My Story

Life Story: From Rag Picker To Chaiwala To Martial Arts Teacher – He Has Seen It All

The Logical Indian

February 20th, 2016

SHARES
Source: Humans of Bombay

“I lost my parents very early on and came to Bombay at the age of 6 with a relative. I began begging at signals since that age and eventually became a ragpicker. I’ve had a tough time on the streets, where I couldn’t defend myself on many occasions and had no food for days — Bombay isn’t friendly to us street rats. A few years later, when I was rag picking, a man came upto me and asked me if I wanted to work at a chai stall– and I immediately agreed! I began selling tea, and making my own money after working for almost 12 hours a day.

One evening, I was at a garden nearby when I saw people dressed in black robes practicing how to kick and I found out later that it was Martial Arts. I began observing this class everyday and decided to save money to learn more. When I did, my guru taught me a few techniques but whatever I’ve learnt is through observing. One of my customers introduced me to Youtube and I began to watch martial arts videos on borrowed laptops and began practicing on my own in this garden.

One day, a small street boy came upto and asked if I would teach him and I gladly agreed. As I began teaching him from whatever I knew, parents who watched became interested to enrol their children and that’s how I began to teach Martial Arts.

Although I make a little money from those who can afford it, my main aim is to teach children like me who have no money and no defence for themselves. I teach them for hours, free of cost to give them a career option, because they don’t even have money to study. I’ve also started teaching a group of girls from a nearby slum moves to defend themselves if any one tries to attack or abuse them– these girls need it the most. Whatever little money I save after rent and food, I invest in buying mats and gear for my children–I have no family so my entire life is for them now.

So while I’m still working as a chaiwallah, every evening I teach over 70 street children, because I know what I’ve been through during my days on the street and I don’t ever want another child to suffer the way I did– and guess what? Many of them are even taking part in tournaments all across India…they’re that good!”

Thank you!

Please also ensure that change begins at home by
pledging to practise/teach gender sensitivity

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