Got scrap? This 16-year-old Mumbai kid could turn it into a computer

Updated: Sep 18, 2016, 12:59 IST | Aparna Shukla

Jayant Parab has learnt to tune out the noise around him. The 16-year-old is comfortable in the solitude of his Ghatkopar house, by his 9-inch computer that he has made from scrap

Jayant Parab cobbled together scrap sourced from all around to make his computer. Pics/Sameer Syed Abedi
Jayant Parab cobbled together scrap sourced from all around to make his computer. Pics/Sameer Syed Abedi

Jayant Parab has learnt to tune out the noise around him. The 16-year-old is comfortable in the solitude of his Ghatkopar house, consumed by his 9-inch computer that he has made from scrap. For Std IX dropout — who also ‘failed’ the class — Jayant’s confidence and clarity of life goals is inspirational.

“I want to make affordable computers. The computer I have made is from leftovers from offices, banks and hospitals,” he says, pointing to his invention. “The screen is similar to one seen in operation theatres. It’s not a real computer. I used bits and pieces from here and there, and acrylic for the body, which I cut myself. What you see is the first step towards achieving my dream.”

Precocious child
Jayant had set out on actualising this dream much earlier. As a child, he accompanied his father, then a small-time scrap dealer, in collecting ‘waste’. “He picked up things he thought he could use at home. In Std V, he repaired a laptop that an office had disposed of. That was the time I sort of knew that he would end up in the field of computers,” Ravindra Parab, his father.


His father and scrap dealer, Ravindra Parab, was the one who set him onto this path

Today, Ravindra collects scrap — old and unusable computers, other hardware et al — from offices, hospitals and schools. “This is how e-waste is generated. Some I sell, some I give for recycling and others I hand over to my son,” says Ravindra, looking fondly at Jayant.

As good as new
The youngster says the e-waste he gets is usually “as bad as it could get”. “But I try to modify it, by adding new parts and wires. So, it becomes as good as new. If nothing, such computers can be used by families and students who can’t afford to buy a regular one,” claims Jayant.

His elder brother repairs computers, and passed on the know-how to him.

Too cool for school
Ravindra was, however, not initially on board Jayant’s plan to drop out of school. “He had no interest in studies and that pained me,” he says. The father slowly came around to supporting the youngster’s plan. “He is sincere and has charitable motives. So, I’ll be there for him no matter what,” says Ravindra.

Jayant clarifies that his disinclination for structured schooling should not be mistaken for a lack of interest in learning. Nevertheless, he also realises that he can make a bigger difference in the world through education. To make up for lost time, he is pursuing Std X from St Teresa High School in Andheri through correspondence. “I am also learning about [ethical] hacking and security systems through a course on computers. I want to ultimately revolutionise the e-waste industry,” says Jayant.

9,400
E-waste (in tonne) generated daily in Mumbai; only 3,000 tonne is processed

77%
Respondents from Mumbai to a 2016 survey who are ignorant of e-waste disposal rules

ExpertSpeak

Anuj Maheshwari
Associate VP, EcoRecycling Ltd

To assimilate parts of a computer isn’t rocket science. But to source them from several places, and that too different models and machines, is a tough task. The young boy’s endeavours are commendable. In India, people don’t usually discard hardware till it is completely worn out.

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