Forced to Drop Out, 16-Year-Old Writes Moving Poetry at Night 

This World Literacy Day, here’s the story of a 16-year-old boy who works during the day and writes in the night.

2 min read
The Quint brings you the story of Ashish Kumar. (Photo: Sanjoy Deb/ <b>The Quint</b>)

Ashish Kumar has changed three jobs in the last three weeks. His last job involved working with acid in a factory.

He is only 16.

The Quint brings you his story.

Sitting inside his one-room house in Delhi’s Haiderpur area, Kumar smiles when he talks about his love for books.

“I want to study, a lot. It’s the best thing. But because of my father’s economic condition, I had to start working. That’s why I study as well as work,” he says.

Having discontinued going to regular school due to lack of funds, Kumar took the initiative to find about open schooling and enrolled in it.

Kumar currently works at a call centre. The 9 to 5 job fetches him about 6,000 rupees a month. “I get 15 rupees commission also, for every booking I do,” he tells us proudly.

Ashish Kumar wants to study, but works to make ends meet. (Photo: Sanjoy Deb/ <b>The Quint</b>)
Ashish Kumar wants to study, but works to make ends meet. (Photo: Sanjoy Deb/ The Quint)

After coming back from work, Kumar goes for computer classes.

As the day draws to a close, he sits to write.

“I started writing poetry first. Now I write shayaris, jokes, stories, everything. I listen to songs and replace them with my own words. I like it,” he says.

Kumar dreams of becoming an IAS officer and changing the system he feels burdened with.

“I don’t want any other helpless child like me to not study. There can’t be a life without education,” says Kumar, getting slightly emotional.
Ashish writes poetry by night. (Photo: Sanjoy Deb/ <b>The Quint</b>)
Ashish writes poetry by night. (Photo: Sanjoy Deb/ The Quint)

Kumar is aware of the fact that his life is different from many other children his age.

“For me, childhood means studying till whenever you want and not have anything to worry about. I don’t have that.”

In India, almost 47 million children drop out of school before class 10. For many, education is a right, but for Kumar, it’s a privilege.

Editor: Kunal Mehra
Camera: Sanjoy Deb

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