15 hours after Madhur reached home following his father’s death in a car accident, his mother’s first words were, “You are not going to give up on your dream. It was your father’s dream as well, and you will fulfil it”.
Everything changed on 28th April, 2015, Madhur was feeling uneasy, his father was returning from a wedding late into the night and he spoke to his father about getting back home safe. Madhur recalls,
I spoke to him ten minutes before the car accident, since I had this sinking feeling about that night, I kept calling him every ten minutes to check on him, dad didn’t pick. I placated myself that it must be because he was driving, but when there was no response for over forty minutes, I knew something bad had happened.
There was still no call from his father or any of the people in the car (other than Madhur’s father, there were five people in the car, including two children) Madhur had a very uncomfortable feeling.
A father’s dream for his son
Madhur Kapoor’s engineering record goes to show that not only is he an intelligent student, he is extremely diligent too. Most engineers would be able to appreciate this. While pursuing an engineering course in India, you are rarely ever allowed to change the stream you’ve chosen to specialize in. If an exception is made, it is only when you’re the cream of the batch. Madhur has made the switch twice – from telecom to Information Sciences to finally his true calling, Computer Science.
Madhur told his father about his dream of pursuing a Master’s degree abroad. He wanted to check if the family’s financial condition was stable enough for him to pursue an expensive program abroad. “Being the great dad he was, he just asked me to go follow my dream.” Madhur later found out that his dad was under financial stress and their house was mortgaged as well.
Striving for excellence, Madhur took the GRE, wrote his statement of purpose (SOP), essays and submitted the recommendations and his efforts bore fruit. He received a letter dated February 9, 2015 from the University of California, San Diego, stating his acceptance to the Masters program.
“Everything was set, I had my loan in place, only some formality of a signature was left and then….” Madhur trails off.
He called up his mother three hours after the accident but only told her that there was a small accident and his father had some minor injuries. Madhur couldn’t afford to tell his mother the truth because his grandparents have had multiple heart attacks in the past.
The accident took place 80 kms from Kanpur and there was no medical help around. Madhur’s father breathed his last while he was being taken to the hospital. Madhur was told by one of the people in the car that his father kept saying “Don’t let me die. Do anything but don’t let me die”.
Turning into the man of the house overnight
Madhur’s father had taken a personal loan of 25 lakhs for buying a house in 2011. “My cousin brother and uncle have helped me close that loan 3 days back – our house is now free at least.”
The Kapoor family runs a very old shop that is in the “Uniform” business in Kanpur. Another loan is the cash credit (CC) limit in the shop. Madhur’s family just has to serve the interest and the principle amount will reduce. It’s like a working capital loan. Madhur adds, “We don’t plan to close that right now.” The shop is now being managed by his mother and grandfather, who take turns going to the shop.
Madhur, all of 22, says, “My cousin brother and uncle have helped us, but I want to return it to them. I have to consider that as a loan too, an interest free loan albeit.”
An MS is not just a dream anymore, it’s the only financially viable option as well. Madhur explains,
I can never earn that amount of money in Bangalore I guess. Even If I do, I’ll just be spending 10-12 years repaying and left with no savings. I have to take care of a family also.
The math of money for his education
The course comprises six quarters, which Madhur is sure he’ll wrap up in five. The tuition fee per quarter works out to be USD 10,000. For his food and living expenses, Madhur is going to use some money he had saved up during his first year of working at Citrix, Bangalore. He had saved more money, but a chunk of it has gone in paying creditors of the family business. “I have about 6 lakhs remaining with me now, which will sustain me for the living and food expense for the complete duration of the course. All I have to worry about is the tuition fee. “
While talking to Madhur, we realize that he’s explored all options and has everything planned. He just needs some help for two quarters. His cousin brother has generously agreed to pitch in the first quarter’s tuition fee. The last two quarters, he plans to manage through an internship that he hopes to bag at Silicon Valley. He’s also going to seek TA (teaching assistantship) opportunities at the college.
Madhur could have taken an education loan in India or in the US, but he already has a lot of debts to pay. Given his family’s current liabilities, another loan is quite difficult to partake.
“All I have to raise is USD 20,000. I have a buffer of USD 10,000 which I have put on the link”. Madhur has started a campaign on a crowd-funding platform to raise money for his educational expenses. Madhur needs our help right now. Click here to help him out.
“I don’t want anyone’s money as charity. Whenever anyone reaches out, I thank them for their donation and I’m offering to repay this amount as soon as I’m in a better financial condition. I’ve asked people to get back to me about this but till now there is no one who has asked me to repay.”
The problem is that we don’t want to tell people our problems. I was very sceptical about this idea of crowd funding. My cousin brother literally had to force me to do it and he drove sense into me that there is nothing embarrassing about asking for help. This is one mind-set that we have – I don’t want to tell people about my problems, what will they say? I want to change that. It’s OK to ask for help when you need it.
While talking to us, Madhur choked often. It’s not easy to talk about losing your father. But every time he choked, he asked for a minute and spoke about how this dream is his tribute to his father. Yesterday marks exactly two months from the day that changed Madhur’s life. A brilliant student, an even better son, help Madhur make his father’s dream come to life.