When i first met her, Divya was a confused 15-year old who loved school and hated maths. The third girl child in the family, her father turned an alcoholic after her birth, leaving her mother with the responsibility of being the sole bread-winner for the family, which, i should say, she managed quite commendably.
A class 9 student then , Divya wanted some help with her maths, which i readily agreed to do. She was a keen and enthusiastic student. Though I was not very conversant with "teaching" in tamil, and she was from tamil-medium school, i should say that she managed very well, and produced good results in the class 10 board exams.
Then came the question of "what-next". She decided to take up commerce, as it involved less of the hardcore maths that science students study. She also decided to shift to an english-medium school, to help her cope better at college.
Now, Divya is on the threshold of college education - she wants to do BBA, work a while and then go on to do an MBA.
What is commendable is no just her intention, but the way she goes about it. Never once have I heard regret or despair in her voice. Her birth was not welcome by the family. Her mother was undergoing treatment for depression during most important exams of her life. Her father was an alcoholic, who used to create ugly scenes at home everyday. She has 2 sisters who were married off when they were 17-18 and studied only upto class 8.
It is, indeed ironic that she'll go on to become the most-educated person in the family. She will go on to work, earn and do justice to all the money and effort her parents spent on her eduction. She will become an "educated" member of society.
She still does have some issues with "peter-scene" colleges, where all the wannnabes behave like, well, wannabe's ! But still. There's her whole life in front of her. There's hope. There's enhtusiasm. There's determination. Where there is a will there's a way.
This is the age of new role-models..ones that inspire without preaching. Ones that do, not tell. My new-age heroes.
P.S. Incidentally, while i was writing this, i came across a news article about Saraswathi - the daughter of an auto-driver who hs scored 95% in her class 10 boards and aspies to enter the civil services.
I can't help but :)