Rains and potholed roads were no deterrence for a Jharkhand man who drove over 1,200 km on a scooter, with his pregnant wife sitting pillion, so that she could appear for an exam for aspiring teachers here in Madhya Pradesh.
The tribal couple, Dhananjay Kumar (27) and his wife Soni Hembram (22), travelled on the two-wheeler from Ganta Tola village in Godda district of Jharkhand to reach Gwalior, a centre for DEd (Diploma in Education) exam, required to be cleared by those wanting to take up teaching jobs.
The wish to see his wife become a schoolteacher inspired Mr Kumar to undertake the arduous journey, covering more than 1,200 km across four states, braving rains and bad roads in the midst of COVID-19 enforced lockdown.
As trains, buses and other means of transport were not available, we decided to traverse the journey by road on our two-wheeler, Mr Kumar told PTI on Friday.
My wife, who is pregnant, was initially reluctant to take this arduous journey. But after seeing my determination, she agreed for this long journey, he said.
The couple arrived on August 30 for DEd exam being conducted by the MP Board of Secondary Education. The examination will continue till September 11.
As a video of the couple and their journey taken by some newspersons went viral on social media, the district administration stepped in to help them.
If I had hired a taxi for coming to Gwalior, it would have cost ₹ 30,000 which was a big amount for me. Whatever little jewellery we have, we mortgaged it to raise ₹ 10,000.
“So far, we have spent ₹ 5,000 on our one-way journey and on a room that we have taken on rent in Deendayal Nagar here, Kumar, who has studied till Class 8, said. We started off on August 28 morning and enroute stayed a night each in Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and Lucknow to reach Gwalior on our scooter, said Kumar, who was working as a cook with a caterer before he lost his job three months ago because of lockdown.
Earlier I thought that it wont be possible for me to appear in this examination but after seeing my husbands determination and courage, I got ready for this long journey.
“We faced a lot of trouble due to rains. I got mild fever enroute, but now everything is okay. I will apply for teaching job in Jharkhand and I am sure I will get selected, Soni, who got married to Kumar in December last year, said.
Taking cognisance of the couples travails, Gwalior collector Kaushlendra Vikram Singh directed the districts women empowerment officer, Shaleen Sharma, to take care of them and provided ₹ 5,000 as immediate assistance.
The administration will also pay for their rent and make arrangements for their food. We have also offered to send them back to their village safely, Sharma said.
As the woman is pregnant, special attention is being given to her and her medical examination and ultrasound will be done on Sunday, he added.