Nine people crammed in 2 rooms in a tightly packed Delhi slum trying to make ends meet was the reality of Parmeshwar's life. Yet, the 17-year-old overcame great hardships and scored a stunning 91.7 per cent in his CBSE Class 12 examinations. His victory is a story of courage in the face of adversity.
Hunger, almost a regular guest at his Tigri slum home, had drained the teenager. He had taken up a meagre-paying job of washing cars at Khanpur since Class 10. He made Rs 3,000 a month with which he paid for his uniform and books.
Even during the harsh Delhi winters, Parmeshwar woke up at 4am and walked for half an hour to reach his place of work. His strenuous work then continued for 2.5 hours washing around 10-15 cars. He did this for six days a week.
"Waking up in the cold and working was not easy. I remember how my hands used to freeze every 5 minutes when I touched the cold water. My fingers used to become numb," says Parmeshwar.
"People also used to scold me and for a few hundred bucks we had to bear all the humiliation," the despondent teen says.
And yet he went on. The teenager says he needed this job to support his education. His 62-year-old father is a heart patient and his brothers have unstable jobs with families to look after.
"I cannot burden them," Parmeshwar adds.
His hurdles didn't end there. In March, his father had a surgery. Parmeshwar was at the hospital with his father from where he prepared for his Hindi examination.
During this difficult time, Asha Society, an NGO, ensured all the help they could provide to Parmeshwar. They helped with sample papers and also helped him apply online for an English Honours course at Delhi University.
The bright student says he wants to become a teacher in the future.
"I want to gain so much of knowledge that I can help others as well. There are many who have no resources to study or take tuitions..." he says.
His family says they have high hopes from him and would support him in his journey.