“I have always loved the sea and despite everything that has changed, I long to go back to the sea, take my boat and go fishing. And I certainly would have become a fisherman, if it were not, for my father’s dreams.”
Short with a dusky complexion, smartly dressed, sharp in his talks, and a confidence to reach the stars, ‘Godson Jebamalai’ is the first engineer from Rochma nagar, a small fisherman colony in the Ramnathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.
Rochma nagar is a typical costal village in Tamil Nadu, where the self-subsistent fishing is the primary occupation. All the families here are involved in fishing and they have a tradition where the fathers introduce their boys to sea and teach them fishing from a very early age.
Jebamalai, Godson’s father, a fisherman by birth and profession, was the first one to break the custom and make his son pursue education. “Initially I used to venture into the sea with my friends or my brothers or even my father, and I liked fishing. But as I grew up, my father wanted me to only study. He would punish me if I ever caught me anywhere near the water,” said Godson.
Godson says that he did not have any aims or aspirations of becoming an engineer. It was always his father’s ambition. Jebamalai never let his son fall short of anything, and after Godson scored well in his 12th standard, his father knew that his son was destined to become an engineer. With a nostalgic voice, Godson still recollects his father saying “Fishing is not helpful for the future. I had to struggle a lot and I want you to go school!”
After completing his primary, secondary and higher education from Government Higher Secondary School, Kannirajaprum, a village near his hometown in Tamil medium, Godson faced a lot of difficulties while doing his engineering at the Dr. Sivanthi Aditanar College of Engineering in Tiruchendur, Tamil Nadu.
“My biggest problem was English. More than a problem, it was like a fiend. Most of the English-speaking students humiliated me. The teacher and the subjects seemed alien, more than the engineering it was the language that I struggled with. It took me at least a year to get over it,” Godson remembers.
Today, after working for IT conglomerates like Vi Microsystems Pvt Ltd. and Hyperion Electronics, Godson dreams and plans of going back to fishing. He complaints that the current fisherman only sell their produce within the town. In a time when most of the population wants to migrate to big cities, Godson has a different dream.
“I want to go back to Rochma nagar and start exporting the produce all over the country and maybe even overseas. I also want to import some technology to our hometown to and use the knowledge and the experience I’ve gained, for my village,” says Godson