Meena sat down in despair at the door of her house.’ The second semester fees must be paid within Fifteen days, the notice in the college corridor stared down at her. Her mind was a whirlwind of thoughts.
The family consisting of Laxmi, Meena’s mother and three siblings lived hand to mouth ever since the sole breadwinner, their father succumbed to cardiac arrest. Meena’s mother took up domestic help jobs and tried to meet ends. Her siblings were already withdrawn from school.
“Mother, I need money to pay my college fees”, Meena said to her mother when she came back from work that night. It was cold and her mother’s frail body was shivering. Laxmi sat on a broken container that served as a seat.” Meena, you will have to start working if you wish to continue your education. You know how difficult it is to pay for the house rent, grocery and day to day expenses. Laxmi’s tear filled eyes shone in the dim light. Meena could sense her mother’s turmoil and regret for not being able to provide for the family.
Next day Meena walked into the college premises with a heavy heart. She had to overcome the challenge, but how? As she absentmindedly walked through the corridor, she was jolted out of her sleepwalk. She looked up apologetically, only to see Professor Renu Malhotra. “Meena, are you okay? Is all well at home?” she asked in a gentle voice. “Yes Ma’am, er, umm.... Meena barely managed to speak.
Professor Renu took Meena along to her room. She offered her a glass of water.” Now tell me Meena, are you worried about your studies”? Meena broke down and cried inconsolably. Professor Renu let her relieve her emotions. As the initial burst of emotions subsided, she held Meena’s hand and affectionately made her comfortable.
Meena told the Professor about her circumstances and the present challenge that she faced.” Meena have you observed a spider spinning his web? He falls down several times but continues doing the task until completed. Life is like a ladder with no support on either side. You have to climb up. There may be times when you face obstacles, but you have to continue your ascent.
“I am on the Board of an NGO working for women’s issues. We need someone to do administrative work. The monthly salary will be Rupees Three Thousand. Are you willing to take up this job? Meena could not believe this. It was like a fairy godmother giving her a gift. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she struggled for words to thank her Professor.
Meena worked at the NGO office after her college hours. After graduation, Meena completed her post graduation in Social work.
As she climbed up the stairs of the Welfare Board office, Meena smiled as she saw her name displayed on the board - Meena Sawant, Director.
But she knew that there were many more steps upwards.