Sunday, January 25, 2009

A talent named Ravi Chekaliya

That talent is available in plenty in India is not a doubt in anyone's mind. But whether such talent is noticed and thereafter nurtured in another question alltogether. Here is an inspirational story of a young 16-year old lad named Ravi Chekaliya. This story appeared in the Bombay newspaper, Sunday Mid-Day, dated 25 January 2009. (Click the link before to read the full story and to watch the video.) There are countless of such young lads who are born in poverty but, if given a chance, can prove to be as good as anyone else you'd know. 

Here is reproduced story in case the above link does not work in your browser. 

AS part of a Republic Day celebration, Nirmal Nagar Ground in Mulund will see 16-year-old Ravi Chekaliya showcase his talents to thousands of students from 40 of the city's schools.

His unique ability to understand and speak ten foreign languages without any schooling caught the eye of an event organiser from Mulund, who then invited Chekaliya to the celebration. 

The youth, who is usually spotted selling peacock quill with his grandmother at Hanging Gardens (also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens), Malabar Hill, can understand and speak English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian and Israeli. He revealed that his tutors were his own grandmother and friends. "Earlier, It was difficult for me to understand foreign languages, because of which my business used to suffer. Thanks to my colleagues, friends and my grandmother who taught me these languages, they are now my bread and butter," he said. His abilities give the advantage of marketing his product to tourists. But due to no formal education, Chekaliya cannot read or understand the languages that he is seemingly fluent in. 

When asked if schooling was not on the agenda, "As I was the eldest son in my family, I had the responsibility of three younger brothers. From food to education, I wanted to give them everything that I was deprived of," answers the young entrepreneur, who has been in the business since he was nine. 

The linguist's daily earnings are Rs 250 to Rs 300 and Rs 600 to Rs 700 on the weekends.

Apparently, many visitors approached him, assuring financial help for his studies, but Chekaliya feels that it's too late for him to go to school.

(the above story is courtesy Sunday Mid-day newspaper, edition dated 25 January 2009)

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