BANGALORE: As the alarm goes off at 4am, N Shiva Kumar is up on his feet, stacking his bicycle with newspapers. He has to deliver them before the sun appears on the horizon. A habit since Class 6, Shiva’s life is set to change now. Come June 16, this newspaper-boy-turned-vendor will walk down the corridors of the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta as a PGP student
It sounds like a fairy tale, but the TOI vendor who cracked CAT has indeed grabbed a seat in the premier business school. Shiva, 23, an engineering student from Banaswadi, is the son of an illiterate mother and a father who was a truck driver. He started working as a newspaper delivery boy and for his debt-ridden family of four the Rs 150 he would bring home was a huge relief.
“Every morning people would come home asking my father to return the money he had borrowed. My father had a truck. But there were more liabilities than what he could earn with it. When I was in Class 3 or 4, I sold flowers that my mother strung into garlands by the roadside. It was only later that I found the job of newspaper boy,” said the 8th semester computer science student of Bangalore Institute of Technology.
Shiva managed the part-time job along with school. “I was studying in an ICSE school. In Class 9, I was asked not to come to school till I paid the fees. The next day, I approached the first customer I was delivering the paper to, Krishna Veda Vyasa, and requested him to fund me. He hesitated, and said he didn’t even know me. I asked him to do a background check, and he found I was the topper there. I requested him to pay one term’s fee, but he paid for the entire year. He continued funding me ever since. I owe it all to him,” he said.
He soon found an opportunity to be a vendor and started his own agency when in Class 10. “I’d learnt the tricks of the trade by then. My vendor had some 50 extra copies to sell and I took them from him. That’s how I started,” he said. The 50 copies have now grown to 500. “After school, I would take my cycle and identify new buildings and residents. I would approach them for business and ensured the papers reached before 6am. I had my own targets for a month,” he explained his marketing tactics. He still delivers the paper along with four of his delivery boys.
“It was hard work. I had to get up at 4am every day, deliver the papers and head to school. I had to skip breakfast to be on time, but would still be late. In college, I opted to sit in the last bench during the first hour so I could catch up on some sleep.”
IIM could not have rejected a seat for an aspirant like him. “After my family stabilizes, I want to start a charitable institution, Educate India, by which I can help the underprivileged gain some education. I could achieve this because someone helped me. In turn, I want to help at least 10 people,” he said. Shiva is taking an education loan to fund his IIM course.