When my grandfather died, my dad was unceremoniously plucked out of school and told to work in the fields. My grandmother had responsibilities and she could not take care of the household and the farmland all by herself with the measly resources available.

My dad did not complain, but every morning when he would plough the fields and see kids of his age going to school his heart would churn with a million emotions. He wanted to study and he nestled the fierce desire within him day and night.

One day he finally found the courage and wept in front of his mother as he told her he wanted to be in school. She took a small loan from ahrtiya and took him to the principal of the local government school. After paying the measly fees of a few rupees, he was admitted to school again.

Scholarships all the way

He never forgot the circumstances of the family and worked hard and earned a scholarship. It covered all his expenditure and left some to be saved, out of which he gave some to his mother.

He studied at the Government Mohindra College Patiala, Kurukshetra University and later on at Punjabi University without seeking any monetary help from home.

Throughout his education he went on to win scholarships. He would tell me of a burning desire inside him that prodded him to work harder every single day. This want was created because of lack of resources.

My dad used to narrate the incidents over and over again. Every time I would listen with the same enthusiasm, wondering how a life riddled with lack of necessities must have felt.

I had a rather comfortable existence and never experienced any financial problems. My daughter gets everything on a platter. Her life is easy and neatly scripted by me with only the happy and rosy moments stashed together. She does not know how it feels to be denied the basic amenities of life. Perhaps all the kids who are mollycoddled and given too much of everything would never realise that though education is a basic fundamental right it eludes so many of their peers.

My own veterinary hospital is located next to a government senior secondary school. When I leave the premises, I see hordes of kids walking back home. Most of them come from far-away villages. Life is not easy for them, and competing with kids who have better resources would always be a challenge for them.

No less a mortal

But that does not make them lesser mortals. They look exuberant and enthusiastic. They only have to carve their own identities and find ways to survive amid fierce competition. They might not get enough opportunities but they would have to work hard and create them.

On some days I wish they don’t have to struggle the way my father did for an education. Their families should not make them sacrifice their education for the basic wants and needs of life. No matter what happens, the right to education should be ensured to every child and a desire to safeguard that right must be aroused in them.

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