The watchful student by Saumya Khandelwal | May 1, 2017

At 17, Kshetrapal is a student by day, a security guard by night, and restless in his search for an elusive, yet undefined, "bright future". He's studying liberal arts at his school in Sangam Vihar, but is convinced that what he really needs to learn is to speak fluent English and use a computer.

Kshetrapal and his friends lost a year when he was in class 9, because his mathematics teacher fell ill.

His friends dropped out of school soon after, but Kshetrapal chose to continue his education.

Six months ago, Nem Singh, Kshetrapal's father, lost his job as a foreman at a Delhi Metro construction site. Kshetrapal, who already did odd jobs to earn a little extra income for himself, now had to provide for his family too. He doesn't want the neighbours to know he works as a guard, so each evening, he packs his uniform into a school bag and walks the crowded streets to his workplace in the neighbouring Khanpur.

He reaches the showroom where he works at 7.30 pm, seeing off the last people at the shop. He greets his new friends - the ice cream vendor, the man who runs the chowmein stall, who gives him a bottle of water for the night.

Early next morning, he walks back home, to spend a few hours in bed, before he heads back to school.