• “My father is an auto driver. Because of the pandemic his income suffered.”
  • “My Father & sister were admitted to hospital due to COVID 19 & a lot of money was spent.” 
  • “Farm income went down due to low rainfall. My father has taken a loan from a moneylender to pay college fees.” 
  • “My father had 3 heart attacks and is paralyzed” 
  • “My father has a cycle repair shop on the footpath. Due to the pandemic, it suffered” 
  • “My father is an alcoholic so the responsibility of the family is on my brother..” 

These were the heart wrenching stories that surfaced in the application forms for financial assistance, written by students of my alma-mater – College of Engineering, Pune (COEP).

Earlier this year, some of us together raised over 30 lakhs to support more than 70 under-priviledged COEP students for their tuition and educational expenses. 

I feel fortunate that my parents could afford to pay for my education. But some of the smartest kids in India often struggle to survive and are unable to focus on their studies given the dire circumstances they come from. 

It doesn’t hurt much to forgo some luxuries, go for a less expensive car, a less fancy vacation or curb shopping plans! Instead, even if a small part of those expenses can go to deserving students, we can save an entire generation. There’s always someone around us, who could use some of our help. 

Someone wise tweeted last week, “When you get lucky in #life, best thing to do is pay it forward”. May you experience the joy of “paying it forward” this Diwali!