The Confidence to Dream


Ambitions for Change: Pooja

Watching newspapers and channels flashing headlines about minors and adults being raped, molested and assaulted I lost all faith in humanity. It made me wonder, “What has my country come to? Is this really how things are going to be?”

Cries for justice fall on deaf ears and the authorities seem to turn a blind eye! Ultimately the victims are left to their own devices and to fend for themselves.

Traumatic? Isn’t it?

These were the “Damini Days“, as I would like to call them. The days when people raised their voices and gradually started losing hope. One often closes ones’ eyes in despair and misses out on that tiny ray of hope.

Hope comes in different forms. For some hope is stringent laws, for some it is justice for victims and action against the culprits. For me, it was Pooja.

When you see her walk through the door most of you like me would assume that she is an introvert. As you begin to talk to her you would realise how mistaken you were!

Pooja (22) stays with her family of five in New Delhi. This includes her Mother who works with the Indian Air Force at Vayu Bhawan and three siblings.

Her eldest brother is married and the other two brothers are studying in school.

Pooja is currently enrolled in the Customer Service Work Culture (CSWC) program with ETASHA. She is also pursuing a Bachelors’ degree (she’s in the second year now) via correspondence.

Usually when I talk to people I ask them what the organisation has given them, but in Pooja’s case she lead the conversation to that turn without me having to prompt her ! She said, “most people who you would have spoken to would say that ETASHA has helped them gain confidence. Today I will tell you something else. ETASHA has not only helped me regain my lost confidence, it has also helped me start dreaming again and now I can tell others that I will make my dreams come alive!”

She has been an NCC cadet since 2009 but had to leave midway due to a family crisis. With her new found confidence she has re-started and has just finished taking an exam that would enable her to join the Delhi Police directly after a few training sessions and tests.

She also told me that she has been inspired by her mother and wants to be able to support her family like her mother has been doing in the past.

Pooja is crazy about her books and her studies, that is another thing you would hardly find among today’s generation.

She loves to listen to music and enjoys shopping in her spare time. She is also fond of travelling and her most recent visit was to Mathura, where she went to all the temples.

As we started talking about her ambition, she answered me in just one sentence, strong, bold and clear – “I want to join the Delhi Police“.

In today’s day and age, given the current circumstances of New Delhi, it is encouraging to find someone who wants to be a part of the action.

Pooja mentioned the recent 16th December case and told me, it is really easy to sit on the sidelines and comment about what is right and what is wrong. But how many of these commentators and spectators would be willing to jump in the midst of things and change the system which they find so easy to criticise? And where were they when ‘Damini’ and many others needed them ? She also believes thatone only has the authority to speak against things if they have truly tried to change them.

And it is THIS attitude of Pooja that instills some hope in me that we as a nation can fight anything and everything that comes our way. These surely are small steps..first to hope then believe and finally do ..

This was my story of hope. I am glad I didn’t close my eyes in despair..

I ‘hope’ you didn’t either !!


Sneha Kohli

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