"I grew up in a 300 sq.ftchawl in Dahisar. It was the early 1990s and in those days, papa barely made Rs. 5000 a month- even that was uncertain. Although there was always food on the table, I don't remember a single monsoon when we didn't have water flooding our house.
Every morning, we'd queue up for the toilet- over 20 of us shared one cubicle. While growing up, I always thought being poor was my weakness- I was scared of people judging me. So when my friends would ask about my parents or wanted to come home, I'd change the subject.
But I was a hardworking student- I aspired to become a doctor. Unfortunately, I couldn't crack my entrance tests and joining a private medical college wasn't an option- the fees were 45 lakhs! So, my plan was to reappear for the test. During that time a friend told me about a medical college in Georgia- I brushed it off. But when I mentioned it to papa, he was excited.
At that point, his bank balance was Rs. 7000. Looking back, I wonder how he said 'yes' to bearing the cost of 6 years of education in Europe. But thankfully, my uncle offered to sponsor my first year fees. For the second year, we tried applying for a loan but every bank declined us. They said things like, 'Gareeb logo ko doctor kyubannahai?'
When I finally became a doctor, my papa distributed sweets to the entire locality- it was like a festival for him. I then got a job at one of the finest hospitals in Delhi- I was the first to earn a six-figure salary in my family! With my first salary, I wanted to buy gifts for my family but papa asked me to repay my loans first- that's the kind of man he is. All I want now is a better life for them. I want my mother to travel and papa to give up welding and live comfortably.
I've been told that this was out of my reach, that I was meant for lesser things. But I'm here today, despite and because of where I come from- I'm proud of my roots. It made me strong enough to be able to stand on my own feet, and tell my story to anyone who needs to know this- you can make it."
Humans of Bombay, Fb
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