Meet Kavya and Karishma — Talking About The Importance Of Believing.

For times when life’s not all rainbows.


What’s the point of going to college? I’ll get the same amount of money from a degree after my 12th-boards.”

When I first met Kavya, she was hung up on getting a job at a call centre. Her mind seemed made up. For me, thoughts had seized to make square with any solution & I often wondered about the possibilities of explaining to Kavya the vitality of education. Hardest it is — I realized — to remove ourselves from the hold of an idea that’s been nurtured and fueled for long — even when experience says otherwise.

Although a child with an inherent curiosity to know the world, Kavya claimed to have no hobbies and interests. A gamut of activities from dancing, singing, drawing, had failed to create a spark in the heart of Kavya. Whenever I mentioned any of them, she’d nod along, say that “they all sounded nice”, but none could find a place in her nest. Moreover, she had not even dabbled in any of them.

Kavya was one of the older children at the shelter home. Her time passed in centre responsibilities like cooking, cleaning and supervising the younger children. Other than the regular domestic duties and school work, she found little interest in things that otherwise seem interesting to the masses.

Kavya

There came a day when I felt that our chats had had an effect. Kavya was starting to believe that she could take up something other than a call centre job.

So, I asked again, “What do you want to do?” and waited. Sometimes the time between a question and an answer is the longest. With a feeling mixed with fear & excitement, I waited a little more. After a brief moment, she said, “Banking.”

I was taken aback. How had she gone from call centre after 12-boards to B.Com and banking? I knew it had to be Make A Difference’s Discover Project that had conducted a banking activity which Kavya had attended. Somewhere, somehow, that activity had stirred her curiosity and eagerness. The Banking professional had told her that anyone can become a banker by getting a college degree in B.Com.

Given the fact that Kavya had a goal to focus on, we got really excited. Her pre-boards were lined up and we were positive about them. As a propeller, she had academic support for her subjects, including Accounts, but unfortunately, that’s the only subject she couldn’t clear.

In a moment we had recoiled back to the same state — the state we had started with. Kavya had failed in the subject that carried the most weightage for her future. I couldn’t believe it. I was deeply upset and equally terrified. I knew it was not just her failure; it was my failure too.

I remember calling the then city Propel POC, Priyanka Jodhani, and confessing that I felt like giving up. “There’s only one month left for her final exams … what more can I do? I feel like I’ve done everything.” Priyanka told me to soldier on. “Think of things you haven’t thought of, and do them,” was her advice.

So I did just that. I asked Priyanka to convince the shelter home authorities to relieve Kavya of all domestic duties until her exams were over. Fortunately, the authorities agreed.

Next I helped Kavya draw up a timetable. The one thing that was constant was Accounts — she did a minimum of 30 minutes of it every single day. I am an Accounts student myself, so I was equipped to help her. I gave her small tips on how to perfect a ledger and how to keep her paper looking neat and clean. She absorbed everything I told her, clarified doubts, and practised with great dedication every single day. She also started keeping a journal where she wrote down her thoughts and her daily activities; a regular practice to improve her communication skills.

Karishma (on the left) and Kavya (on the right) engaged in a conversation about Kavya’s studies.

After a month of strenuous hard work, the day was finally here. Kavya’s finals’ report card had arrived & I have a vivid memory of being scared and thrilled at the same time. I started opening her report card while murmuring all the prayers I knew inside of me. In the next moment, I was jumping and hugging Kavya.

Kavya had scored her highest marks in Accounts. In a months’ time, she had managed to achieve something that would bring her one step closer to the dream she longed for. That day I realized the importance of believing in oneself. I realized that life’s not all rainbows — that it is full of obstacles & things that can challenge our will and play against our courage — but if we believe in ourselves and put our hearts to something, we can achieve it or at least, come closer to understanding it, which is equally important.

Update

It’s been almost a year since Kavya got a red mark in Accounts. Today, she is studying B.Com in RBANMS College and is well on her way to that banking job.
Karishma met Kavya soon after Kavya’s first semester began. Kavya looked so ecstatic to be in college, meeting new people and thriving in a new environment that Karishma was happy about that alone. “But the pride I felt was when she told me she didn’t need any academic support for her studies!” she said. As of today, Kavya has appeared for her first-sem exams. Earlier in 2014 she gave an interview to NDTV on behalf of MAD, and it just felt like the adult phase of her life began on a truly upbeat note.