I stand in a narrow lane in Jaitpur Extension, New Delhi looking around when I see a tall, well dressed boy walk towards me; he walks with an air of confidence and I know straight away that he is the person I have come to meet. He is Gaurav Pratap.
Filled with enthusiasm he guides me to his house. While we chat on the way he tells me, “I am the man of the house.” At first, I don’t quite understand the meaning of his statement but when I reach his house it all becomes crystal clear. Gaurav was just 7 years old when his father passed away and he now lives with his mother and 3 sisters.
Gaurav relives the past as he describes to me how his family led a comfortable life back in their village, but after the untimely demise of his father his uncles refused to support the family. It was then that Gaurav’s mother, Sarita, decided to take her 4 young kids and move to Delhi where they literally had nothing and had to start from scratch. He recalls, “My mother found a small job in an export company & she struggled to make ends meet.” It was at that point that a young Gaurav vowed to one day become the bread winner for his family. Another reason for them migrating was that his mother wanted him and his sisters to have access to a better education.
In 2009, Gaurav discovered ETASHA Society through an advertisement and decided to join the CSWC Course. He then goes on to tell me how prior to joining ETASHA he was a complete introvert, he would feel very hesitant while talking to people and would never open up to them. But now all of that has changed and I know that this is true when I hear him say, “I can talk to anyone about anything now. If I can’t talk about something in English then I talk about it in Hindi.” His self confidence can be easily seen and without me even asking, a very excited Gaurav tells me how he will always be thankful to ETASHA for one thing: teaching him how to think, to determine his goals, to assess them and find a way to achieve them. He got the direction that he was looking for.
When I enquire about his favourite class, he does not even take a second to think and says, “The English class taught by Ian Sir. He was always so lively that I felt excited just talking to him.” Gaurav tells me how he struggled to come to terms with the fact that the course was ending, “How do you just leave a place that has taught you so much? But they assured me that I could always stay related to ETASHA.” He now encourages his friends to join ETASHA and tells me how he hopes his sisters also join once they are 18.
Gaurav, 19, is presently pursuing a BA Program from Delhi University via correspondence and is proud of the fact that he makes complete use of the university library. He even wants to study further.
He now works at TATA Services Pvt Limited, Noida and his job role is the verification of documents. His tone becomes passionate as he explains his work to me and proudly he announces, “My seniors liked my work and so they promoted me to Report Writing.” Gaurav currently earns Rs. 7000 per month and is motivated to work harder and earn more. He wants to grow within this firm as he feels he can learn a lot from his colleagues. as well as being well paid with good career prospects the job also provides him with conveyance and meals which is a big bonus. The company also gives him various other incentives and takes them for company sponsored trips.
What I like most about Gaurav is his zeal to learn more and also his respectful nature. He says he tries to abide by the companies rules and regulations but recently he received the 1st complaint against him, which was that he wears chappals to work rather than formal shoes. The very day he received the complaint he made the change reasoning, “I went out and bought my 1st pair of formal shoes, I never want to give my boss an opportunity to complaint.”
Gaurav believes his mother has a big hand in his success as she supports him in all his decisions. He hands over all of his salary to his mother every month because he feels, “I might be making more money than my mother but she is the home maker and knows best how to run the house.” He eagerly waits for the day when he will make enough money so his mother will never have to work again.
I ask him about his future plans and he tells me he hopes to get promoted in his company and then with a ray of hope in his eyes adds, ”In the long run I want to go abroad and work.” In fact these days he is trying to find out the procedure to get his passport made.
Lastly, we talk about his hobbies and Gaurav shyly admits how he is extremely fond of singing in his free time. To this, his youngest sister adds that he likes watching Hollywood movies and he laughs and says, ”Yes, now that I understand English I do like watching some Hollywood movies, my favourite one being Anaconda.”
Gaurav has achieved a lot in a short span of time. Looking at his confidence and determination I can easily say that he will reach great milestones in his life.