Boondi grew up in the Balangir district in Orrisa. Her father was a government school teacher. After finishing class five, she qualified for Navodaya Vidyalaya and studied at a government subsidy. She stood among the toppers throughout her schooling. During vacations, she would visit her home. News about people dying of hunger, surviving on eating grass was regular in Balangir, which also happens to be the poorest district in Orrisa.
After her senior secondary, Boondi appeared for IIT entrance and got a respectable rank. With an average income background, her father got a loan for engineering studies. She was sent with her cousin to Mumbai for her education.
During summer, which is too harsh for the Balangir district, Boondi’s mother got sick. Her father got few medicines from the nearby pharmacy. The pain and fever continued to rise and, after a week, Boondi’s mother passed away. Boondi could not attend the funeral or see the face of her departed mother.
Boondi was in trauma for some time and made peace with reality. She had her father to take care. She would try talking to him once a week, laugh, and share joy. In 3ed years of engineering, her father started sharing Ristas(bride) with her. It is nothing less of pride to a father getting marriage proposals in the flock for her daughter. Boondi always resisted all these conversations.
Boondi’s love and care for her father increased day by day. She ensured vising him even for a few days after her semester exams. On one such trip, she bought Ram, her boyfriend to meet her father: the poor man had a hard time, showed all the tantrums, and resisted. In India, caste, religion, and culture always precede love: but not this time. After all the drama, showdown, emotional outburst: Boondi’s father agreed to get them both married on a condition: Open a school to teach girl child, so many more Boondi’s could come from the backward district of Balangir. Also, ensure spending a month every year in Balangir.
It’s been over 15 years, Boondi/Ram with Richa(their daughter) continuing their promise to her father, who is no more.