Although Sanjay is just about three and a half feet tall at 13 years of age, the ambitious boy wants to join the armed forces when he grows up. “You need to be much taller for that,” says his teacher, Sugunavati, in a playful tone. One cannot be fooled by his size as this bright boy studying at the Mahadevi Hiriya Prathamika Shaale, Mysore, has an equally bright future since he is one of the highest scorers in his school. Despite his family’s economically unfortunate condition, he has a strong hold on his dreams and is working towards them.
When asked as to how this ambition came about, Sanjay said, “This has always been my ambition. I want to serve my country by becoming an Army Officer. My uncle who is in the Army is my inspiration. Besides protecting my country, I have observed my uncle’s confidence, his gait and personality to choose the defence for a goal.”
Sanjay stays in Sunkudkere, an area in Mysore which is known for frequent power cuts and water problems. His mother works as a domestic helper in households and has to leave early every morning. Due to time constraints she cannot prepare food for her three children, two of whom are girls. There are days when the kids have to depend entirely on the food that is provided by Akshaya Patra in their school. Sanjay is one such child who not only depends on this midday meal, but also loves the fresh hot and tasty food he gets from Akshaya Patra. “I’m grateful that such a facility is made available to us and I enjoy the food provided by NGO in India to us,” says the boy.