“When I was born, both my eyes were shut. But I am told they slowly opened after a few days. I can see but it’s a challenge for me to read small letters. I could also never put on weight no matter how much I ate. These physical defects make me look different so I have been called blind and a skinny twig. Though my father somehow managed to send me to school, college meant renting a room in the city and other expenses. So I discontinued. I started doing odd jobs in the village that hardly paid anything.
After a few years, I moved to the city hoping that I can somehow make a living but all those years of discrimination always held me back. I had the will but I did not have the confidence. I still kept on trying, I would roam the city looking for work and try to make conversations with merchants. One day, I approached a businessman and as soon as he saw me, he took out a 100 Rs note and handed it to me, out of pity. He must have thought I was a beggar. As I walked away with the 100 Rs in my hand, I realized that it is up to me to become who I want to be, so I went back and returned the 100 Rs to the businessman and told him I was looking for work, not money. He was surprised at first and without even stopping to think for a moment, he said, “I like your pride. Come to my store tomorrow and I will give you work.”
(Rakesh Kumar Karn, Birgunj)