This year also, like all other years, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day went by as non-events for Migyal. Every year when she sees advertisements of the two occasions she sighs with a deep pain and moves ahead. At her boarding school when her friends phone their parents, she tries to ignore their happy squeals and focuses on her studies instead.

She was only 10 when her father, who was a soldier in the Indian paramilitary forces, laid down his life for the country. His platoon was caught in a terrorist ambush and while the soldiers protected the nation with their bravery, children like Migyal lost their fathers.

“After the tragedy, I found my strength in my mother. I don’t have siblings, so she was all I had“, she says.

But fate had something more tragic written; her mother went into trauma post the incident and her health deteriorated. Four years after her father expired, Migyal’s mothers also deceased.

“I was shattered. The reality was too much for me to take and had it not been for my aunt and uncle I’d have been an orphan in a true sense of the term“, she blinks back tears as she tries to bring to words the enormity of the situation. She was 14 when she moved in with her maternal aunt in Darjeeling. Since then it’s her new family that has given her strength to move on, and today she is a healthy 18-year-old with laughter and dreams. She admits that though nobody can take the place of her parents her aunt and uncle play a pivotal role in inspiring her to achieve her goals.

Migyal studies in 12th grade in a boarding school in Siliguri, a little away from the hills of Darjeeling. She is fully focused on her 12th board exams, but after that, she wants to take a year off to train for her dreams – a boxing champion!

“I want to channel my inner strength and fighter spirit into boxing” the teenager remarks. “My dream is to become like Mary Kom and represent India on international platforms“. The plan is to train for a year, then play at state and national levels and earn a place in a sports academy in Mumbai.

Migyal hopes to build a school in her region in honour of her parents and to send out a strong message that “Girls are as strong as men so never differentiate and give equal rights to her“. The region sees a lot of young girls dropping out of school to get married and she wants to fight this social evil.

Her aunt is proud of her. “The pain she felt was so deep that she could have lost her way, but she has a lot of strength, and that helped her to stay on the right path. I see my sister in her face“, she says. She also mentions that she also raised Migyal when her mother was away in Delhi to work at a beauty salon. “Money was always a problem for her family, but Migyal is a responsible and understanding child and we hope she will go a long way“, she concludes with moist eyes.

It isn’t fair what life dealt Chunjung, but lo and behold! She is boxing her way to her dreams. Atta girl!