“’Remand home’, that is one word that changes everyone’s perspective. And imagine what people feel when I tell them that I have studied in remand homes and other such institutions,” begins 35-year-old Kalpana Dabhade. “But that is precisely why I insist on telling my story, to tell everyone that all those who go to, or come out of remand homes are not criminals,” she says.
She sits in the office of a girls’ hostel, hunched-up over the accounts books. Dressed in a simple yellow chikan salwar-kameez, her brow is furrowed in concentration. As the clock strikes five, she closes the books with a sigh, massages her temples for a few seconds and walks out of the tiny office. This has been her daily routine for the last four years, but now, Dabhade will not be working with this charitable institution for long. She has just cleared her chartered accountancy exams, and from January 21 onwards, she is a certified chartered accountant.
Born in Pune and bought up in a small settlement near Rajguru nagar, Dabhade had to be sent to boarding schools from a young age. Her mother, who used to work at nearby houses, washing clothes and utensils, was unable to support Dabhade, especially after her father abandoned them. “She had no choice, that is why she applied to the government institutions for my education. She thought, I
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