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Ushapriya

Production & Planning Control Associate,

Ola Futurefactory

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“I still remember the day I appeared for Ola’s interview. I was one of the few people who stayed back till 8 in the evening and completed each round of interviews.

"I’d been starving and felt my stomach grumble. The girl sitting next to me gave a sympathetic smile, as if she, too, knew what hunger sounded like."

But at that moment, all I could think about was the hunger for the job, for a better life… I powered through and completed the rounds. Now, the ball was in fate’s court-I’d done my part, just like Amma always said, ‘Give your best and let your destiny unfold.’ Growing up, I was very close to her-we’d do everything together. Every afternoon, after I got back from school, I’d help out Amma with her chores and tell her about my day.

But I despised the evenings because Appa, who was a driver, would get home then and start drinking. My younger brother and I would often hide out in the bedroom, afraid of Appa. Because, when he drank, he lost his temper and fought with Amma-mostly about money, and sometimes, he’d even hit us.

At night, when Amma would come and lay beside me, I’d tell her, ‘I’ll grow up and get you out of here.’ She’d smile then. And her smile was all I needed to keep going.

But one day, when I was just 10, that smile left us… Amma left us…

I was heartbroken, but looking at my 6-year-old brother, I toughened up. Because Appa never even stopped to grieve Amma, all he cared about was where his next drink was coming from, and we had to take care of him.

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"Over the years, he stopped buying our ration altogether and spent all his money on alcohol. We reached a point where there wasn't a single grain of food at home."

That evening I asked Appa for some money, but he slapped me instead. At that moment, I realised we were orphaned the day Amma died. So, the next day, my brother and I scraped some bucks together and bought 1 Kg of rice - we didn’t go to bed hungry that night.

But our problems didn’t end there. A few days later, we found out that it’d been 4 years since Appa paid our fees - the school was considering expelling us. I was in 10th at the time and felt all my dreams crash in front my eyes. I thought, ‘I’ll never be able to escape this life.’ But then, looking at my academic record, the school decided to let me stay on.

Relieved, I rushed to share the news with my brother, but he was crying. He ran to me and said, ‘I’ve been expelled from school!’

From that day, I had only one goal - to start earning soon and educate my brother. So, I worked hard in school, and completed my 10th, and then 12th with good grades. I wanted to study more, but I didn't have an option.

So, I started looking for jobs. And just a few days later, I got to know about Ola’s vacancy from a friend. She said, ‘They’re starting an all-women 2-wheeler factory!’ I had to apply!

This brings us to the interview day. I completed the interview and went home, feeling hopeful. And within a week, I got a call from HR saying, ‘You’ve been selected!’ I cried and smiled both at once - it was finally happening.

So, last year, not only did I get a stable job, but also I found a team that became my family. And when I got my first salary, I filled the house with all the groceries - I was so happy!

But then, Appa came home drunk and said, ‘Now that you are earning, I don’t have to work anymore.’ He quit his job. And he snatched away whatever was left from my salary. I felt like screaming and revolting. But I thought, maybe next month would be better…

"One year later, Appa still drinks away my money every month. As hard as it is to watch my hard-earned money go down the drain, I can’t cast him aside — that’s not how my Amma raised me."

And I am happy that I can put food on my family’s table and give my brother a chance to chase his dreams. As I grow in my job here, I hope to save up further for my education. So that, one day, I can finally keep my word to Amma and get myself and my brother out of this.”

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