‘Drug addict to aspiring lawyer’: Uttarakhand boy’s life story is all about grit and determination
When 21-year-old Archit Sharma was caught by police of Raipur locality in Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, he never thought he would come back to the same police station later as an aspiring lawyer.
Sharma’s journey is an example of transformation, grit and determination. It also shows the humane face of police which offered him refuge at the police station where he is now living and studying for his class 12 examinations and law entrance test. After getting released from jail, Sharma’s family refused to accept him after which he took refuge at the same police station where he was booked for theft to fund his drug addiction.
Drugs addiction after father’s death
Narrating his story, Sharma says that he was good in studies and never consumed drugs till he was living with his family in Uttarkashi district. Everything changed after moving to Dehradun to his grandparent’s place following his father’s death.
“After my father passed away, my mother, younger sister and I came to Dehradun to my maternal grandparent’s place to live with them as they were our only caretakers along with my maternal uncle. There, unfortunately, I got into the wrong company of friends which ultimately pushed me into drug addiction,” said Sharma.
He said that as his drug addiction problem got serious in Dehradun, he was then sent to live with his maternal uncle in Bangalore.
“My family sent me there in 2014 where I lived for a year. I pursued by class 10 board examinations with 8.6 CGPA. As my uncle is very strict, I was away from drugs there. However, I couldn’t tolerate his behaviour and returned after a year in 2015 only to again get into drugs,” said Sharma.
“The addiction got worse and I got a supplementary in one of the subjects in class 12 boards in 2017. Ashamed of it, I left home without telling my family members.”
Petty jobs for drugs
Sharma said that after leaving home, he spent two years wandering in different areas of Dehradun while working in restaurants and dhabas to earn money to buy drugs.
“As I was deep into drugs, I funded my addiction with the money I earned by working in restaurants. Then one day, one of my relatives saw me in a restaurant and took me home,” he said.
After going home, he claimed that his drug addiction got worse and he started stealing household things.
“I first stole some household things and then sold them to buy drugs. I stole gold jewellery for about Rs 3-4 lakhs and spent it all on drugs. Finally, my family members got to know about it and lodged a complaint against me in Raipur police station,” said Sharma
Sharma was arrested by police on June 25, 2019, and produced before a court which sent him to jail for one year.
No acceptance from family
“I was released from jail on parole citing the pandemic on April 2 this year. I went home but my uncle, who is the guardian of my grandparent’s house, refused to accept me. I then turned back and spent 2-3 days on roads,” said Sharma.
He said that he relied on the food being distributed by people for the needy ones during those 2-3 days.
“During that time, the lockdown was strict and police caught me sleeping in an auto-rickshaw and asked me to go home. I told them I don’t have any home and they let me go,” said Sharma.
“Later when I lost all hope, I turned towards the same Raipur police station for a refuge where I was arrested. I met its station house officer Amarjeet Singh Rawat and narrated my ordeal on which he provided me with a place yo live in the police station premises. I am still living there,” he said.
Sharma says that it was initially an unusual experience for him to live in the police station but later he settled down.
“Initially I would see some people crying, shouting in the police station with police bringing strangers in the lockup. I used to think what is this unusual scene. Later it got normal,” said Sharma.
While living in the police station, he started helping cops in rescue operation in accidents and social work of distributing food to needy ones and stray animals.
“SHO Amarjeet sir helped me a lot by providing me clothes, food and even books when I told him that I want to study. As my class 12 was incomplete, he filled my form for it for which I will be taking my examinations next year in April,” said Sharma.
He said when he told Rawat that he aspires to become a lawyer, he also bought him books for the preparation for law entrance examination.
“He treats me like his own and never made me feel that I am living with cops. The other personnel in the police station also help me a lot and treat me like their family member which shows that police also has a humane face,” said Sharma.
Sharma says that he is not in touch with his family members as his uncle didn’t allow his mother and sister to talk to him over the phone.
“Initially I used to call my mother with the mobile phone provided by SHO sir. But then my uncle got to know about it and stopped her from taking my calls. I miss my mother a lot and once I stand on my own feet after becoming a lawyer, I will bring her from there to live with me,” he said.
Police lauds Sharma’s transformation
Station house officer (SHO) Amarjeet Singh Rawat said, “He has changed completely. Nobody can tell that he was a drug addict and had spent time in jail.”
Rawat said, “When he came to me crying that he has nowhere to go as his family members refused to accept him, I decided to help him and allowed him to live in the station premises.”
Rawat said he provided him with space in the police barracks.
“For food, I have asked our police mess to give him food while sometimes I also bring him food from my home. We were impressed with him helping the needy ones and strays in the area with a pure heart,” said Rawat.
He said, “When he expressed his desire to study, I made all the required arrangements for him by filling his form for class 12 as well as for law entrance examination. I have taken full responsibility for his studies till he stands on his own.”
Rawat said that he tried to convince his family members to take him back several times. “But they refused straight away citing the theft incident.”
Governor pardons remaining jail term
Rawat said, “When Governor Baby Rani Maurya came to know about his good conduct while living in the police station, she pardoned his remaining jail term of about three months.”
“We are happy to be a part of his transformation journey and setting an example on how one can leave the menace of drug addiction and lead a meaningful life with self-determination,” said Rawat.