Assistant Professor turns bike mechanic to earn livelihood in Khammam

Vankudoth Ravinder
Vankudoth Ravinder fixing motorbikes at the mechanic shop at Madhira in Khammam district

Madhira (Khammam): Mending motorbikes at a mechanic shop on a main road in the town, Vankudoth Ravinder, may at first glance look like a typical bike mechanic. But just a brief conversation with him reveals that he is a M.Tech who worked as an Assistant Professor at a private engineering college in Yadadri Bhongir district until recently.

He is one of the numerous victims of the lockdown imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that drastically changed how the world operates and turned the financial system upside down causing many to lose their livelihood.

33-year-old Ravinder, a native of Madhira, studied M Tech (mechanical) in a private college in Khammam in 2013. He worked as faculty with several engineering colleges in Khammam and Hyderabad and had about 10 years experience as faculty as he started working soon after completing B Tech.

For the past three and half years he has been working as an Assistant Professor. He quit his job when he was not paid salary in the wake of the lockdown. After his attempts at alternate sources of income failed and his savings exhausted, he finally came back to his native town a month ago with his wife and two children in search of a new beginning.

“I asked for a job at local mobile and other stores, but that was in vain. I finally ended up in this mechanic shop. Though I am an engineering graduate and a teacher, I am an apprentice here, learning how to fix motorbikes, earning around Rs 200 to 300 daily”, Ravinder told Telangana Today.

Ironically, the person who offered him a job is his old student, Srihari Naik, a college dropout. “Hard work is nothing new to me. During my college days, I used to work with my father Veeru, a mason,” he said, making it clear that he has no qualms about his present work.

Explaining his plight, Ravinder said that before coming to Madhira, he approached a few colleges in and around Hyderabad seeking a job. And the situation was the same at all the places. No college was ready for new recruitments, and in fact, they were trying to get rid of existing staff.

‘I had not received my salary since February. I spent all my savings and life had become tough without money. Then I decided to return to my native place which gave me confidence to face the situation. I live with parents and need not worry about house rent and other expenditures’, he averred.

‘I may try to get back to my teaching profession if the situation improves. I am learning how to fix bikes, especially Royal Enfield motorcycles and I may open a motorbike mechanic shop of my own to earn my livelihood,’ Ravinder said, letting out a long deep sigh of despair.

“It is sad to see a man who once held a piece of chalk to write engineering formulae and drawings to teach the students now holding spanners and screwdrivers to fix bikes to earn a livelihood,” Srihari Naik, Ravinder’s new boss, lamented.

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