Book Extract : When We Thrive, Our World Thrives – Stories of Young People Growing Up With Adversity By Dr.Connie K. Chung EdD With Vishal Talreja

Learning to Make Good Decisions through Dream a Dream’s Mentoring Programme: Vijay Bhaskar S

A sari weaver since he was little, Vijay was afraid he would be punished severely after making a big mistake in one of the saris he was weaving. So Vijay ran away from home when he was about fourteen years old, in 2004. After wandering for about 3 days by himself between Bangalore and Mysore, he was taken in by officials and was taken to BOSCO (Bangalore Oniyavara Seva Coota) in Bangalore, a shelter home for runaway, abandoned and orphaned children from impoverished backgrounds. He knew that he had a better opportunity to study at BOSCO, so with his parents’ permission, he stayed at BOSCO for the next seven years. It was there that he began to participate in Dream a Dream’s programmes.

When he was interviewed for this chapter, Vijay was 29 years old, and had been married happily for 5 years. He proudly showed off the photo album of his wedding, with photo after photo of the happy day and their families. At the joke that he must be happy as he has added weight since he had gotten married, he grins and agrees. He also had been a manager and cashier at a branch of a large ice cream shop chain called Corner House for 5 years. He works diligently, six days per week, in 8- to 12-hour shifts. He did this after earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

He has dreams of owning his own home on his own land and his own store – perhaps a food chain store — before he starts a family with his wife. He has dreams of his wife taking care of the business so that she “could be her own boss,” with him as a guide based on his experience of working at Corner House. The dream of owning his own home and land and working for himself is important to Vijay, given his and his family’s background of always having had to scrape by on low wages determined by stingy employers, and living and moving from dwelling to dwelling, whenever a landlord raised the rent or decided to kick them out.

Dr. Connie K Chung

Learning to Manage Anger

Vijay is talkative and charming and speaks easily about himself and his life. He pokes fun at himself, and it seems surprising that he admits that he used to become easily angered by small things, such as other boys teasing him. Vijay was always on alert and tense, so much so that one of his friends shared that when they greeted Vijay, his standard response used to be, “What? What do you want?” rather than a simple hello spoken in return. When asked about his anger, Vijay deflects and jokes that he used to be angry because he is from Andhra Pradesh, where he grew up eating the region’s spicy food since childhood. The spicy food made him have a “spicy” temper since he was young, he explains. But all jokes aside, he admits that if he had not learned how to express his anger appropriately, with help from Dream a Dream, he would not have become a good manager, friend, husband, or member of society. “If I don’t overcome my anger, I cannot be a good manager, I cannot be a good cashier, I cannot be a good friend. And I cannot be a good husband to my wife, and I cannot be a good person to society,” he reflects .

(Extracted with the permission of the author and the publisher)

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