At 19, Pooja was not looking toward pursuing her Bachelor’s or following her passion like most youngsters of her age. Pooja had to financially support her parents and her two siblings. Her lower-middle-class family included her father, an auto-rickshaw driver, mother, a contract tailor, and her siblings who were still studying and she wished to help her parents in providing for their entire family.
Until her second year of pre-university (2nd PUC), Pooja was an athlete. She was a part of national, state, and various district teams and took part in throw ball, basketball, tug-of-war, shooting the ball, etc. She was also a part of the NCC wing during her school day and wanted to join the Indian army eventually.
But unfortunately, not all dreams come true for all of us, some dreams remain just that – dreams. Pooja’s sports credentials were enough for her to get a job as a Physical Education teacher in various schools and conduct private coaching classes, but her journey was not as smooth as anyone would expect.
After gaining 2 years of experience teaching PE to students, Pooja joined a private school, but that was when the pandemic hit the state and chaos ensued. All the classes shifted to online mode and Pooja too had to take lessons online. The one problem with online classes was turning on the video, Pooja was unable to comply with this due to the small living space and lack of facilities. She still had to go on and could not take a break only because both her parents weren’t able to work due to lockdown and she became the sole breadwinner for her family.
Online classes weren’t the only problem for Pooja, a few weeks after the pandemic began, she was diagnosed with typhoid. Pooja was so ill that she could not even move without someone’s assistance. She stayed in the ICU for a very long time and even after three months she wasn’t able to move around on her own due to which she couldn’t continue her job. Her health took such a drastic turn after typhoid that she could not apply for her dream job which was to serve in the army.
However, Pooja was not to be deterred by the challenges though. After making a full recovery, she decided to resume her teaching position and was able to land a job as a PE teacher in another branch of the school.
After joining the workforce, Pooja wanted to pursue her Bachelor’s in Physical Education and so she enrolled herself in the classes. However, the illness caused a dent in her family’s already poor financial health and she was not able to pay the fees.
Fortunately, with some help from known people Pooja’s family was able to collect Rs 40,000 for her fee, but arranging for the remaining Rs 30,000 seemed difficult. This is when her colleagues came to her rescue, they decided to arrange the rest of the amount so she can complete her education. Currently, she is happily pursuing her Bachelor’s degree and working simultaneously. She wants to go even further and complete her master’s degreetpp. Her ultimate dream is to open an art class for kids.
Pooja’s story teaches us how resilient human beings can be and are capable of achieving anything we put our minds into, of course with a little support here and there from the people around us who truly care.