Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Shine

The night falls… she’s getting dressed for a charity ball that her office has organised. She’s joined back work, so as not to lose her voice of reason. Tonight’s event is very close to her heart. It’s her baby, she gave birth to it, nursed it, cradled it and now is ready to give it to the world.

One day, on her visit to the clinic, her car breaks down in front of a dilapidated house. With no help in sight and scorching sun overhead, she contemplates of going in to the house. All of a sudden, she sees nearly a score of children rushing through the main gate and onto the road. As startled she is, yet she is beaming with a smile. Because, in all her might, she could’ve never imagined such a dead looking house to be beaming with life. She looks at them getting onto an equally decrepit Carrier, and her feet carry her towards them.

She pats on a girl’s shoulder, and the girl turns. She looks down into her eyes and something in them, tugs at her heart. She asks for her name and is told Mansi. She knows that there’s something - but what??? … that eludes her. Mansi smiles at her and asks that what made her come to her? She herself doesn’t know.

She tells the girl to go ahead and turns back towards the house. She steps into the portico, and notices what went amiss from the road - a lawn strewn with toys and a sandpit with a huge Castle. She continues towards the door and hits the knocker. An old man- an octogenarian answers the door. She tells him about herself and he lets her in. The house though gloomy to look at from the outside has warm and welcoming air. She looks through the hallway and sees doors on either sides opening into huge rooms. They are walking into one of these rooms. She looks up at the ceiling and sees it decorated with festive buntings and huge balloons.

She’s talking to the old gentleman, and is surprised at his intellect. She listens to his mesmerising voice “…children love it here… not that they have any choice but they don’t want to leave this old house nor this old man…” she looks around and finds an old fireplace. She walks towards it.
“… getting some good offers for some of the kids… from families of repute and enormous wealth, we leave all the decisions with the child. And they simply don’t want to go. Instead of accepting donations, we ask people to contribute in bringing them up.”

She turns around with a question looming on her mind. And he answers before she voices it. “We just ask the people to contribute in the right way, by giving away their time. It’s very easy to part with your money and feel good that you’d been part of bringing some good, but that doesn’t count. Tell me…Does it???” She looks bemoaningly bewildered. “We ask people to teach them, welcome them in their homes. Create awareness about them and donate gifts and clothes.”

“And is that enough, I mean food, books and daily sustenance.”
“It’s easy, we do our own housekeeping, learn to make handicrafts, grow our own vegetables, we even have our own candle making unit…”

“Today the children are invited to one of our patrons’ home. It’s their child’s birthday. I must say adopted. They approached us to adopt one our own, but the kids refused. You’d be surprised to learn what the kid in question said. She said that it won’t be fair to her fellow friends where she gets to live with all the luxuries and they are denied the basic sustenance. Could you ever believe this coming from a seven year old!!! nobody could believe this… not even the couple. This moved them so much that they became our patrons from then on.”

She learns a valuable lesson in life. She learns the true meaning of gratitude, shown to her by a seven year old. She has everything yet she yearns for what she doesn’t, and here a seven year old gives up everything that promises her a great future. She promises herself that she won’t begrudge and belittle her life by complaining what she doesn’t have. She turns around and walks towards the mantelpiece. She looks at the pictures. There she is with a pup in her hands and friends all about her. The gentleman walks to her and points this is the child he’d been talking about.

She slips into her dress, does her hair and lightly brushes her face with the makeup. She is thinking about her Guest of Honour, the fight that she has put up for her organisation to take up the cause, her colleagues to embrace it voluntarily. For months on end, she went after each and every person and explained to them, about what they’ll be bringing into these children’s lives. She ran from post to pillar, and eventually someone sitting high up took notice and heard her. They sat after hours, for months on end; to devise a suitable plan that also accrues up the company’s goodwill and gets it due tax benefits.

Though her colleagues cussed her for days to come…. But they experienced what’d been missing from their life- a therapeutic stress buster. What started as reluctance gave way to looking forward to Compassionate Sundays. They gradually started bringing their Families and interacting with the kids. From teaching alphabets to Shop Craft and even sewing and knitting… Life suddenly was so much fun.

Tonight, as she walks on to the stage, she knows that it’d been truly worth the efforts. Tonight what she started from her organisation will be accepted globally. As she walks near the podium, she holds onto a hand that taught her the real meaning. Her Guest of Honour – Mansi – she leads her to the microphone and sees her eyes shine which lost their light at the age of three. The shine that emanates an aura. The shine that radiates a characteristic which others can never possess, for they are blinded by all the glam and glitter. Today this blind girl will shape the lives of many with a vision that they clearly could not see.

Life acts in strange ways.
“…Ibi, you’d be what she is- a beautiful human being first, and everything else later. This girl has given me a new found meaning and I know you, just like her, will be the guiding light for many. May God bless both of you with his wisdom and prudence.”

She never forgets to let go of me, why her day has to begin with me looming in her mind and ends with the hope of my coming into her life. I’d promised myself that the day she won’t think of me, I’ll leave her to her own self, but she won’t give up on me. She doesn’t make my job easy, but I guess she doesn’t get to be easy on her own self. I just wish her life gets a new direction and I hope to be the one to steer. I want to be the one to shine light into her life.