I was brought up in Varanasi in a family of 12 members (my Dadu (Grandfather), Amma ( Grandmother), Bade papa (Uncle), Badi mummy ( Aunt), three cousins (two sisters and a brother), my papa (Dad) and mummy (Mother), my younger sister and a younger brother).
My mother was schizophrenic and my father used to be outdoors most of the time because of his work. My sister, my brother and I were taken care of by my grandparents and we used to consider them as our parents. But it was all fun. We used to eat, talk and sleep with our grandparents.
On May 31, 2004, my brother died. I was 10 years old at that time. With his death, I understood that they have not lost a family member but lost their only son. Thereafter, my fairy-tale world vanished. My mother became a liability to everyone. My father started drinking excessively. Every single thing was destroyed. My grandparents still took care of us but it was not like before. My sister and I became third-class citizens in our own home. They all used to love us but they were in such a tremendous amount of grief that they didn't even realize what they were doing to us. Our relatives scolded us for no reason. And because our mother was ill, nobody told us how to do things properly. People used to warn their children not to be like us, without realizing that we were too young to listen to these taunts for hundreds of times in a day.
My sister was a brilliant student but for me even in class 5, 4/2 never resulted as 2. Somehow, I managed to get admitted into a good school (one of the most reputed one in our city) with very low fees (1800 per year). I still believe that it was just sheer luck. My struggles did not end there. I barely managed to pass my exams. But I was not distracted towards anything. I didn't want to be like my mother. In class 10, I studied hard and got very good marks. My grandparents and father were very happy. At that my father, working in Alwar, asked me to join a coaching for IIT and I did. Everything was going well. I started my preparation for IIT.
However, things took a drastic turn when my grandfather passed away on October 26, 2009.
My grandmother wanted my father to come back to Varanasi to look after his family. He didn't want to as he was earning well over there (in Alwar) but ultimately he had to listen to her. He came back after which he became a cruel person filled with deep anger. I used to stay away from him. But I never stopped my preparations.
My father used to come home very late. And I used to wait for him, praying for him. With every horn of bike, I used to run towards the balcony and check if he came. It put me in tremendous amounts of stress.
One day my grandmother called me (when I was in balcony waiting for my papa) and told me to compare two things: if your father will die, you will recover soon but if you will stop your studies, you will never be able to recover. My grandmother was uneducated but she was much more farsighted than anyone else in my family.
A few days later, she too passed away. Both the people, who loved us, died within a short span. My sister and I were broken but nobody, not a single relative came into our room to see us. We were all alone. I still remember it was 13th-day ceremony (ceremony conducted to mark the final day of mourning after a death by Hindus) of grandmother's death on which my mother got fever and vomiting and I was studying as my 12th board was going on. I gave her medicine and started studying. After a few minutes, some of the women asked me to leave studying and take care of my mother. I denied. They scolded me. I ignored them. Finally, father told them that we will take care of her and they can leave. After this event, my father became our friend. He spent very few hours at home but whenever he came, we used to talk a lot.
After 2 months, my 12th results came and I scored much better than I had expected to but I failed to get into a good college. So I decided to prepare again. We didn't have anything except for a few ornaments to pay the fees of coaching. My father sold them. Generally, in my family, nobody spends this much on their daughter’s education. But my father did. My coaching was 5 km away from my home. Sometimes I used to walk 4–5 km to save money for two bananas. My coaching timings were from 7 am to 1 pm. But I used to sit till 6 pm (as the environment at my home was not good) without having anything for the whole day. At that time food was a luxury for me.
On the day of my AIEEE exam, my father left for his work early in the morning after giving Rs. 30 to me (a few days back he told me that all he had was that Rs. 30 on that day). I had no clue about my examination center as I assumed that papa would drop me. No rickshaw was ready to go there. I was hungry and late. I ran like anything and somehow managed to reach the center. When I reached, I was tired and worried. I saw one of my friend, Saurabh Agrawal, who got the same center, was looking at me and smiling which made me realize that I was on time.
Results arrived and I got admission in an NIT.
This was my first photo after getting into my college.
Presently, I am working with Larsen & Toubro as Asst. Manager.
This is me…
With my sister
Now my relatives and neighbors want their children to be like us.