In October last year, Umesh Sharma was employed as a helper by a firm in Gurgaon where he drew a monthly salary of Rs. 14,000. This year, he’s already made over Rs. 1 lakh in the months of March and April, working as a carpenter.
Umesh’s story is not uncommon. He comes from a traditional farming family in Darbhanga, Bihar. Eight years ago, he dropped out of school and came to Delhi, in search of work. He says, “There was only one school in our village and the teachers were not very interested. And of course, I was never a very good student myself. I regret it now, but it’s too late for me. However, I want my brothers to get the opportunity I didn’t have.”
It was this dream that led him to his first job as a helper, under a contractor, when he first came to Delhi. He would carry back breaking loads in the punishing heat of the summer, and do any number of odd jobs, for a meager daily wage, just so he could save up money to send back home for his brothers’ education.
“There were times when I thought I should just quit. I didn’t know for sure if I could support myself like this, let alone my family. But, I knew I had to keep working if I wanted my brothers to do better in life.”
Umesh soon completed his training as a carpenter and took up a job as a helper with a small firm in Delhi. He was earning better but, apart from sending money home, he now also had a household of his own to support. Then, in November last year, he happened to see an Urban Company ad for carpenters online and called the number given.
One week later, Umesh was officially an Urban Company partner. “It wasn’t easy at first- the first couple of months, I made 70-80 calls each month. I wouldn’t even know how to speak to customers at first, but, I didn’t want to give up just like that. After that, I kept pushing myself, kept running around, hoping it would pay off. I used to call Deepak sir at Urban Company every day, and he coached me on how I should communicate with customers. I could never have done this on my own.”
Now, Umesh’s income has steadily increased over the months until, in the past two months, he’s been making over Rs. 50,000 each month. Now, he says, “One of my younger brothers’ has just registered for a B.A. course- the first person in the family to go to college. Now, he won’t have to run around like me. Hopefully, he can even get a government job”
We all know the importance of a formal, systematic education. But, sheer determination and the will to succeed are the things that truly count, when it matters.