'sewa' - altruistic helping
"Get up, we need to go!!", my mother screeched. With blurry vision and a groggy mood, a nine year old me reluctantly joined my family outside. There it was the dreaded hand pump, taunting me. groggily, I got to it, pumping till my arms were sore... Next was making laddus, an activity I enjoyed. Then collecting shoes at the temple. This is how I spend 10-15 days of my summer since I was 5. I couldn't understand as a child why I should tire myself so much doing laborious and small jobs for free. But that has shaped a huge part of my life now. My whole life I've done 'sewa'(altruistic helping). I've always been taught to help people in some form or other.
When I turned 10, every other weekend I went to an NGO with 50 kids to teach English, Math, Public Speaking and to even tell jokes. Whenever I used to meet them, they had a glimmer in their eyes, portraying the genuine excitement they felt, which made me work hard to plan every class better than the last. Our family paid for their school fees and their books. I grew up with these kids, I've heard some kids teenage problems, others domestic problems. They're family, they've helped me grow into the person I am now. They motivated me to help others like them, so I taught at another NGO, which was starting out, so didn't have many resources. There I saw that 70% of the kids didn't even go to school, cause they couldn't afford the books. I never realised how big the problem was until then. That group was huge, around 200 kids! Ironically, 2 weeks later my finals for 11th grade ended, what I saw next shocked me. As I exited my exam hall, I saw papers flying in the air, on the ground, all torn in pieces. Books that could've get a child to school, books that could educate, books thrown by the educated. I picked up each and every paper, with the support of my friends. thats when it hit me, exam season had ended, and books will be thrown, I decided to start a book drive, I put posters in school, circulated e-posters on WhatsApp, contacted an NGO to collaborate with to touch a larger audience. In one month, we collected around 1500 books. When I gave those books to those kids, their faces lit up and they told me that you've made my life. A small effort, got 17 10th graders to give their boards and many more to school.
I continue to teach several students important life skills, trying to provide all the resources which I can, through myself, my friends and my family. The hidden talent in the streets of many cities in India, motivate me to get up and help in whatever way I can. These kids have taught me to be grateful and work hard to achieve my dreams. They have taught me that excuses are for losers. They have unknowingly given me strength during my hardest times.