Dreams don’t cost money. Dreams are not taxed. Yet we are afraid of dreaming. We get too absorbed in who’s who and what’s what that we forget the basic human tendency- tendency to aspire. But a little 12 year old girl hasn’t given up on her dreams. Her conditions may not be very much in her favor, but her spirit is unbreakable
12-year-old Yashoda tells us her story. With an aspiration to become a teacher, Yashoda, is a bright student in class and is amongst the toppers in her section. During the discussion, Mr. Gangahomaiah reveals that Yashoda had recently lost her father. A sudden sickness struck him in late 2014 which unfortunately led to his sudden demise. Her father was formally a carpenter and was the only working member of the family. “My mother was a home maker till the demise of my father. Since he was the only working member of the family, my mother started working at a garment industry to make ends meet.” Yashoda and her mother reside at a small one bedroom house about a kilometer away from the school. “Initially it was hard for us because my father provided us with everything. We were shocked when he passed away,” says Yashoda.
What Yashoda tell us next is inspiring. “My father’s wish was that I become a lecturer at a college and educate students. He inspired me and I want to do my best.” His demise, in fact hasn’t deterred her from following her ambition of becoming a teacher. Determined to follow her aspiration, Yashoda also wants to give back to society. “When I start teaching, I will also make it a point to educate the poor,” she added with a smile.
As we conclude our conversation, the bell rings for lunch and we don’t want to keep Yashoda waiting. During the lunch hour, the students at the school are taken to the dining hall on the 3rd floor. Its pulao (rice based dish cooked in a broth) and curd (yogurt) for lunch as students’ line up for their meal. Yashoda is particularly fond of the pulao and says, “I love the pulao served by Akshaya Patra. The vegetables are nutritious and healthy for us.” We thank Mr. Gangahomaiah for his hospitality and wish Yashodha all the very best. She signs off with a ‘Thank You’ and commends Akshaya Patra for providing mid-day.