While the rest of us rush from our lecture halls to the student union for a beer, or home to play video games, a PhD student from India leaves campus straight to her roadside eatery where she sells parathas (a popular flatbread) to earn a living.
The 28-year-old had started the eatery with her husband, an engineering graduate who had quit his job in Delhi and decided to stay in Kerala until Sneha completed her PhD.
“We had a good number of regular customers from Technopark (IT Park) as well as from the university campus. But in August, we had to go to Jharkhand as Premshankar required a surgery. We were in Jharkhand for three months and he did not come back with me to Kerala as he’s still unwell. Now I manage everything by myself,” Sneha said.
“I have to do it to earn a living. The number of customers has gone down a lot since we took a three-month break.”
As a PhD research scholar in the Bioinformatics department at her university, she had financial assistance for the first two years of her research through the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). Since the fellowship has ended, she now has to wait until she gets a Senior Research Fellowship, and thus runs the eatery for income.
Things haven’t been completely easy for the young woman from Maharashtra. She’s living alone and has to work late nights hoping to earn at least INR100 (US$1.57) daily. Her rent is overdue by three months and her husband is still sick.
But Sneha remains hopeful, saying: “There are lots of things to worry about, but I will complete my education by working hard.”
“I have managed tougher situations in life.”
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