“To be honest, I don’t remember much of what happened. All I recall was that my father used to beat me up daily, while my mom wept everyday trying to keep me safe. But one day I couldn’t take it further, so I decided to leave the town with two other boys from the neighbourhood. We didn’t even know where the train was headed to,” he muses.
Nearly 14 years on, he is a proud plus 2 graduate with 735/1200 marks from the Karunalaya Centre in Chennai that supports street and working children all over the city.
“We got off the train at Central Railway Station without even realising it was Tamil Nadu. Everyone was speaking in Tamil, but we knew only Hindi. Without understanding anything, we started begging on the streets andmy friends even did a couple of petty crimes. I got lucky – somehow getting directed to Karunalaya, but my friends weren’t so fortunate. One of them landed up in jail, and the other… we don’t even know where he is,” Abhid says.
The teenager slowly learnt Tamil along with a dogged determination to succeed in life – every time a memory from the past hit him. “I decided to stay in Chennai and give it my all. Along the way, I found interest in sports and became a football player – that really gave me another purpose to life. But I didn’t do any work on the side to earn pocket money or cause distractions – it was class and hostel for me everyday for all these years.”
Now, Abhid is all set to apply for a degree in physical education and use his footballing skills set to good use. “I want to become a football coach or a Physical Trainer in schools, and help others like me to not only achieve a good education – but also find purpose through their passion,” he says.