Dear Reader: I read this article on my cousin’s Facebook page (links below) and it was originally written in Tamil language. I was inspired when I read it and unfortunately Auto-Translate did not do a great job at translating this story and so this Thanks Giving - I wanted to translate this artcle into Engish so that the Engish-speaking readers can be inspired this Thanks Giving holiday of 2017. With a little bit of Encouragement and with Desire, Stength and Determination - all things are possible!
Now for the story:
Original Tamil Article on Facebook
If you walk on the beautiful beaches of India, it is traditional to find people selling snacks such as roasted peanuts, sliced mangos and savory snacks for all the vistors enjoying the beautiful sunsets and sunrise at the beaches. If you happened to be at the beaches of Pudhucheri, India, you may run into this young man shown in the picture above selling peanuts and other snacks.
What you may not know or realize is that this young man is an BA (Bachelor of Art), MA (Master of Art), MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degree holder and that he is at present working towards his PhD (Doctrate).
“Our family comes from poverty and modest beginnings. Father - Subramanian - a clerk at a local department store that sells fabrics, Mother - Saraswati, 2 elder sisters, 2 brothers, 1 younger sister with a total of six children total. The marriage to my elder sister happened under these hard poverty circumstances.” says Palaniraj.
“Because of this struggle in the family, the decision was made that the young boys in the family will set out seeking odd jobs to support the family. It was back in 1998, I was in 8th grade (standard in India). Me and my brother Saravanakumar decided to seek jobs.
We both like to read and education was on our mind all the time. But considering the struggles, sitting at the beach in Pudhucheri - we decided to sell streamed-peanuts (Sundal) to make a living.
At first, selling peanuts was a struggle. I am a very quite guy and raising my voice to screem at my top of my lungs saying ‘peanuts-peanuts-peanuts’ took a lot of my energy out of us (especially on a hungry stomach).
Some days the peanuts will not sell. We didn’t know what to do when they do not sell. We can eat some of it but the remaining goes to waste.
On one end, my family barely ate while on the other hand we had a bucket full of peanuts that were going bad.
We barely had any proper clothes to wear. And so somedays, I will wear my elder brothers clothes to look decent when I sell the peanuts.
Over time, others came to know that I was attending school during the day and selling peanuts at the beach in the evenings. At this time, I was attending the Veeramamunivar Government School.
The teachers Ms.Padmavathi, Mr.Balasundaram, Mr.Ramdas at my school that realized my situation - came to my aid. They helped where they could.
Selling peanuts I finished my 10th grade (standard) and scored 442 points on the exam. (Translators comment: In India, your 10th grade central board exams define your life moving forward. The better the scores, the better your opportunities in life).
After graduation, I joined Va Vu Si Higher Scondary School to pursue my 11th and 12th grade and completed them successfully all while selling peanuts at the beach at nights.
Later with aspirations to study further, I joined the local Thagoor College where I pursued BA in Tamil.
After which, I completed MA and MPhil.
During my education,in 2008 I took the net training and exam and in 2013 JRF [Junior Resident Faculty] training and exam (equivalent to a teaching assistant) which brought me some additional money to support the family.
Inspite of this improvement in my life, it was not enough and so even today, I am selling peanuts at the beaches.
As my father got older, he was unable to work and so each morning, I wake up goto the local shops to buy fresh ingredients to make peanuts, falafel (vada), fried-vegitables (dumplings). My mother prepares them and get them ready.
I attend my college for my PhD and I return home after 6pm each day and I take the prepared snacks to the beach and to Nehru street (popular street by the beach where the young crowd hang around) to sell.
I return home at 10pm.
Even with the stipend I get from the school for the teaching assistant job, with the money I’m raising from selling peanuts and snacks, I managed to get my sisters married and I was able slowely pay off my debts that I aquired during their wedding.
My brother that sold peanuts along side of me is now an MA, MPhil PEd graduate and is a teacher at a local government school (Translators comment: working at a government school carries benefits such as pension and health. It is considered a desired job in India.)
My other brother, Balamurugan is now selling clothes at a train-station platform and making a living.
If you have desire and determination - realize that in our society we have folks that can support and encourage us to move us forward. And this is what I have realized.
Starting from the folks that bought my peanuts, my teachers in high school that showed me their support, my teachers in College and my friends have all encouraged me every step of the way to show me the way forward.
It is their encouragement each and every day that has propelled me towards this PhD.” says Palaniraj with great strength and determination.
Translators comment below
So on this Thanks Giving Day 2017 - we each should encourage others in our lives that we can touch - our significant other, our children, our parents, our friends, our family, our distant relatives, our neighbors, our coworkers, our pets and our strangers that walk into our lives each and everyday. Your act of random kindness and encouragement might make the key difference in someone else’s life.
Go out there and encourage someone in your life today! With a little bit of Encouragement and with Desire, Stength and Determination - all things are possible!
If you find this article useful, consider signing up for my email or repost this on your favorite social site. See links on the right navigation.