“Where there is a will, there is a way,” they say. And rightly so, as has been proved by the fascinating story of a young 11-year old girl from the city of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. This little girl has sealed what is probably the world’s costliest mango deal ever. Selling a dozen mangoes for a whopping Rs.1.2 lakhs, Tulsi Kumari made her way into the headlines and went viral on social media. But behind this mind-boggling incident is a rather heart-warming story which is in fact, the backstory to this deal.
Tulsi, who is a grade 5 student, comes from a family of very poor means. The lockdown and the pandemic had taken an especially hard toll and sent her household down the path of financial ruin and struggle. Hence, Tulsi had to resort to selling mangoes on the roadside to help her family with the expenses.
Added to this, was her desire to continue her education. Now that the lockdown has become the new normal, more and more offices and schools have become operative online. But limited by the meager financial state of her family, they could not afford a smartphone or any other gadgets to help Tulsi continue her education.
Not one to give up on her future and education, Tulsi took it upon herself to sell mangoes and somehow earn enough money to buy herself a smartphone. It was then that on a regular Sunday morning, an unknown bystander casually spotted her and shared her video on social media. This video managed to pull at the heartstrings of the masses.
It particularly caught the attention of a Mumbai-based Valuable Edutainment Private Limited that then decided to buy a dozen mangoes for Rs 1.2 lakh. “He bought each mango for Rs. 10,000!” says an excited and happy Tulsi. Moreover, he also bought a smartphone for the girl.
The benignant man, Ameya He told the media that he came across this video of Tulsi through social media. Upon learning about her dream of someday owning a smartphone, Hete was touched and gave her the much-needed push.
The money was transferred to her father’s account and a tutor was immediately hired for Tulsi. He believes that his daughter’s passion for studies will take her a long way if she receives proper guidance. In an interview with India Today, Padmini Devi, tulsi’s mother expressed her gratitude towards the kind gesture.
She said she was elated and touched by the arrangement of finances and credited her daughter’s perseverance for this feat. Calling the act of kindness by Hete “beyond belief”, she thanked the businessman for helping her daughter study and make something of herself. “She is good at studies and we are hopeful she will do something good in her life,” Padmini said.
Meanwhile, as per an article by New Indian Express, Valuable Edutainment Private Limited, which lent a helping hand, expects more students to seek inspiration for Tulsi’s story and also wished her the best for all her educational goals.
“We hope that this helps you not only through these tough times, but help your future education needs as well,” stated a letter received by Tulsi from the Managing Director of Valuable Edutainment Private Limited, Ameya Hete.
Hete shared in a video that what really impressed him most was the spirit and ardour that Tulsi showed. He was astounded by the fact that rather than resigning to her fate, she decided to chart her own course and took the effort to bring about the desired change.
The past year has brought to light in various ways, the power of social media and its capacity for change and goodwill. The story of Kanta Prasad, the old street-side food vendor and owner of Baba Ka Dhaba, the story of Abid Khan, the national-level boxing champion-turned-auto driver, and the story of Agra’s Rotiwali Amma…
They are all some of the many stories of struggle and dedication that gained a nation-wide platform and gave these platforms a second-chance to turn their lives around, apart from the love and support of fellow Indians, of course.
The story of the steel-willed girl, Tulsi Kumar hailing from the steel city of India is yet another addition to it. On the one hand, it is a miraculous story that reaffirms our hope in humanity but on the other, this particular incident also serves as an eye-opener to the glaring injustice which is India’s massive digital divide.
The pandemic has exposed this digital divide like never before. According to a survey conducted by Pratham, an NGO working towards the provision of quality education to the underprivileged children in India, revealed that a measly one-third of Indian students are able to avail digital education. They have thus been thrown off the map of digital learning.
Goa too, has had several cases reported of protests by children and all the difficulties they have to face each day to avail a decent network connection and attend their online classes. In view of these cases being rampant even more than a year into the pandemic and the online-way-of-life, it is truly worrisome to think about the long-standing implications this will have on the growth and development of our students, who are the future of this country.