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Rajeshwari

Battery Shop Senior Associate,

Ola Futurefactory

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“One day, in school, I explained a subject to my friends and saw their eyes light up in understanding. It felt like a bigger accomplishment than being a topper! Eventually, this desire to help people culminated into something bigger—a dream to become a doctor!

What followed was years and years of hard work—I knew cracking a medical entrance test wouldn’t be an easy task! But in the end, it all paid off when I secured admission at a medical college. I was over the moon! I started imagining myself in a white coat with a stethoscope dangling around my shoulders… but alas, that didn’t last long.

"‘We can’t afford the fees,’ my parents told me. That one setence put a full-stop to my dreams."

But I was adamant—I wouldn’t let it be a full-stop on my life. I enrolled in a BTech degree. Initially, it was difficult to make peace with this compromise. Papa felt my inner-turmoil, and it made him sad. He regretted the fact that he couldn't afford my education, but he always told me one thing, ‘Work hard and make a better life for yourself!’ His words always stayed with me. And in my final year, when Papa passed away, I was shattered.

The only thing that allowed me to survive his loss was the desire to give Amma and my siblings the life we all dreamt of—I wanted to buy a house for us. A house that we could call our own.

All our lives, we’d moved from one flat to another hoping that someday, we would move into one we didn’t need to move out of. I had no idea how or when it would happen, but I promised myself that I would work hard the way Papa had taught me.

Initially, I worked as a teacher to help us sustain. There, hearing the words ‘miss’ felt like magic to my ears—I was no longer just a little girl who loved explaining lessons to her friends; I was an actual teacher! It brought me the same joy it did when I was in school, and perhaps for a while, I didn’t miss not being a doctor.

But soon, I realised that I could not fulfil my or my family’s dreams by teaching. I had to be practical. So, 2 years later, I quit my teaching job and started working as a production engineer in an automobile factory. There, I had to supervise the work of people who were in their 40s and 50s while I was just 23!

"They would often tell me, ‘Do you know how experienced I am? It’s better you keep your mouth shut!’ I was torn."

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I had always been a very confident girl, but there, I started doubting myself. Then, I did what I always do when the odds are against me. I decided to immerse myself in my work. I would work for 12 hours straight—every day—to make sure I knew every minute detail of my job! Slowly, I regained my confidence. Within a few weeks, I felt heard! I felt like my old self was coming back. I went on to work there for 7 years.

A lot changed in those 7 years; I worked, saved, got married, and with my brother, I even bought a house for our family! In fact, that’s the house I got married in—a house that I paid for and a wedding that I funded through my hard work! I cried a little that day thinking how happy Papa would have been if he had been there, but I knew he was up there smiling at everything I had achieved, and everything I was going to achieve.

Because, a year later, I got a job at Ola as a senior specialist in the battery department! Amma and Bhai were over the moon! It was my responsibility to look after the quality of the batteries that were being used in their EV scooters, and thus, I was to oversee a team of almost 100 people!

The icing on the cake is that today, I’m not just doing well, but I am also doing something I love-teaching and helping people! Each day of this last year, I’ve been training and guiding girls under me to not just be efficient, but also grow professionally and personally.

For years, I had no one to guide me, but today, here I am, making sure these girls know what path is right for them. If I could go back and say anything to the 21-year-old Rajeshwari trying to figure out life,

"I would only tell her one thing—it’s okay, just work hard, like Appa said, and you’ll find your way!”"

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