There are some people who come into your life, and then go away. There are some who come, stay for a while and leave their footprints behind and you are never ever the same again.
Ankita Yadav, (19) is one of the latter category of people. She has inspired me to shoot for the moon and has convinced me that even if I miss I would land amongst the stars.
Ankita is from Jhansi and has completed her schooling from there. She is now doing a Bachelors’ degree via correspondence. She joined the Jijabai Siri Fort ITI last year in July and is pursuing a course in Medical Electronics. This course focuses on basic electronics which includes capacitors, switches, fitting of switchboards, connections and extension boards. She is also learning how to operate and repair various medical equipment including X-ray machines, ultrasound devices and the dental chair. The most astonishing part is that Ankita had an Arts background in the twelfth grade! I have been a student with a science background and haven’t really taken to it. When she told me this I was taken aback and admired her even more!
While talking about ETASHA, she told me that she loves the trainers as well as their approach. She has learnt spoken English in the eighteen classes she has attended so far and enjoys learning how adverbs make her conversations more interesting.
While this conversation was taking place, Parul Ma’am (a team ETASHA member and facilitator), stopped by to add yet another striking detail to Ankita’s multi-dimensional personality. She stated Ankita is very honest, confident and speaks her mind. She also mentioned an incident which took place earlier, where Ankita came up to her during a test series and told her that, “ there is no point in me taking this test since the other girls are cheating and would get gold stars (par of a reward system used) and my hard work would be in vain.”
Ankita stays near the Mahipalpur Extension with her mother, younger sister (who is, in fact, doing the same course as her) and two elder brothers. Her eldest brother is working with the Home Ministry and the younger brother is doing a course in Optics.
Her only regret is that she has never experienced the love and security of her father, who doesn’t stay with the family.
She is very mature for her nineteen years . I was very surprised to hear some of the things she told me during the course of our conversation. The most appreciable of them was pertaining to her reply when I asked her about her ambition. She wants to do her Masters in Technology after getting her bachelors’ degree because she feels that completing education is very important and the advantage of doing a technical course combined with the current trade she’s in, gives her the privilege of being able to open up her own workshop at any point of time and she need not be dependent on somebody for a job.
Her mature response was impressive but the last line she added to her reply was the one which amazed me. She said, “Mere liye sabse zaroori hai ki main ek accha insaan ban saku” (Most importantly I want to be a good human being.)
Another remarkable statement she made (which is VERY rare in today’s materialistic world) was that she isn’t concerned about money at all. She also stated, “Main jo bhi karoon us se main chahti hoon ki mera parivaar aur mere teachers sab mujhpe garv karein. “ (I want my family, teachers and mentors to be proud of whatever I achieve in life.)
When I commented upon the fact that she really has a very mature approach to life and its complicated twists and turns she simply said, “It is because I haven’t known the love of a father. This is why I think so much about the future and I come across as a person who seems much older than she actually is.”
Along with studying at the ITI and doing her BA through correspondence she also takes tuition for children up to the tenth class. It is truly admirable that, Ankita, at the age of nineteen has SO much to her credit.
She loves to read the Reader’s Digest magazine since she feels it is very interesting as well as informative. Other than that she loves to watch cricket, her favourite batsmen being, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh.
Most of the girls at the ITI who are enrolled with ETASHA feel much more confident about stepping out into the world. But Ankita is different. She has become more confident but most importantly she feels ETASHA has enabled her to help in educating all the young girls back at Jhansi. She also said that the girls there really want to study but do not have the means. Either the schools are too far or their parents want them to help with the daily chores. Her brother has just started an NGO over there for this very purpose called the Mangalam Seva Sansthaan. She has decided to teach English to all the children and adults who come there.
We all are really good at playing the blame-game and finding faults with everything. We take everything that society in general and education in schools and colleges has to offer but we hardly give back anything.Reflecting on this reminds me of the famous words by John F Kennedy during his inaugural address , “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
We need to have more people like Ankita today! She is truly an example who shows us the importance and utilization of education.
Well, I really hope that Ankita succeeds in all her endeavours, (be it teaching others or pursuing higher studies!) so that tomorrow we have many more like her in our society!
*Sneha is an ETASHA Volunteer from Zakir Hussain College, Delhi University, New Delhi