Math is difficult for 15-year-old Mariam Adil, and so is life. Her father has a juice stall in Park Circus.
But she loves both life and math. Life, she says with the maturity of someone much older, has taught her to handle tough situations.
Unlike her mother who could not go to school beyond Class X, this spirited teenager aspires to become a chartered accountant and is working hard towards that goal.
On Saturday, Mariam and her friends celebrated Id at a star hotel in the city.
For this group of teenagers, it was an afternoon of many firsts.
The first-time experience of stepping into a star hotel included a tour of the facilities and a sit-down meal in the company of some of the city’s leading teachers and other guests.
Mubarak-e-Milaap was about celebrating Id with 30 first-generation learners who shed their inhibitions to participate in an inclusive event.
“We always celebrate Id with family and friends but this year we decided to celebrate it with this group of children. Programmes like this aim to give them opportunities, “ said the host for the afternoon, Imran Zaki, president of Faces (Friends of Alumni/Alumnae Colleges, Educational institutes and Schools).
“In so many years, my Id has not been as special as it is today,” he told the girls at The Park hotel.
The girls who attended the programme are from St Stephen’s School in central Kolkata. They are from Muslim amd Hindu families.
“Dont forget that the biggest religion is humanity,” Suvina Shunglu, principal of Sri Sri Academy, told the students during a the lunch.
Among the guests was Swati Sarawagi, director of Swarnim International School, who gave the organisers Eidi (gift from elders to young ones) for the children.
Apala Datta, principal of Birla Bharati School, whose husband is Muslim came to celebrate Id with the children at the hotel leaving behind the celebrations at home.
Mukta Nain, director, Birla High Schools, told the young audience to chase what they are good at and not degrees.
“Today was an experience. Otherwise I would be at home sleeping, eating and then taking selfies,” said Mariam.
Her family shifted to Kolkata in 2021 when the place in Bangalore where her father was working shut down. While her father works day and night for his children, Mariam’s goals are clear.
Tanisha Paswan, 15, was overwhelmed by the experience. She wants to become an air hostess.
When a school principal asked her whether she would remember her locality and its problems when she achieves her goals, the teenager replied: “I’ve been taught not to forget my roots”.
Zaki hopes more star hotels will open their doors for similar programmes.
“At St Stephen’s, we face situations where girls in Class VII, VIII, IX want to drop out because their parents want to get them married,” said Zaki.
“We have to change that,” he said.