On any given morning, she can be spotted at the bus stand, pouring over her books, a whether beaten school bag one side and a torn teddy bear (her only toy) on the other. For Nandi, the bus stand is her world this is were she was born ten years ago and this is where she has lived ever since.
Nandi’s days starts at 6am, helping out her mother with house hold chores. Then she sits down to prepare her lessons before she leaves for Entally Hindu Balika Vidhyamandir, on the Convent road. Back home at 3:30 pm, she has lunch and plays with other kids on the pavement. In the evening she studies by the light of the bus stand.
What sets Nandi apart from her pavement play mates is the dedication to her books and the desire to make her parents proud. Nandi’s father Babu is Riksha puller who struggles to earn Rs. 100 a day.
Her mother Marian is a domestic help bring home Rs. 400 every month. This couple from Mutthayampatti made the bus stands their shelter and it’s near end their kitchen. Driving them on one dream: their daughter’s education, “Our parents did not have the means to educate us, so we are lying here on the bus stop and struggling so hard to survive. We do not want our daughter to suffer the same fate. Education will help her live with her head held high. We have not been able to give her normal house, but we are trying to provide her education”, says Marian.
And Nandi is well aware of the responsibilities on her frail shoulders.
“I love going to school and would never like to stop it. I know my parents have to pay Rs. 275 as my school fees. I also know they have to suffer to arrange for that money. I always want to perform well to make them happy”, she says.
Having always lived in a bus stop, little Nandi does not know how living in a house would be. “May be one day we will….but for now, I have my studies, my house hold works and my friends to keep me busy”, says Nandi.
And her dream? To be nurse.