Delhi Teen Washed Cars & Fared 91.7% in Boards. But Why are Our Children Struggling for an Education?

Social Commentary

Delhi Teen Washed Cars & Fared 91.7% in Boards. But Why are Our Children Struggling for an Education?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Board exam season is tough on every student. With a great deal of pressure to get good grades, and constant comparisons with over-achievers, CBSE exams can break any teenager’s spirit. But for one young man in Delhi, all these struggles were secondary.

Parmeshwar, a 17-year-old, who lived with eight other people in a Delhi slum, and woke up at 4 am every day to wash cars for a living, managed to score 91.7% in his CBSE Class XII examinations, giving the rest of us absolutely no excuse for procrastination.

According to a report in NDTV, the Delhi teenager, who lived in a Tigri slum, would often go hungry. So he decided, soon after completing his Class X boards, to get a job as a car washer in neighbouring Khanpur.

This involved him waking up at 4 in the morning, six days a week. Even during the harsh Delhi winter, Parmeshwar would spend two-and-a-half hours dipping his hands in icy buckets of water, before he would start studying for the day.

“I remember how my hands used to freeze every five minutes when I touched the cold water. My fingers used to become numb,” Parmeshwar told the website.

For all his efforts, however, the Delhi teenager was only able to make Rs 3,000 a month, most of which went into buying books and uniform for school. He says that he was often bullied and humiliated over a few hundred rupees by his employers.

Still the teenager never gave up on his education, because he didn’t want to be a “burden” on his family. His elderly father is a heart patient, and his brothers have their own families to look after, he was quoted as saying.

To make matters worse, days into exam season, Parmeshwar’s father fell ill and needed surgery. Once again, left with no option, the teenager studied for his Hindi exam from beside his father’s hospital bed.

Despite all these struggles, he has managed to get a score that students from even the most privileged families would be proud of having on their marksheets.

A NGO has now stepped in to help him apply for an English Honours course at Delhi University. With some support, Parmeshwar tells NDTV, that he hopes to be a teacher one day. In these trying times, this Delhi teenager’s story is truly the inspiration we need.