‘I want to help my fa­ther find a bet­ter place to live’

KRI­TIKA RAVEEN­DRAN | 12 | STU­DENT

Tehelka - - PERSPECTIVES - JEEMON JA­COB

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.

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