By Deepthi Sundrarajan
There are some moments in life which make you stop and just thank god for the bountifully gifted platter you are served. My biggest problem at the moment would probably be wondering if I can cut the next class and still manage attendance or my grades. But not everyone is so lucky.
Natasha, a pretty name for a very pretty and smart girl. All of eleven and I have so much to learn from her. Her spunk and her incessant need to make others smile are contagious. She comes from a similar background like the other kids: parents who couldn’t offer much apart from love, unable to meet the financial needs of bringing up a kid.
She has a younger sister Nancy and a brother.
They’re quite a unit. But I was attracted to Nats (that’s what we nick named her) because she was my kid. For the next 1 year along with 8 other kids she would be taught Basic English by me and my co-teacher. So I made it a point to get to know each of these girls.
They were super excited to meet us during the ice breaking. And after game time they took us to their rooms and showed us their precious collections. In Nats’ case it was a notebook-journal. She wrote down a prayer asking god to protect and keep safe her family and especially her dad Inbaraj everyday.
Now I’m not a very emotional person but that day seeing these kids, I guess it struck a chord. Natasha’s precious diary was her outlet. She was new to the hostel as she called it and she misses home.
She misses the familiarity of her family, hugs from dad and mom, talking to them and those tiny things you just take for granted. Her handwriting might have been a scrawl of disjointed cursive letters but the maturity in the writing was obvious.
She wrote how she missed her father. How she forgave him for sending her away from him , how she understood that he did’nt have much money but she always ended her entry saying she wanted god to bless her daddy and keep him happy even if it meant he had to send her away.
At the end of the entry was a list of people in her family. It broke my heart to see she had never listed herself as a member of her family the last six months. All through the time I read it she stood next to me and looked at me and after I was done smiled a genuine smile.
She deserved so much better. If there was anything I could do for her, for them during my hours there I knew then and there I would.
My first session with the kids was like an epiphany, so the first thing I did was to call my parents and tell them I loved them.