Vicky Roy is a living example of the fact that dreams do come true if you work for them. His incredible journey from being a rag picker at the station to having his name in the Forbes is praiseworthy. He is also an inspiration for the youngsters who are the future of the country. Hailing from a small town, this successful photographer had big dreams. Let’s have a look at how he made this beautiful transition for himself.
Vicky Roy’s Rough Start to Life
Vicky’s father wasn’t financially stable, for which he couldn’t afford his education costs. He belonged to a small town named Purulia in West Bengal. His father earned 15 to 20 rupees a day and he couldn’t afford education for his son. With dreams of making his son complete his higher secondary education and have a comparatively better life, his father sent Vicky to live with his maternal grandparents.
From there he attended his school, returned home, and did the household chores, but he didn’t have the life his father wanted him to have there. He was beaten up for the smallest of things, leading a life exactly opposite to what his father thought.
Deciding for Himself
Being done with the daily torture he was being put through, he left that place. He stole some money from his maternal uncle’s pocket and boarded a train to Delhi. Once he reached the New Delhi railway station, he was overwhelmed by the rush of people on the platform. On not being able to see a familiar face, he burst out crying in a corner, out of fear and shock.
Living Life of Ragpicker and Eating Leftovers
Few kids at the station who picked up rags saw him, comforted him, and made him a part of them. He soon started working with them, collecting water bottles, washing them, filling them again, sold them in the general compartments.
They had the leftovers from the train pantries, but soon he realized that this life wasn’t for him because kids like them were tortured and abused. The little amounts they earned were taken away from them by the goons who attacked them with blades.
He looked for another job at a small dhaba at Ajmeri Gate where he was employed as a dishwasher. One day, a young man who had come for a meal asked him why he worked when he was supposed to finish his studies and achieve big things in life. On learning about Vicky’s conditions, the young man enrolled him at the Salaam Baalak Trust in Delhi, which is an NGO that provided a nurturing environment to children.
Vicky Roy – A Photographer
Vicky Roy started his education from the 6th standard and after finishing his 10th standard with a low percentage his teacher suggested he consider a vocational career as his academia wasn’t strong enough. He did photography, for which his trust got him a plastic camera for Rs.499. He started clicking pictures of his friends for 5 rupees each with that camera.
The trust had also helped him to get a job under a renowned photographer of Delhi named Anay Maan. He worked for him at Rs.3000 per month and took a loan of Rs.28000 from the trust to get himself a good camera. Not just that, this hardworking and inspiring guy also worked as a waiter to earn enough to sustain himself, buy camera films and repay the loan.
An Internationally Acclaimed Photographer
His hard work paid off and his first-ever photography exhibition was presented in 2007 at the Indian Habitat Center. The exhibition was called Street Dreams, and it gave him immense success. It was also presented in London, South Africa, and Vietnam. The next year he got selected amongst the top four finalists in a renowned competition, which got him the chance to shoot the reconstruction of the World Trade Center.
After learning better techniques in documentary photography in New York, he came back to India and was felicitated by Salaam Baalak Trust as a gold award holder. After this, he was invited for lunch with Prince Edward at Buckingham Palace. He has also worked for several renowned channels like National Geographic and was also invited to give motivational speeches at Google HQ, Facebook HQ, Harvard, White House, and Pentagon.