Since the time I have been volunteering with ETASHA, I have come across a lot of people. Each person has a different story to tell and each one of them teaches me something in her\his own unique way.
This story is about unconditional love and basking in the warmth of another’s happiness.
Meet Mayank Singh Bist (18) who stays in New Delhi with his parents and younger sister. His father works with a marketing company , Dimple Private Limited and his mother is a homemaker. His sister is in the seventh standard.
He enjoys spending time with his sister and loves to watch her favourite cartoons with her, during which the famous scuffle for the remote begins!
Though they stay in New Delhi, they come from Nainital, Uttarakhand, which the family makes a point of visiting every year.
Mayank has completed his education from an open school with Humanities – English, Hindi Political Science and History being his main subjects. He is currently enrolled with ETASHA under a program known as Customer Service Work Culture (CSWC). Other than that he is also working towards a Bachelors degree from the University of Delhi via correspondence.
When asked about ETASHA, he told me that he has been attending classes for the past few weeks and has begun to settle in.
His course-mate Pooja adds that he was very quiet initially and took a few minutes to decide if and how he should answer a question posed to the class.He definitely “thinks before he speaks”. Now he is the most talkative of the lot !
Being enrolled in the program has helped him overcome his hesitation in talking and like many other ETASHA success stories Mayank too has acquired a new-found confidence and has a new take on life !
He enjoys taking part in the group activities, and loves the way the facilitators emphasize the importance of teamwork.
Talking about his interests is something Mayank is always “interested” in ! His eyes shone with joy as he mentioned his passion for cricket. We now see where the love for team spirit comes from ! His favourite cricketers being Virat Kohli from the Indian Cricket team and Clarke, Warne and Watson from the Australian Cricket team. Like any other teen, he also enjoys spending time with his friends at Select City-Walk, the mall closest to his house.
He likes to travel as well and his favourite holiday destination is his hometown -Nainital- because of its scenic beauty and of course the pleasure in being with his loved ones.
When asked about his dreams, pat came the reply – ” Main hamesha se cricketer banna chahata tha” ( I have always wanted to be a cricketer.) Due to financial conditions and the fact that his family didn’t think much of cricket as a career, he wasn’t able to pursue cricket at a professional level.
Now his ambition in life is to get a good job and ensure that his sister has the means to fulfill even her wildest dreams.
Now that’s what you call a brother-sister bond, right?
I remember when I just joined school in New Delhi, one of the main things I replied to everyone who asked me how my life changed due to shifting and of course the cultural shock that one experiences when coming from a “small town” to New Delhi. At that point of time I wasn’t ever able to frame my answer well. Now after a year of passing out of school I know how to answer this question.
When I look back and see how schooling in Delhi has changed me, I see that a school gives to you much much more than just academic learning.
Similarly, when talking to Mayank his conversations show that ETASHA has given to him more than just a skill learned from a course . It has taught him to strive to achieve excellence. He has realised the sense of empowerment that comes to you when you reach the top of the mountain. He has learnt that even if he can not reach the top of the mountain, he can make sure his loved ones do and then find happiness in the echoes of their laughter!