The Boy who grew Wings

The village boy who grew wingsIndia is a land of stories. Some of them make you angry, frustrated, and cynical. But there are just as many if not more, that inspire you, fill your eyes with tears, and restore your faith in the strength of the human spirit.
This is one of those stories.
Imagine a boy, born to a poor farming family in rural India. A childhood running barefoot through the fields, playing with friends in the shade of a Banyan Tree, swimming in the muddy village pond, an idyllic life for a child but for the parents struggling to make ends meet and to put food on the table, a tough hard life.
As he grew older and finished his education he looked further afield for ways to support himself and to care for his aging parents. He travelled to a big city in another state. The language, the culture different but unperturbed he looked for work, eventually landing a job as a waiter in a restaurant. His hard work paid off, his rudimentary English improved, and over time his income increasing. Still a paltry salary but with careful living and long hours of work, it was enough to send a small amount home to his family each month.
Over the years he became popular with the regulars, his ready smile and helpful attitude endearing him to the customers. In conversation one day he spoke of his dream, to go beyond waiting tables and to train in the kitchen, gain skills as a cook, and maybe, if he was lucky, eventually get work on a cruise ship. He had found a school that would train him but the fees meant it was beyond his reach and his dream would remain unfulfilled. His father was ill and what little savings he had managed to accumulate were spent in hospital bills and replacing his father’s lost income.
His story touched a chord and one day some of his regular customers presented him with money to go towards the course fees. With tears in his eyes he reluctantly but gratefully accepted the donation, scraped together the balance needed and shortly thereafter handed in his notice, leaving to join the cooking school.
Six months passed and he appeared back in the city, a changed young man, seemingly more confident, English more polished, his way of dressing more modern, looking more like a young IT professional rather than a waiter from a village.
Proudly displaying his certificates and coursework, he explained that he would return to his village for a while to see his family, to take care of outstanding debts and obligations and would then seek employment with his new-found skills.
A month later, now with tears in their eyes, his benefactors listened as he conveyed in a breathless, excited phone call his great news.
No-one from his village had ever been out of the country. No one from his village had ever flown in an airplane.
The next day after a total of four connecting flights he would arrive in Italy, where he would be joining the kitchens of a P & O Cruise Ship sailing the Mediterranean.

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Local Boy makes good!

 

India is full of stories, both heartwarming and heart breaking.

This one is an inspiration!

5 years ago a local boy from a poor family used to wash our car to earn money to help pay his way through school. His father is an “Istry wallah” every day taking in piles of clothes and ironing them with a coal iron. 3 rupees a piece.

 

We helped him financially wherever we could but the onus was on him. He had to put in the work, to study and apply himself at school.

 

When you help someone out, too often it takes away their ability to do things for themselves, and they become complacent and lazy. We have seen it too many times.

 

But he studied hard, each time bringing his exam results to show us how he had done. He took extra tuitions to improve on his weaker subjects.

 

He graduated and got a job with the State Bank of India, working his way up through the ranks, studying and passing internal examinations.

 

Rising early each day, he walks for half an hour from his home to the bus stop and then takes a 2 hour bus journey to his office in a rural town far from Bangalore. At the end of the day the same journey is repeated back home. 5 hours a day, 6 days a week.

 

The other day a confident young man knocked on our door and shook my hand. Fluent in English, smiling, happy and healthy, he excitedly related his experiences working in the bank, his plans for the future, his dream of buying a home for his parents, and thanked us for the help we gave him all those years ago when he was a young student washing a car.