Updated: Dec 21, 2019
No. Even though u call me that, those aren’t my names. I am Anish. A 10 year old boy. A commoner. A curious kid. Who loved to play cricket with his slum friends? Who loved to watch movie reruns on TV? Who loved to eat roadside food at cheap rates? Finding happiness in the smallest and cheapest things around me. Spending days in minimal wages, sharing little that we had among us. Until recently, when I lost a very priced possession. My father, a rickshaw driver, got killed in an accident. A very important earning member of our family passed away. A strong support, Ma’s strength, grandma’s hope, all withered away in no time. Ma started working as a maid in different households, to provide for us. In no time, we had only enough money to keep ourselves fed. I had to quit school, and start working as a car washer. I began keeping to myself, occasionally helping Ma in household chores. Soon after, grandma suffered a paralyses attack and passed away.
Seeing our downfall, I realized that we desperately needed help. One evening, I went over to my old school teacher’s house. I told her what we were going through. With tears in my eyes, I pleaded for help. A direction, a helping hand, a ray of hope, just anything would do.
As I told her my sorry state, her eyes welled up too. She heard me out patiently, took a deep breath, and told me just one thing: “Only education can lift you up from this crisis. Be a brave heart, join school again, learn, and in no time, you will be up on your feet. You are not just a dreamer, you are an achiever”.
I enrolled in school again. Ma worked extra hard during that tough time, paying for my books and stationary. Completed my basic education, and started working as a salesperson in a decent firm. Ma was very proud of me, as I earned much more than what I was earning as a car washer. Years went by, and slowly but steadily, we came out of the hopeless situation we were in. I saved my salary and bought a small flat. We moved out of the slums and Ma was no longer needed to work as a maid. That’s when I realized. My teacher had given me the most important lesson of my life. Unexperienced, I didn’t realize it then. The dawn of poverty comes with darkness of illiteracy. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Some people have to strive hard, work relentlessly and never stop dreaming till they achieve what they have planned.
People from different backgrounds, different religions, different races. Unspoken battles that are fought every day. Untold stories that unfold. Unimaginable compromises. Just because they weren’t as lucky as us to be offered education on a silver plate. Hats off to the lion hearts out there, fighting every battle of poverty, and yet not giving up on the hope for a better tomorrow.
Loner? Loser? Lunatic? I am not what you call me. I am what I make of myself. I am not just a dreamer, I am an achiever.