When this 13-year-old boy ran away from his home in Manpur, a small village in the beautiful Uttarakhand, he knew only one place to go to. Mumbai, the land of opportunities, the city that never sleeps, the city which has something for everyone. He set out to the maximum city in search of a better life.
With little education to back him him up, Akash Nautiyal had no option but to do odd little jobs. He did everything from going shop to shop marketing for cigarette companies to paying guitar at local pubs. The little money he could from from these job was enough to fill his stomach but not the appetite to learn more and grown in life.
In 2014, he began working at a call center and felt a little relaxed in his life but a tragedy struck and he was robbed. All his possessions that he had bought over a period of time were gone in a jiffy. He lost all his savings stored in cash, books and even his laptop. He couldn’t pay his rent and was thrown out by his landlord. There was no way he can go back to his call center job now. Destiny again pushed him lower and he had to take up a job of a cook at an apartment with a few young men.
Little did he know this was the beginning of a journey that will give him an entirely new approach to life. His employers were students from IIT-Bombay who were glued to their laptops. One day, a curious Akash asked what were they doing on the laptop. “Tu jo Facebook, whatsapp use karta hai na? Waise websites, apps pe coding hoti hai. Computer ko sikhaana padta hai. Hum woh karte hai” (You use Facebook, WhatsApp right? Such websites and apps are coded. We teach computers what to do. We program websites similar to these),” replied Snehil Buxy, co-founder of Housing.com.
This got him interested and he began to learn the basics of coding and programming. With initial support from his employers, and then learning through online courses, Akash was picking up quickly and in the next 15 months he spent most of his time working with his new-found knowledge of writing software.
He cooked in the morning, cleaned the house, slept for a couple of hours in the day and once his employers were back from office, he got hold of their computers are toyed around with codes. Within a year of focused learning he could do front-end, back-end and database handling.
Akash was earning Rs 8,000-10,000 as a cook but with his coding skills he is now earning around Rs 70,000 a month and is working as an iOS developer with a Mumbai-based startup. Akash is an inspiration for many underprivileged children who want to make their lives better.