organization. She has made us proud. She doesn’t know us but we all know her. Often I cite the struggle of this girl to motivate people reporting to me in office.She is role model for many of us.
I salute her Indomitable spirit.