Paru Aspires to be a World Renowned Dancer
Paru, the second eldest daughter of Ashwani Mishra, is a shy natured girl with a sense of seriousness about the importance of education in life. Living in Silvassa with four sisters, Paru studies in 8th standard at C.P.S. English Medium School, located near her house. Being the second eldest child, Paru has to take care of her younger siblings, while her parents are away.
Talking more about her family, she says, “We hail from Gorakhpur Basti. My father migrated from our native place to Silvassa for a job and to give us a better life. He works as an auto driver. My mother, Sheela Mishra, works in a paint factory in Dadra.” “My elder sister is married and lives in another town with her husband. The other three sisters are younger than me and study in the same school,” says Paru with a slight smile on her face.
Due to their jobs, Paru’s parents have to leave early in the morning. Both her mother and father return late at night. So the responsibility of managing the household along with taking care of the three younger sisters, falls on Paru’s shoulder. Speaking of her routine, she says, “I wake up early in the morning around 5 O’clock. By then my father is already out for work. He returns around 12 only. My mother leaves for work at 7.30 and comes back around 9 pm. Since she has to travel far, she is already in a hurry. But she completes the basic chores before leaving, and I’ve to take care of whatever is pending.”
Before Paru, her elder sister was responsible for managing the chores, house, and the sisters in absence of their parents. After her marriage, these responsibilities were given to Paru. Continuing about her routine, Paru says, “Once I am ready, I help my sisters in getting ready and leave with them for school. After school finishes, I come back home and complete the pending tasks like cleaning the home, preparing food, washing utensils, helping sisters with work, etc. When my mother comes back, we have dinner together. Post meals, I study for a while and go to bed by 10 pm.”
Paru took a gap of three years from education before rejoining the school six months back. Speaking of it, she says, “During COVID, my family shifted back to our native place, Gorakhpur. When the lockdown was lifted, we wanted to come back to Silvassa. But my father was not having any proper source of income here. So we stayed there for almost three years. Because of that, I had to discontinue my education. Once my father started working again, he called us back to Silvassa. My mother also started working to support him. Meanwhile me and my sisters rejoined the school.”
“I want to become a dancer or a singer. The priority is to become a dancer. But if the things don’t work out, I’ll opt for singing,” says Paru while talking about her aspirations. She further continues, “I told my parents about it. They said if I work hard, I can achieve it. So far, I am participating only in school competitions. But I will try to participate and win at a bigger stage too.”
In order to achieve this dream, Paru needs to train hard. For that she needs to be physically and mentally fit. Since their parents leave early in the morning, Paru and her sisters come to school on an empty stomach, thereby missing breakfast. And on an empty stomach, learning and focusing is not possible. But Paru and her sister don’t need to worry as they receive mid-day meals from Akshaya Patra every day. These meals are made as per the government directives to provide children with minimum required nutrition for their healthy growth.
Speaking of the food, Paru says, “We receive food from Akshaya Patra every day and it is quite tasty. I have been to the kitchen where the meals are prepared. It is a very big place. They have a cold room where we went and saw vegetables stored there. The people were making food in big vessels. We also had food in the kitchen. It was very tasty. I like dal-rice the most.”
Paru and her sister are among the 2.1 million children to benefit from the Akshaya Patra meals. These meals are an effort to implement PM POSHAN Abhiyaan. The goal is to eradicate child hunger, so they can focus on getting educated and work hard on achieving their aspirations.