Good Read: Chandausi Junction- Supney
“Brilliant.” exclaimed the teacher of VII class to Sujata and Vinod “Both your children, Prakhar and Revati, are performing exceedingly well in their studies as well as the co-curricular activities like elocution and recitation.” The parents smiled proudly on hearing about the achievements of their twins. “You must nurture them well so that they keep on improving their performance and achieve their and your dreams.” he continued further.
After listening about the accolades bestowed on their children and receiving the report cards, Sujata and Vinod happily came out of the classroom and started walking towards the nearby DTC bus stand. “It’s really good that both of them are performing so well. Thanks to the efforts put in by you,” said Vinod to his better half. “I just guide them.” replied Sujata humbly “The hard work is all theirs.” The couple had now reached the bus stand and were waiting for the bus.
“The teacher is right. We should do something to make their dreams come true,” said Sujata. “We are doing whatever we can within our means. Isn’t it?” asked Vinod. “But is it enough?” enquired Sujata “After finishing school, Revati wants to pursue Engineering and then MBA, and Prakhar wants to be a CA,” she said. “Let’s reach home. Then we will discuss it.” Vinod replied postponing the topic.
Once they got back to their residence, they shared the good news of the result with their children, had lunch and the day passed away. After dinner, as the children went to bed and Sujata had completed her work in the kitchen, she approached Vinod to continue from where they left in the morning. “Have you given any thought to what we were discussing in the morning,” asked Sujata.
“I think, one should live within one’s means. If your dreams are bigger than your capability then you are bound to face disappointment.” replied Vinod “We belong to an average middle-class family. I have got this Lodi Colony flat, as I landed up a government job on compassionate grounds, because of the sudden death of my father. I had to discontinue my studies. I have to take care of my old mother, who refuses to leave her village. We don’t even have a scooter. For saving money, our children don’t go to a private school but study in a government school. Do you think people like us can even dream that they can afford expensive courses like Engineering, MBA, and CA for their kids?”
“I fully understand. If need be, let’s start eating one roti, instead of two, but we should give our children all the support in achieving their professional dreams,” replied Sujata. “You tell me. What more can be done by us for them?” enquired Vinod calmly. “We will cut the expenses where ever we can and at the same time let me take up a job and we will continue doing it for the next 5 years. That’s all the time we have,” suggested Sujata.
“Let’s be realistic,” said Vinod, still maintaining his composure. “You are only a graduate. Where will you get a job? If you work in a private organization, then you won’t be home before 7 or 8 in the night, then who will take care of the children, their studies, and the home.”
“I can work in a school,” suggested Sujata. “But you don’t have a B. Ed. Degree. That’s necessary for teaching.” Vinod countered. “What about non-teaching jobs? Maybe I can do something from home also.” Sujata said. “Like what?” asked Vinod. Sujata pondered and said “I will think of something. I just need your support.”
“Don’t worry.” Vinod said, putting his hand on Sujata’s shoulder “I am sure you will be able to come out with a solution.” The next day, after seeing off her husband for the office and her children to school, Sujata sat with a paper and a pencil and started making a list of what she is good at and what can be done by her to save more money for the future studies of their children. The first item she wrote on the paper was “1. cutting expenses.”
She started looking at the expenses diary and found to her dismay that there was no scope of reducing any of the expenses-Fruits, Vegetables, newspapers, Books, Javakusum Hair Oil-everything was necessary for survival or for the well-being of the family. It was clear, that the only possibility was to increase the income of the family rather than reduce the expenses. “What are my qualifications? What am I good at?” Sujata started thinking and continued writing.
“2. Making Achaar and Papad and then selling it, 3. Taking tuitions, 4. Doing a job in a school or college.” She was thinking and jotting down the points simultaneously. The second point was struck out by her “Who will buy from me? And where will I go to sell it. Plus, what about the expenses involved.” she argued.
Her attention was drawn towards the 3rd and 4th points. “What can I take tuitions in?” pondered Sujata “What have I been good at? I have done my B. Sc. and always loved Physics and Botany. Bingo. That’s a good start. I don’t need any B. Ed. Degree to take up tuitions in these subjects.” She was happy with the identification of the first possibility. “What kind of jobs can I expect in a School, College, Educational Institution?” thought Sujata, looking at the 4th point.
“Receptionist, office clerk, library assistant. What qualifications are required for these jobs?” She got up to complete the household chores of washing clothes, cleaning up the house, and preparing the lunch and kept on thinking about the other ways by which she could contribute and make a difference. She was on the verge of making herself a cup of tea but stopped herself. “Is tea really necessary at this time? After all, it’s nothing but a wastage of sugar and tea leaves. From today onwards, let me skip my afternoon cup of tea. One in the morning and one in the evening is enough for the day.” she was happy to find at least one way to cut down the expenses.
When her children returned from school, she took food with them and listened to their activities at school. This was her way of bonding with them. Like every day, after their lunch, the kids sat for their homework and Sujata went out to sit on the grass in the lawn for some dhoop senkna (getting the sunlight) where her neighbors were waiting for her. There were the usual suspects with their oft-repeated topics.
“Nowadays, even Aloo (potato) has become so expensive. I tell you, very soon it will be selling at two rupees a kilo”
“Arrey. You saw this Sunday’s movie “Funtoosh.” I love Dev Anand. Forever, evergreen.” “How is your mother-in-law’s jodon ka dard (joint pain)?” “They are again taking the school children for a picnic to Lodi Garden. Kids are so bored of going to the same place.”
The ladies were yapping while knitting sweater or cutting vegetables or doing embroidery or just sitting idle. “Achcha listen.” said Sujata “If anyone of you knows someone who needs tuition in Physics and Biology, then tell me. I can teach these 2 subjects.”
Other ladies nodded, but Vibha replied………….
(for reading the rest of the story and many more stories like this, please get your copy of Chandausi Junction at the leading online and off-line book-stores like Universal Booksellers-Hazratganj-Lucknow, Universal Book Centre-Mahanagar-Lucknow, Harmony the book shop-Varanasi, Garg Brothers-Allahabad, Browser Library-Chandigarh, Om Book Store-Delhi, Bahrisons-Delhi, Book Ganga-Pune, Read on rent-Jabalpur, Rathi’s Media Centre-Jodhpur etc. The book is also available on kindle.)