Recently, Mumbai-based Raju Yadav was promoted to the position of a web developer at matrimonial website Shaadi.com. What’s unique about Yadav’s story is not his current positioning, but the 10-year journey of discipline and hard work that got him here. According to Mid-day, Yadav started out as chai boy (tea delivery boy) after transferring from Jharkhand in 2002 to earn money for his struggling family.
“When we were at our lowest ebb economically, my parents took ill, compounding financial woes. I decided to come to Mumbai to help out the family. I thought I would get some kind of job in the city. I had a mausaji (uncle) who was a taxi driver in the city. I dropped out of school and came to Mumbai,” Raju told Mid-day.
Shaadi.com (it was called sagaai.com at the time) was one of the places the (now) 25-year-old would deliver tea and coffee too, in addition to other offices in Chira Bazaar in South Mumbai. He found this job on his second day in the city, where he was paid a fee of Rs 2,000 a month for delivering chai. Eventually, he was offered the job of a housekeeping boy. His duties involved making tea and coffee, opening up the office, and other jobs. He was quick to accept, given his lack of education. “I was aware that I had not completed my studies. I was a sixth standard dropout,” he remembers.
Yadav’s ambitious spirit soon took over. Not only did he send money every three months, he also pursued his education while working, and passed his tenth standard after two attempts at a reasonable 61 per cent. He was spurred on to complete his 12th through long distance learning — “passing my tenth proved I should never give up” — and is currently pursuing a B.Com degree from Mumbai University. Seeing his enthusiasm, Shaadi.com allowed him to stay in office till 10pm, where he would spend his time studying for an online course in the field. Finally, he was accepted at the same company when a position opened up.
Yadav’s passion for educating himself remains resilient today: He keeps aside an hour every day for his studies. This is further fuelled by his responsibilities to his own family: The father of a one-year-old, he cannot stress enough about the importance of parents educating their children. “I have seen parents who do not think education is important. Sometimes, it is poverty that makes them put more emphasis on jobs over education but many times, when they have money, they prefer to buy land rather than spend it on their child’s education," he says.
Kicked about his role that will entail him to develop programmes, Yadav also enjoys debating on topics of management and politics. When asked by Mid-Day about Prime Minister Narendra Modi who also began his journey as a chai wallah, he is quick to proffer that work is work, and he’d rather think about Modi’s policies than about the similarities to his journey. “If Modi had not become PM, would anybody have known he was a tea seller once?” he says.
Today, Yadav does not think his journey has ended, nor has his "hunger to learn been sated". Complacency has no place in this young gun's life: he only believes in seizing the opportunity before the “moment is lost forever".