I was 2.5 years old when I came to Rath. Papa is a farmer in a nearby village. Our village had no schools so Papa sent me to live with Chacha Ji and study.
Here too, we never had enough. I had to wear the same uniform for three years. I remember on my annual day my pants had a hole so, I did not tuck in my shirt. We won't get new shoes until our toes were completely out of it. But, we somehow kept on studying.
After my 12th, I wished to go for graduation. My family supported me and got me admitted to Allahabad university. Believe me, that was the first time I actually sat on a train. I was so hesitant to sit on the seats but thankfully, I cleared the entrance and got admission. Chacha Ji sent me to Allahabad with 1200 rupees in my hand. That was all I had to pay my rent and buy my books and food.
But soon, I found part-time work and supported myself. Fortunately, my grades were good and after college, I received several offers. But, I wished to do something for my people back in my town. So, I started teaching in a coaching institute in Lucknow. I learned their way of teaching and studied their modules.
After a year, I left my job and came back to Rath. People called me stupid for leaving a well-settled job. Some said children here can't study well. But, I was adamant. I conducted tests and started my batch. I still remember the first day of the "Quest for education". There were just 7-8 students. I was disheartened.
But slowly with time, the children came in. And, the second year we had approximately 150 students. I was so happy. My brother and I taught every student personally and the kids too gave their best.
The same year our students applied for competitive exams. The three hours my students were in the exam halls, I won't sit at peace. But as the results came in, I was on cloud nine!
In all these years, my students have got selected for NTSE, IIT, and even stood first in Bundelkhand. Believe me, I'm proud of each one of them, and to the ones who said small-town kids don't have the potential, my student's success is a befitting reply to all.
Hello, I'm Vinay Gupta and this is my story.
Story by: @vanshika_fatwani