Lessons from Chowti (Gowri-Ganesha) Festival

Despite poverty, we used to celebrate Chowti (Gowri Ganesha Festival) in our house. Our entire chawl used to be in a festive mood. All houses would bring sugarcane for the festival. But we never had sugarcane in our house because we did not have money to buy. Come Chowti and we would crave for the sugarcane. About a kilo metre away, there was a house belonging to a community person. They used to get two big bundles of sugarcane each containing 25 to 50 canes and distribute it among the neighbors. We used to wait eagerly for the two small pieces of the sugar cane that they would give us. Such was the eagerness that we would keep looking at the door and the road outside to see if anyone was coming with the sugarcane. Till they came, we children had our eyes transfixed on the road outside.

I did not forget those days of our childhood. When I started earning, I would buy 4 to 5 bundles of sugar cane and would distribute those amongst all children in the neighborhood. I also used to distribute rice amongst nearby villages for many years. After I joined politics, during festivals, I distributed rice and sugarcane at various places. These actions were results of the lessons that I learnt from our poverty filled childhood.

AIM HIGH When I was in 5th standard, we had a teacher named Babu Master. Once during a lesson, he told us thus, "If you decide to study till Class 8, you will end up studying till class 5. If you decide to complete graduation, you may complete SSLC (Xth standard). So it is important to aim higher". This talk inspired me. I decided that to the extent possible, I will keep on pursuing education. It was on this day that I decided to make it big in life.

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