‘I want to help my father find a better place to live’
KRITIKA RAVEENDRAN | 12 | STUDENT
GOVINDAPURAM GOVERNMENT UPPER PRIMARY SCHOOL, KOZHIKODE, KERALA
KRITIKA RAVEENDRAN dreams of becoming an engineer. The Class VII student has scored A-grade in all her exams and has won a scholarship. She is fascinated with maths and has always scored 100 percent in the subject. But hers is not an easy dream to realise. She lives with her parents and brother in a one-room rented shelter without electricity. Her father reminds her not to study late in the night in order to save kerosene, which is expensive. So she completes her homework in the evening and plays with her brother in the dark.
“My children go to school because education is free. They get free lunch too. The school will reopen in June and I’m saving money to buy books and uniform,” says T Raveendran, 46, who works as a casual labourer. He earns 5,000 a month and is the sole earning member in the family of five. “I find it difficult to provide for my family. If the mother or children are sick, I borrow
from moneylenders who charge interest up to 60 percent.”
His landlord had asked him to vacate the room years ago but Raveendran has nowhere to go and has been living in his dilapidated tenement for 40 years. The house owner gave up and stopped maintaining the building. “If I relocate, my children’s education will be in trouble. I cannot afford their bus fare,” he says.
Kritika is aware of their troubles. They don’t demand anything from their parents. “We have no toys. We don’t have a TV. My father can’t afford such things. Sometimes, I go to my neighbour’s place to watch TV,” she says.
Her teachers gift her uniform and sometimes offer their support to buy books. But it’s newspapers that Kritika misses the most. Kritika has decided to chase her dream in the middle of chaos. “I’ll try to score better marks so I can become an engineer and help my father have a decent place to live. When I get a job, I can also support my brother who wants to become a doctor,” she says.