Wings To Fly - Authored By Deepak Sharma

There are certain benchmarks children from middle-class families have to supposedly climb

The life cycle of a child born in a middle-class Indian family is pretty much programmed at birth – education, higher education, a well-paying job, wedding, marriage, parenthood, children’s aspirations, retirement, and old age. Interspersed with long breaks, social family gatherings (weddings, anniversaries, festivals, and some family vacations).

There are certain benchmarks children from middle-class families have to supposedly climb – first get a suitable educational qualification, then a job, and then you can choose to pursue your calling – be it filmmaking, adventure sports, writing or painting. But once you get established in a job, there is an increasing demand to get ‘settled’ in life –and the added financial and social responsibilities of a family life make it rather impossible for one to listen to his heart and follow its calling.

For Deepak Sharma, born to a physics professor father and a homemaker mother, childhood came with similar set of fixed boundaries and expectations – education and a morally-upright upbringing, as is usually the case with other educated middle-class families. He, as anticipated excelled in academics and ended up starting his career as a power engineer with one of the most prestigious government enterprises in India.

But little did he know that what looked like a casual conversation with one of his colleagues would change his life forever! His colleague was volunteering with an NGO and was financing the education of a girl child. Sharma could relate to the cause and started funding the education of two girls through the NGO. Later his visits to the Missionaries of Charities in Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) opened a whole new world to him. He realised that simply paying the money won’t be enough. He needed to be associated with some movement to uplift the girl education!

As luck would have it, he came across an advertisement in an English newspaper, which was inviting volunteers from civil society. Both Sharma and his wife got associated with an NGO, Udayan Care, through the programme in 2009.

Over time, Sharma felt the need to engage full-time with Udayan Care. There was so much to be done, after all! It seemed he had found his calling.

At present, Deepak Sharma is a Trustee at Udayan Care and along with his wife are mentor parents to 40 girls at Udayan Ghar (Home) for girls in Greater Noida. Sharma is engaged as full-time volunteer, while his wife balances her time while still executing her duties.

Deepak Sharma’s life journey is the familiar success story of every aspiring middle-class Indian boy. What makes it different is what follows after! It is a story of calling, awakening, social service and giving back to society in the noblest of way – by empowering children, especially girls through education.

Anybody among us could be next Deepak Sharma! In short, his life story could be a case study and he himself a role model for those in the arena of social development, as well as corporate executives who might be keen to take the plunge towards giving back to society!

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