The story of Madhu Priya, the daughter of vegetable vendors who defied all odds to become the first educated girl in her family, recently went viral when the 28-year-old shared a post to LinkedIn lauding her parents for all the sacrifices they made to make sure that their children got to live the lives they could only dream of, and the Internet can’t help but applaud the family’s heartwarming journey.
In the now-viral post, Madhu had shared, “My parents are vegetable vendors and I come from a middle-class family. I am a first-generation learner, first girl child in the family to have done a Masters’s degree, first girl to get campus placed in an Indian MNC, first working mother in the family, and the first to get a PROMOTION. (sic),” Madhu went on to add, “This is my first Promotion and I dedicate this to my Mother.”
Born to Devaki and Thiruvengadam, Madhu, the second of two daughters, shares how the family of four lived in a one-room kitchen house in Chennai, and how her parents were vegetable vendors who would wake up at 4 am and spend most of their time selling vegetables. Being dropouts themselves, Madhu’s parents couldn’t complete their education on account of financial constraints but they did not wish the same to happen to their children. They made sure that their daughters went to the best school despite their own financial constraints and the girls ended up studying at one of the best schools in Chennai at the time where they studied alongside the children of celebrities and businessmen.
Madhu shared how there was always unspoken discrimination against her because of her family background sharing to KenFolios, “The other students never said anything to my face but inclusion was never there. Apart from my two best friends (Shruti and Pujitha), nobody else invited me to any birthday parties or other outing.” When Madhu was younger she admits that there were many things that her parents did that only make sense to her now. She shares how she would get angry at her mother for always showing up late to the parent-teacher meetings. In her viral post she had shared, “When I graduated from school, my mom said that she always came last so as to not embarrass me in front of my classmates for being a vegetable vendor’s daughter (my classmates’ parents were mostly celebrities, businessmen, or some big shots!). I felt terrible for not understanding her and not having the chance to show my friends how proud I am of her. So, here I am, taking this opportunity to show the world that I am a PROUD VEGETABLE VENDOR’S daughter who defied all odds and thrived her way to today. (sic)” Madhu shares, “This was my mother’s misconception. I never felt bad or embarrassed, I am honored to be my parents’ daughter.”
Madhu’s parents made around Rs 800 daily and they managed all their expenses, including the school, and tuition fees in this amount. At first, Madhu was very bothered by all the discrimination and losing friends, but when Madhu realized all the sacrifices that were being made by her parents to make sure she and her sister have a good life, she started to focus a lot more on her education. She graduated from D.G. Vaishnav College and was one of the toppers. Soon after she landed a job at Carborundum Universal Limited where she worked for over four years, she then joined FPS Innovation Labs as a Senior Human Resource Associate two years ago and as the viral post says, is now the Associate Manager.
Madhu shares how her mother has contributed the most to her success, saying, “My mom could not follow her dream, but she did not want us to sacrifice ours. And now she is living her dream through us.”
“During my job and interviews I never faced any kind of discrimination, rather people appreciate when they come to know my family background and where I am today because of my hard work and my parents’ sacrifices,” says Madhu. She does not compare her success to others, but with herself and believes people should be happy with their achievements no matter how small or significant.
Madhu is now happily married to her college sweetheart Vignu Bharath and they have a daughter of their own. Madhu signs off by sharing how she wishes she appreciated her parents more saying, “They have sacrificed their life for me and my sister. I am very grateful for them,” adding that people should be more grateful for all the hardships our parents go through for us, saying “Your parents are working hard to give you a good life, be happy with what you have and work hard.”
This story is submitted by Bilal Khan and edited by Alfea Shaikh.
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