[Md. Ameen Shareef, a man from Vizag, Andhra Pradesh has recently completed a cross-country bike ride for a cause. he is writing a book titled “My Cross Country Ride” with exclusive stories of his adventure. The Male Factor is proud to be associated with him in his journey as a writer. For the first time ever, you will read snippets of his book as it progresses.
All snippets of the book can be found – here
For more information about the book visit this blog]
Chapter 1 – Reverse Gear
The story of my life can’t start without sharing the story of my father and grandfather. My grandfather was a poor tailor in a remote village in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. He had six sons and my father was his second eldest son. My grandfather was very poor, he could hardly provide two meals for his family so my father had seen extreme poverty and hardship from very close. But he was determined to change everything for his family.
My grandfather was unable to provide for the education of his children. So, my father had shifted to his maternal uncle’s home where he was admitted to a govt. school and also worked in his grandfather’s store.
After completing his primary education from Polavaram where his maternal grandparents lived, my father shifted to Rajamundhry in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. He was still poor and did not have enough money for his education. So, he used to work in a local paper mill in night shift. He didn’t have any financial support from anywhere and had to make his own life.
My father could not continue his studies after his SSC. He moved to Visakhapatnam, another city in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. He had no food, no money and no shelter there but had a strong will to succeed in all adversaries. He worked in a refueling station there. Later he moved to a transport company as a fleet organizer. With his hard work and strong will soon he became the partner in a transportation company and became an authorized transport partner of Indian oil.
It was around this time he got married and we were born. I am the youngest of his four children, three sons, and one daughter. My father was the only breadwinner that time in a family of 20 members that included my uncles and aunts. None of my uncles knew anything else except driving auto or truck and had almost no income. So, we had to somehow survive in a two-room house.
My father used to work for 20 hours a day for years together to provide for our family. My mother was not educated but she motivated us all for better education. She wanted us to become managers and engineers. Everyone else in my family was hardly educated. They worked as daily wage earners, taxi drivers etc. In my childhood, no one around me had any career goals or discussion about higher education. My father could not look after us at all, as he used to be busy working round-the-clock. Only for making more money for all of us. My mother was the one who used to motivate us to study. For her, she was happy if there were no red marks (a sign of failure in a subject) in our report cards.
When I was in my Xth standard, my father incurred a huge loss in his business and was about to sell off our house. We had tension in our house daily. I had also decided to work to support him in earning. Slowly, he could recover his losses and come through.
By 2004, when I passed class XII, my father had retired from his business and my uncle took over the same. My uncle was paying a royalty to my father every quarter but that was just enough for us to sustain. Ever since I passed class X, I have dreamt of joining a cinematography course. I was so much into the dream of moviemaking that after my class XII, I went to join Film and Television Institute of India, Pune which is considered to be the best in India.
The course fees were Rs. 5 Lakhs which was way beyond our capacity to pay. I tried to apply for education loan but all banks rejected the application. I was so much in the dream of moviemaking that I didn’t think of an alternate plan and my life came to a sudden halt. After a lot of struggle through different sources, when nothing worked, I had to take admission to B. Sc. Course in a Govt. Degree college in Vizag.
The three years’ graduation in my college has changed my life. I developed a passion for adventure activities and NCC activities. I have excelled in NCC and in no-time, I was promoted from a Cadet to a Senior Under Officer after getting three promotions.
Some brave moments in Ameen Shareef’s life
In my three years in NCC, I have participated in state level Army Attachment Camp (An intense 16 days training camp, living the life of soldier and performing the activities, exercises, drill, weapon training, physical training, staying with soldiers day in day out, living with army discipline and lifestyle), Represented Andhra Pradesh in National Integration Camp (National Integration Camp happens twice in a year where all the 29 states of India, invite one individual NCC unit from each state to represent the culture and diversity of the respective states and also completions, debates, cultural, discipline, turnout, behavior, task, camping, interpersonal skills, drill were been look at and the best cadets and unit gets rewarded) and also commanded Rifle drill Parade, parasailing, Artillery gun firing and other activities. Life was full of adventure and thrill that time.
After my graduation, I have joined a job in Bangalore in 2007. Simultaneously, I have also joined a part-time MBA course. But soon I realized the importance of having a full-time MBA degree and joined a full- time course in Vizag. By this time my family life had undergone huge ups and downs. My sister got divorced and started living with us with her two kids. Other brothers were posted in different cities then.
During my MBA days, I was active in almost all kinds of extra-curricular activities – dancing, singing, debating, event-management, everything. I was also involved in cinematography as it was my dream from childhood. By that time I have made a documentary on Women Empowerment for an Inter-University Documentary Carnival.
That was the time I was enjoying every aspect of my life when my parents passed away in a short period of time. I just started my career then and was unsure of my future. My siblings started looking around for my match. During that time, one of our relatives has visited our place for our parents’ 40-day rituals and proposed the relation of their daughter with me. She was educated but was a divorcee. I knew her since childhood as we used to play together. I always had a soft corner for divorced women as my sister was a divorcee, too. So, I didn’t think too much before marrying her.
But that was the worst mistake of my life. After overcoming all challenges in my life, when I was dreaming about getting settled, my life was turned upside-down by this decision. Within a few months of our marriage, she turned highly demanding and controlling. She started exhibiting control over everything in my life including my finances, ATM pin, debit cards all. Another blunder for me was going for a child. As soon as she conceived, she started using the child as a pawn against me and made my life a hell. I didn’t know what was to be done. I was completely at a loss. My life had become miserable. The hero of NCC who had shown extreme bravery as NCC cadet and won accolades all over was soon contemplating suicide.