Jannat had learnt a few lessons about life the hard way. Since childhood, she had been working and making her family’s ends meet. She would row a boat full of fruits and vegetables and sell them across the Dal Lake. Her hands had blisters and they would ache because the oars were heavy. Amidst this struggle, her zeal to study, to go to school, to laugh and play like other children, had taken a back seat.
Whenever she saw the school building, her heart yearned for more, but she knew that she could never make it inside the building. She didn’t stop dreaming and hoped that some day she will be there too! 
One day it was raining heavily. Jannat was not able to go out to sell. She cooked for her family, fed the cattle and looked after her siblings.
She heard a knock on the door. There was an elderly couple standing near the 
wooden hut with a smile on their faces and some fear in their eyes, of being stuck in the rains. Seeing their smiling faces and the way they greeted her with love and respect, Jannat welcomed them inside her small hut. 
They requested her to let them stay until the rains stopped. Jannat’s parents were overwhelmed, a couple from the city were visiting their hut! The family made them comfortable with whatever they could serve. Hot Kahwa was served along with Kanger( Kashmiri hot heating pot). Jannat and her brother showed them how to use the Khanger. They started talking about the valley, rains and tourists. Time just flew. Jannat’s family didn’t realise when they started opening up their hearts to this couple. 
Tough life had made Jannat and her family bury all their aspirations and all they were doing was living, each day as it came. During their conversations, Jannat mentioned how much she wanted to go to school and how her parents despite their willingness couldn’t afford it. Had she been studying, she would have been able to help her family in a better way
The elderly couple belonged to an education background, which, until now Jannat was not aware of. Imparting education was in their blood, and seeing Jannat’s desire to study and grow, they couldn’t resist and asked about the school where she wanted to study.
They took the necessary details and promised to return soon. The couple met the school authorities the next day. They bought a beautiful red bag, books and decided to sponsor Jannat’s education. 
It was a dream come true for Jannat! She was on cloud nine! Those visitors were God sent for her. She promised to never disappoint them and shine through her education. 
The Dal today looked so different. Jannat’s boat had her school bag and no vegetables!! She set sailing in her boat, starting a new journey. Jannat was so happy and her heart was filled with gratitude. Her dreams were finally coming true.
The oars seemed very light today, as Jannat already felt the strength, the power of hope, confidence and grit in her fist. The couple kept supporting her education to the best of their ability and today Jannat teaches in the same school. 
Jannat’s passion reminded me of a nursery rhyme, but I changed the words a little bit…
“Row row row your boat gently down the stream 
Your zeal and determination can make you achieve any dream”!!