Achinta Sheuli's mother has kept his trophies and medals wrapped in a half-torn saree under the only bed in their two-room residence in Howrah district's Deulpur, around 20 km from Kolkata.
On Monday morning she arranged them on a small stool when Achinta Sheuli returned home after bagging gold in the 73kg weightlifting event at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
A happy Purnima Sheuli has requested her younger son to purchase a cupboard to showcase the medals and trophies he has won so far.
"I knew that reporters and photographers would be coming to our house when Achinta came back. So, I kept the medals and trophies on a stool so that they could understand how talented Achinta is. I never dreamt that he would win gold for the country, Purnima Sheuli told PTI.
She remembers how tough it was for her to bring up her sons - Alok and Achinta - following the death of her husband Jagat Sheuli. He died of sunstroke in 2013.
"Today, I believe God has started showering blessings on us. The number of people who gathered in front of our house shows that times have changed. Nobody will be able to realise how tough it was for me to bring up my two sons.
“I could not even provide them with their meals every day. There were days when they fell asleep without eating. I don't know how to express myself and what to say," she said.
Both Achinta and his elder brother Alok, also a weightlifter, had to load and unload goods besides doing zari work on sarees at a local manufacturing unit, she recalled.
"I had no other option than sending my sons to work. Or it would have been difficult for us to survive," she said remembering how both Alok and Achinta continued weightlifting against all odds.
Recollecting the abject poverty and the hardship during his childhood, the 20-year-old weightlifter gave the credit for his achievement to his mother and coach Astam Das.
"It feels great returning home after doing a good job. All that I have achieved today is because of my mother and my coach Astam Das. Both have played important roles in my life and whatever I am now is because of these two persons," Achinta Sheuli told PTI from New Delhi.
The weightlifter left for the national capital to attend a meeting there in the early hours of Wednesday.
The young sportsperson who is elated to have seen so many people waiting outside his residence to welcome him back home on Monday night, however, believes that only some financial aid from the government would help the family overcome their hardship.
"Life has never been that easy for me and my family. We had to literally earn every single bread we ate after my father's death. Now, although we two brothers have started earning, I think it is not enough to help solve our financial condition... if only the government can kindly look into our problem and help us," he told PTI from New Delhi.
His coach Astam Das, when contacted, gave the entire credit to Achinta for bringing laurels to the country.
Achinta's grit and "never give up" motto have helped him in winning the gold in the CWG, Das said.
"He is like my son. He is different from others I have trained. I have never seen him give up easily and that is what helped him realise his goal despite fighting all odds. I believe this win at the CWG will take him further in life," the coach said.