Nihar Beura
Activist and Counsellor
nihar.beura@gmail.com

Back in my village Dumuka , joined my mother, sister and others in joint family for class 8 and onwards. I was put in sec C while at class 8 of Marshaghai High School. This section was for students who were at below average performance. I used to sit in front row as always from my class 1 even though I was never a so called a front bencher in true sense (never performed so well in class). I used to get attention and support from many teachers as some of them had already taught my father and knew him as a good person. Somehow, with God’s blessing, I started focusing on my study in an extent unlike what I used to do in my previous years in Manatir school. I never missed the classes as I remember. But also never pushed hard my study while back in home. Used to spend time on playing football in my village ground whenever used to get chance. At the end of the class 8, I had some performance to show and established myself as one of 10 toppers of the section C. Because of many students leaving for other schools, some leaving as they were picked as NRTS scholars etc, we had only two sections in class 9. And again, because of my poor performance I had to be in sec B only. I was not one among first 50 in whole class of 100 students, put together sec A and B. As it was govt high school, I took part in NCC, many sports including Kho, football and participating in athletic meet etc. I was performing quite well in sports and athletics. In addition, I used to participate in debate competition, essay writing etc. I was participating in these study related activities as I was constantly encouraged by DuryodhanSir to do so. He supported me a lot for which I remain ever grateful. At the end of class 9, I was among top 3 of the section in study and also could push myself into top 30 of the whole class if I remember properly. In parallel, I had some good name in athlete (100m, Triple jump, long jump), sports (football and Kho) . Life was turning into promising one. Financial conditions were always bad. Marshaghai school is almost 3km away from my house. I used to leave for school at around 8 am after eating a big Kansa of Pakhal with some sukhua, alu bharta or so and return by 6pm in the evening to have a meal in home. I never (barring one or two occasions, to be mathematically correct) did have a chance to carry some paisa to feed myself in lunch in 4 years of my high school education. Well, this was the case with many of friends as well.But as I remember quite well that one day I had CHART from Deba as my lunch for 25 paisa. I along with others used to climb a couple of big guava trees situated adjacent to the school to eat whatever we could find – be it ripe guava, semi raw, or just new born, or even buds for our lunch. We did this on many occasions.

Because of DuryodhanSir again, I used to get full free ship and hence I had to give around 50 paisa towards my monthly school fee instead of Rs 2.75. But I remember fully, almost in all months, I used cry for hours for couple of days to get this from my home.

By the end of class 10, with the God’s blessing, I had picked study to an extent and became one among top 15 of the whole class. I had earned many awards and certificates for my extracurricular activities in athletics, sports, essay, debate etc. Twice I was athletic champion but was diplomatically denied the feat as I was never a blue eyed boy of the PET. Many teachers including DukhishyamSir, RabiSir, ParamanandaSir, DibakarSir, SatyanandaSir, SadanandaSir, PitambarSir, in addition to my favorite DuryodhanSir had a great all round support throughout. With their blessing, I passed matriculation in 1982, class 11, in 1st division and as 2nd topper of the school. Also, became one of the National scholarship holders of Odisha. I must mention about the help rendered by Nartam Badapa from Dasipur, his daughter at cuttack, in getting my result which was withheld for some reason at 2ndary board cuttack.

After matriculation and for college, given my financial background, I had applied a few places starting from ITI-Cuttack, Diploma-cuttack, Kendrapara college and Ravenshaw college. Studied at Kendrapara with science as my stream, stayed in a small thatched /mud room sharing with Ranjan, cooking by ourselves. The study was pathetic in whole of the 1st year of ISc, was sitting almost at the back bench among 128 students, always used to arrive in college late, and hardly could understand anything in the class. In the beginning of the 2nd yr, I was very worried and started serious discussion with my mother and uncle Sanabapa for financial support if they could give so that I shift to hostel and go for tuition. In parallel, I got some money from KFT, founded by BijuBabu. With all these, took admission in hostel, went for batch- tuition and then slowly started picking the subject.

Appeared for engg (Odisha), came to know that there is something called IIT at very late stage and did not dare to apply. Still remember of Dibakar who was supplying roti and alu tarkari in night at hostel then from Tinimuhani area.I used to eat from him as it was perceived to be light food which could help study very late in night and most importantly it was much cheaper than the hostel meal (meal was around one rupee and Dibakar meal in paise). One chadi, no shoes, most of the trouser pairs were altered from Sanabapa’s trousers. Did unexpectedly well in Isc, got 1st division, became again 2nd topper of the batch, though could not qualify for Engg. admission. Qualified for OUAT Agriculture but turned down and took admission in PMGL at DD College, Keonjhar. By then Sanabapa used to give me money nearly sufficient to manage monthly food bill for many months of the year. Did not continue PMGL as someone said that there would be no life for Geologist and spend nights in tent in Jungle. Again tried for Engg., this time it worked but not Mech engg but Agril engg at OUAT. Good enough, did top in class by 3rd sem., but lost interest when came to know after passing we would get jobs in state Govt and would get rough deal from contractors and Exe. Engrs etc . Made up my mind to study further to go in research line if possible. Preferred to prepare for GATE and withdrew from the race of becoming topper in the class. The preparation started right from the beginning of the 4th sem. In 1989 I got the fruits and stood all India 5th in GATE in Agril engg stream. Qualified for admission into Indl Engg and management at IIT KGP. Was excited and thrilled. I , a devotee of Lord Sri Jagannath, became even more ardent believer in KARMA and Lord Sri Jagannath since then. In these 4 yrs of Engg., Sanabapa was almost particular in giving me Rs 200 per month towards my food bill. May God keep him in good health and give long life. Without his help and support I could not have continued my study. Life was not comfortable but manageable in engg days. My mother was somehow arranging rest of the money so that I could never withdraw from my progress at any point of my educational career.

Some Sirs including GKdAS, Khalidsir, Swainsir, SkdasSir were very supportive of me. Raghu with whom I had developed friendhip from my DD college days, was my roommate and helped me in many critical moments.

IIT admission really gave me a big moral boost when I found quite a few from IIT-B Tech, REC-Rourkela and so on studying with me. I was trying to match them too in study and otherwise. Education there coupled with the TELCO project in 3rd sem gave me a good background as an Industrial Engineer in the corporate arena. During M Tech at IIT, I used to draw the stipend of Rs 1800 per month and never was in financial problem as such after Jul 1989 till now.

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