I joined ASHI-Haryana in April of 2014 after 40 years of life at sea in merchant navy out of which 30 years were spent as Chief Engineer. The change posed tremendous challenges at personal level as it was not easy to adjust to life on land.
My first ship in 1974, as a Junior Engineer, was Motor Tanker Vivekananda a brand-new vessel. Got to read lot of literature on the Great Saint, given to us by the ship builders, Mitsubishi Japan, and it made a deep impact upon me.
Then around 1994 one fine morning at sea I realised that like a leach I was just taking everything from society but not giving back anything in return.
After coming back, I went to a Government School and asked the Head Master if I could teach the students. Thus started my journey on the way of paying back my debt to society. Since then, I humbly pray to God to allow me to reduce the debt burden as much as possible in this lifetime.
The journey has been really great as I met with so many students – almost above 500 in last 8 years – directly and indirectly, and many more. I learnt from them much more than I could teach the students.
Most of the students pursuing the higher studies have become role models for the younger generation. This I feel is a good sign as the new leaders are emerging from within their ranks. These young leaders have lived in the same environment as their juniors and also faced hardships in their childhood.
In Ananda Shiksha we stress upon character building of students so that each one becomes a better person and contributes positively to the society. They get coaching to excel in academics, attend classes to learn dance, singing, drama, Yoga and many more domains to boost their self-confidence. They are encouraged to go up on stage and express their views on contemporary topics given to them.
Many of the students have moved ahead in life and are in various fields, like Yoga Teacher, Masters in Physical Education, M. Phil, Diploma in Instrumentation and Control Engineering, Male Nursing, Masters in Lab Technician, Catering, Graduation in Art along with preparation for IAS, Masters in Fine Arts, Indian Classical Dances to name a few.
Ananda Shiksha project gives us tremendous satisfaction as the kids who had joined the project in 2008 and are still attached with us. They volunteer their services as when we call them and come to us when they need advice or help. It has become an extended family.