A bleary-eyed Ram woke up, only to hit the snooze button on the alarm. When he finally managed to wake up, it was quarter to five in the morning. Carefully, he got out of bed without disturbing his parents and his baby brother who were fast asleep. He freshened up hurriedly, got on his bicycle and headed to the city to distribute milk and newspapers.
Less than a year ago, Ram was like any other 10-year-old. He was a school-going child who wished to study hard and become an ‘officer’. But his schooling took a backseat when his father was injured in a debilitating accident.
Feeling sorry for his mother who had to take up two jobs to support their family, Ram decided to be of some use. Much to his mother’s displeasure, he quit school and started working. He distributed newspapers in the morning and worked at a hotel till eight at night. He had made it a point to read the newspapers after coming home from work.
One afternoon, a customer at the hotel saw Ram reading the newspaper. The man signalled him to his table.
“Do you know how to read?” the man asked, out of curiosity.
“Yes, sir,” Ram replied.
The man looked at Ram sternly. “Then, why are you wasting your time here instead of going to school?”
Tears trickled down the boy’s face. He told the man about his father’s accident and how he was working two jobs to save money for his father’s surgery.
“If my father recovers, I can go back to school,” Ram said, with a glint of hope in his eyes.
The man surveyed Ram intently. “Come home some time. I am free in the evenings after 6,” he told the boy. He pulled out a visiting card and a pen from his pocket and wrote something on the back of the card. He handed it to the boy and left. A bemused Ram stared at the handwritten address on the card. It was a home address. He flipped the card over. It read:
Dr Samuel Pinto, MSc
Professor of Business Math
St Paul’s College of Management
Phone number: 246-87X-XX
Ram had found a teacher.