Thursday, April 02, 2009

Overwhelmed!!

I have tons to say, most things are serious, but before gettting into graver things, i'd like to apologize to Mayank, Nikhil, Anwesa and Yamini, who really thought i was leaving,if viewed Align Centerfrom a different angle, my April Fools joke wasn't all that funny. but i found out just how much my blogger friends mean to me and vice versa and that is overwhelming.. and for those who guessed it out that i was indeed fibbing... :) well... i dont know what to say \m/ you guys are tough to fool! so in case you fell for it and thought i was leaving you for good.. wooohoohahahaa.. i'm not.. im very much here.. like they say.. quitters never win and winners never quit!

Now on to what happened today. i have never felt this overwhelmed and humbled like this before, by the end of the experience i could barely hold tears back, and i feel ungrateful and extremely selfish in life but before walking out of the place i made myself a promise, even if i can't do anything directly for the situation but i will try my best to value what i have and lead a more meaningful life.

I had an interview at an NGO today. this NGO provides education and upkeep of destitutes, orphans and mostly children of prostitutes. before you cringe and form opinions i'd entreat you to read what i have to tell you. Initially i too was very reluctant to apply and even go for the interview, because their main centre was amidst Kolkata's red light area, but on my sisters insistence and since she was supposed to accompany me i agreed. both of us walked the by lanes going deeper and deeper into a congested lane, shops lined either sides of the streets. people eyed the two of us, wondering where the two of us were heading in the locality of the ill repute. after a lot of asking, a prostitute herself helped my sister find the right lane which after several twists and turns lead us to an old house and then a narrow staircase took us up to a terrace and a grill gate on one side. we opened the gate and walked in. [till this point, i knew i would say no to the offer because traveling to that locality everyday was something i knew i could never do, but if they transferred me to their other branch, which is somewhat near home, i knew i could still do it.]
the sight that greeted us took me aback somewhat. on a carpet, lay 20-30 odd children all asleep, and the happy smiles on their face showed just how peaceful they were and happy being there. down the hall we went into the administration office where we had to wait for almost two hours till the lady in charge walked in. those two hours i met some of my sisters students, who study in the same school as the one my sister teaches in. once they woke up and noticed my sister they came running, and in moments i lost tract of my sister amidst hugs and kisses and constant chattering. as we sat there we saw what the children's routine was like, after napping they woke up to a glass of warm milk and biscuits and then after playing a while they got down to their books. they seemed like any normal kid running and playing around but it is their smiles that set them apart from any other kid, because they were the brightest and the happiest. what i heard about their backgrounds later, left me stunned, aghast and totally overwhelmed.

yes i got the job, and thankfully i will be teaching in their different branch which is situated in a better locality and it was just the thing i wanted. but when i walked out of the NGO office, what the lady in charge had to say, rang in my ears. most of the children of were brought up in the NGO was rescued from their homes in the locality, their mothers were prostitutes, most were alcoholics and subjected their children to abuse both verbal, physical and sexual. if you are shuddering already dont, more to come. i met this girl whom i so liked, her name was kajal. kajal was the eldest of the three kids,age 10 she was a surrogate mother to her younger siblings, while her mother was with clients locked up in their house she used to baby sit her siblings and was often subjected to molestation by her mothers clients and people from the locality. there was this guy, Rakesh whose mother woke up at 11 and barely managed to get him ready or get him food, and abused him badly both physically and sexually until he was rescued and incidentally he comes first in his form. Little akash aged 6 has a broken arm because of his drunken mother; all their children had one thing in common, the identity of their fathers is not known.


so much happening in their lives, so many scars that has almost taken away their innocence; but then how do they smile, how do they try harder and harder each time to be a better human being? how people like us scorn such women and their bastard children but then there are people among us who step in front and give a helping hand. what i simply loved was there were many, relatively young people who work for and towards these children, and they do so without any restraints. and these children having got a glimmer of hope in the dark alleys and glitter curtains, smell of stale sex and alcohol; they try and bring themselves up and help those who help them be a better human being. despite seeing their mothers being decked up each evening for a new man, a new client, someone who is not their father, mothers who hardly act like one instead sell themselves to sustain to survive; these children haven't lost their smiles or the hope that they too can lead a life like any other children. the optimism and the will to survive made me feel so humble and yet so ungrateful, i remembered just how i crib for the tough life i lead, studies, students, admissions, college, job etc etc but this time i knew how futile and silly my problems are, that their are greater issues in life, just because they are camourflaged in the darkest corner of the society doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

another thing that really struck me was, while we were lost and trying to find our way, my sister called out to this lady "Didi can you please direct me to Night Light?" the lady looked up startled at being addressed "Didi", she was a prostitute getting ready for the evening, she didnt react to it but the smile she gave my sister was one that was grateful and full of respect. why do we forget that these ladies are women too. why do we forget that these women are at times under compulsion to self themselves to strangers each night year after year?? why do we use the word "prostitute" as a slur to abuse someone we dislike? aren't they humans too? who gave us the right to judge them and categorize them as fallen women, and as an outcast?

As we walked out of the dingy lane, retracing our steps from where we had entered almost 3 hours earlier, we saw a bevy of beautiful ladies, young and really pretty, giggling away trying to prepare themselves for the evening, while the so called 'dignified' and 'refined' ladies walked by giving them dirty glances and the men caste their lustful eyes, eyeing them in the sleaziest way; i turned away and started walking ahead, tears brimmed my eyes and i silently brushed them aside. in the brightness of the so called civilized society exist at its core, a dark dark world, in the din of laughter and cheerful banter, agonized moans and heart wrenching cries are muted, muted by circumstances, by compulsion, by need and survival.

45 comments:

яノςんム said...

congos for the job foremost.

and regarding the heart felt story u have told me, i know it is a regular thing for children like them. they are used to it and their parents -mothers are like tht only. though i havent seen such a woman in person, but i can make out their condition.

but i congratulate the lady running tht NGO fo the upliftment of those children, thy deserve it and need it really...

ANWESA said...

congrats 4 d job!it was indeed a thotful remark-y do we forget that these ladies are women too?yes,we do;coz we fail to notice their dire helplessness.i'm quite happy 2 kno dat my lil' frnd here has grown up..

Phoenix said...

@richa
the lady is remarkable.. the children not only fear her because she is a strict disciplinarian but also love her to bits... her work in this field is phenomenal.. she runs 5 NGO's in all and all for different purposes... :)

Phoenix said...

@anwesa

thank you thank you dadi umma.. :) you sound old and haggard!!lol!

vanilla sky said...

Congrats !! On your job :)
The first hand account of yours was really nice and here's wishing all the good luck in the job of making difference in their lives :)

yamini meduri said...

Congratulations for the job first..!!

i am glad that you are now a part of NGO too.!!!

as the founder and vice president of an NGO, i had seen many sad stories too..but the ones that you wrote here is new to me...!!!

dear, please be with them...they just dont need a teacher..they are need of the love of a mother, the care of a father, the strength of a sibling, the warmth of a friend...and i know you are the best person who can give them all...!!!

All the very best...!!!

Phoenix said...

@vanilla sky
thanks a ton!! :)

Phoenix said...

@yams

beautiful words those were... i hope i can do justice... :)

the pink orchid said...

i am so proud of you !! a big hug.. and i was fooled by your 'leaving blogger' joke.. :)

and you have no clue how delighted i am seeing you post here.. :)

americanising desi said...

did i tell you i love you :)
please dont go :D
ever!
not even if you are kidding!

americanising desi said...

did i tell you i love you :)
please dont go :D
ever!
not even if you are kidding!

Phoenix said...

@kajl

*hugs*

thank you soo much.. i was really touched... honestly.. id dint think i was this important.. :)

Phoenix said...

@ americanising desi...

i love you too :)

i just realized that i have some more good friends.... :) and im grateful!

Arnab Majumdar said...

That was beautifully written. It's really sad how we outcast these women, and sometimes even their kids, when all they need really, is just a bit of kindness to survive this cruel world.

I remember talking to a group of urchins once, having nothing better to do. They were begging, and I didn't have anything for them that time, being broke to the extent that I literally didn't have even a single coin. All I had was a camera, and the kids were really excited to have their photos clicked. Someone had told me before that all they needed was just a kind word to make their day, and I realised that it was actually true. In the end, although I didn't know any of those kids' names, it was a great feeling to interact with them... gave a strange feeling of satisfaction that day, somehow...

Keep doing the great work, that's what the world needs. Cheers...

Dhanya said...

Raka, I is so sooo proud of you! Well done. Accepting the job shows how broad minded and kind you are.

Priya Joyce said...

good work re...

the whole post about and most of it about how much those children have faced..ahh!!

we have so so much yet I don't think we all mite be as happy as they are.

It truly shows money is not the only source for happiness. It infact isn't a source even.

Jinxed Pixie said...

tis is not fair...
humph
and all this while i thought that you were leaving..
humph humph

Keshi said...

CONGRATTZ yeyyyyyy! :)

btw Im so glad I didnt read ur April-1st post! OMG I'd hv cried.


*HUGZ*

Keshi.

M said...

Congrats on getting that noble job!
Great post...I think it was one of your best till now!

MultiMenon said...

Congratulations for the jobb..now does tht mean u ain't applying for MASCOM anymore?? :(

I was one of those who read ur JOKE and got myself DRUNK in agony,anguish and what not?? :(

Take care dearie.. :)

Hugzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Nikhil

ki said...

Thank God you're not actually quitting blogger!!! I was worried!!!

Congrats about the job!

And Raka, I spent all morning cribbing about a pair of shoes that I want and how I hate studying but reading this post made me put my life in perspective and really count my blessings. Thank you. :)

Ria said...

congrats gurl!so happy for u....and i knew u were joking coz u can never stay away from something tht u r so passionate abt.Isnt it!? And u r truly a noble soul babe.

Dream'R said...

We dont know one another except through our blogs but u have no idea how proud i am of u right now...and this i mean...Respect is one of the hardest things to garner - u have mine hands down. I m sure u ll be awesome at the job but just be careful ok.

Unbelievably good post. I personally liked it immensely. More than many others..

cheers raka,

luv
amith

Chriz said...

how was the frog?

and such a nice experience with such a group.. you would learn a whole lot of good too..

congos for the job..

Phoenix said...

@everyone

before i address all of you personally.. id like to tell you how happy and proud you just made me feel,frankly to have such a beautiful set of friends who revel in my happiness and constantly encourage me... is nothing sort of a boon... :)to be love so.. seriously.. i dont want this to sound like an award winning speech but if im honest i was rather apprehensive of the way my post would be received.. and im glad it has been received so well.. thank you all

Phoenix said...

@arnab

i so understand what you expressed.. i myself felt at a loss.. there was so much i wanted to give or do but i didnt have anything on me.. but the fact that i smiled and played with those kids really seem to make their day...

Phoenix said...

@dhanya

thank you.. :) its not about being broadminded but doing something i believe in.. its sad to see how helping such people out seems like a huge deal but it is not.. no personal offense just stating a fact.. :) dont get me wrong..

Phoenix said...

@PJ
i wont lie i look at the job as a source of extra pocket money but i guess i have to rethink it..because now it will be something i like doing as well :)

Phoenix said...

@punya

hehehe so sorry kiddo that was another of my silly pranks... :)

Phoenix said...

@keshi
aww :)

*hugs* i can never leave you and go away keshi.. never ever...

Phoenix said...

@M

thanks a ton M! id really love to know you through your blog..seems like i cant.. anyway thanks for the valued comment!

Phoenix said...

@nikhil

MASCOM is full on!! i have sent the applications too.. but then if i dont get there and im forced to pursue my education here in Kolkata and in my college then i will surely continue to render my services with this NGO... so as long as im here.. im working here..

Luscious Sealed Lips said...

I Love the moments we come close to a life we have never bothered to come close to imagining as well. They are over whelming.

Take a hug. I hope you gel along well with the kids. :)

Kisses.

Phoenix said...

@ki

hey dont worry.. me going no where.. i hope not literally.. at least not from blogger...

nothing wrong in what you experienced in the morning.. we are all like this.. but then there is always another way of looking at things.. :) and im glad u and me we both have realized that

Phoenix said...

@ria

yea absolutely.. whether i suck at writing or not.. im here to stay because i love my blog a bit too much...

Phoenix said...

@amith

really your words meant so much more than i can express .. i really have no words to say just how much the appreciation encouraged me...

thank you.. :)

Phoenix said...

@chris
aa frog... er wel.. it wasnt as good as i thought it to be.. :)

Phoenix said...

@luscious lips

*hugs*

mwuaah mwuaah!!!

:D

Amrita~Ams said...

oye
congrates
luv u..
n ur display pic is rocking..:D

pisku said...

Touching.
Indeed there are somethings that we just continue to ignore but its different when ur affronted with it.
I'm sure u'll have a lovely time with the kids too, just like ur sister!

Pallav said...

Thats so true n touching..

Con-gra-tu-la-tion !!!!

May God bless uu..

I just wanna say please be with them...
they need a lady like uu...
i sometime too feel nobody wants to come in ths proffession by thier own wish.. its sometime curcumsatnces forced them to choose this..

its so unfortunate...
offcourse they are human like us...
n i feel bad wen somebody bad mouths abt them.

Wud like to wish u luck... n May God Bless U

Phoenix said...

@amrita

thanks pal

love you too

and dp pic.. well thanks again.. btw i simply hated myself staring at me all the time.. so changed it! :P

Phoenix said...

@piscu

my sister is great... she teaches a whole class of kids of which a handful are mentaly handicapped children.. so she is phenomenal in her work... i cant be half as good as her..!!

Phoenix said...

@pallav

thanks a ton yaar! im really grateful that i know people like all of you who care as much and think in a positive direction.. not all are like you..sadly:(

Siladitya said...

really good blog.
Poetry