For all those who don’t know, Maligre is a remote small village in Maharashtra, India. But for me, it was my entire universe when I was growing up. Because the village is mostly made up of farmers, the career options for young people like me were limited, and becoming an engineer was almost unheard of.

In this land of limited choices, I wanted to become an ‘engineer’, not just any engineer. I wanted to represent Maligre and become its first engineer.

I was always a bright student who excelled in school, and my “Born to Engineer journey” began when I was in fourth grade. I secured 2nd position for entire Maharashtra in the Pre-Middle School Scholarship Exam conducted by the Maharashtra State Council of Examinations. It was such a big deal that the local newspaper, ‘Lokmat’ took my interview.

I still remember, when they asked me, «What do you want to become when you grow up?» I replied, «An engineer.» My small achievement was published in the paper with the headline «Maligre’s Kiran wants to be an Engineer» and my village couldn’t have been more proud.

I wish I could say my journey to QuEST was easy and comfortable, but that was far from reality. After making that bold statement when I came back home, reality struck!

My mother was the only earning member of our family, and she used to work on a farm to fulfil our everyday household needs. I neither had the means nor the money to turn my dream into reality. If it wasn’t for my mother’s push and determination, my “Born to Engineer” story would never have happened.

She always told me, «If you have the passion, then you are the best person to take it forward.» I’m thankful to my teachers, who helped me enroll in multiple scholarship programs and various competitive exams. I utilized the prize money and earned scholarships to get admission to an engineering college and continue my journey forward.

Now that I look back, the bumps and roadblocks in my journey seem to fade away, and what remain are the friendships I have made along the way and the achievement of becoming an engineer.

I still have a long road ahead of me and a million other things to achieve, but this story is a thank you to all who have helped me become an engineer.

Kiran Gawade

Written by Kiran Gawade

on 14 Jan 2022

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