Monday, July 21, 2008

It’s a nightmare; wake me up.

From a distance, I saw the naughtiest of the girls at the children’s home, Seema, weeping inconsolably; I had never ever seen he cry till this day. I was clueless till I saw in the bustling swarm of kids, to my utter surprise, her mother sitting next to her. The three kids, two sisters and a brother, Seema, Reena and Rinku, stay at the Children’s Home. As I went closer, I saw that her mother was injured; she had bandages from her right brow-ridge up to her hairline. Her clothes were stained with blood. I enquired from Sister Kalyani about the cause of her condition. She told me that the landlord had beaten her up since she didn’t have money to pay the house rent. Her kids were visibly disturbed; Rinku was quiet and stayed away from his mother but kept staring at her with unblinking eyes, Reena too was in a state of shock (apparently it all happened in her presence when she’d gone home), she wasn’t crying but had a blank look in her eyes and Seema became hysterical on seeing her mother all bloody and bruised. Only when Riti turned up did Seema do her final bit of crying (after hugging her). I think these kids grew-up a little today. As kids, parents seem like huge boulders, all powerful and capable of doing anything. As you grow up, you realize that they have to fight a daily battle to sustain the creatures they gave life to.
Navjeevan Children’s Shelter, run by The Don Bosco Society, has its own set of tales to tell the world. It’s a home for destitute kids who are not orphans, but whose parents cannot keep them due to poverty. They range in age from approximately 4 to 13 years. There were older boys but they were all sent away to a less equipped place which housed boys only. These are stories of children who were given life, but “time and chance” brought them to this shelter, away from their parents. Take for example Karan and Deepa, the newest “acquisition”. Their father is about to die of AIDS and mother too is HIV +ive. The kids are healthy and unaffected by the virus but they have nowhere to go since the parents can’t keep them.
Tomorrow Seema’s mother will go to seek the Governor’s help. She’ll start another day to wade through the life that’s so messed up. God knows if the father of these kids is safe; he’s paraplegic and runs an STD pay phone business under a tent. He moves around in a hand-pedaled three wheeled cycle, I pray to God that that landlord doesn’t target him.

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