Readers of Daily (w)rite, if you’re here, please welcome Anouradha Bakshi, my friend, philosopher and touchstone for more than a decade.
She runs Project WHY, a little non-profit with a large heart, in New Delhi. For this whole week, she’s taking over Daily (w)rite.
Please give her all the love and attention you usually give me, because she merits it far more than I ever will.
Today’s prompt for the Write Tribe Festival of Words is a beautiful word TRUST.
Trust means the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something. The perfect example that comes to my mind is the implicit trust that a baby has for his mother. For the baby, the mother can do no wrong. Trust is pure, unconditional love.
At Project Why we are privileged and I would even say blessed to hold in custody the dreams of so many souls, each somehow trusting that we would be the one to give them wings. Examples abound but there is one gentle soul whose story I would like to share, as she is the perfect example of what trust can mean.
I first met Babli when she was perhaps 6 or 7 year old, though she looked tiny. She must have been in class II. She was extremely quiet and a good student but very soon I realised that all was not well. She oozed confidence and was almost matter of fact, but I could see her bony chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. I asked her gently what was wrong with her and she answered the she needed an operation but that they did not have the money.
Then she looked at me with the most trusting eyes and added I want to be a police!
That was it. The simple beginning of a story where trust was the binding factor: Babli knew she cold trust me with her dreams and I knew there was no going back. There is a God of lesser beings who conjures miracles. What happened next was nothing short of one. I visited her home, met her parents and found out the details of her ailment. She had a hole in her heart that needed to fixed. At that time we were struggling for funds and did not have enough to be able to get her surgery done. I shared her story with some friends and volunteers. In no time the money for her surgery and care was organised and we could schedule her surgery. She behaved like a brave star! Soon she was back on her feet and we hoped she had resumed school. I knew the story was not over as I still had to help her become a ‘police’!
One day I was told that far from going to school Babli was selling tobacco and biscuits from her father’s cart while he played cards! I hit the roof and decided to take matters in my hand. I ensured that Babli went back in school but I knew in my heart that it would be a stop gap arrangement. What we needed was a permanent solution.
It was all a matter of trust, and trust cannot be broken. A series of serendipitous circumstances occurred and a donor wanted to sponsor some kids in boarding school. This was the ideal solution and within a year Babli was on her way to school. The donor backed out some time later, and we are at sixes and sevens to find a way out. We could not let Babli down. Finally. Sabrina, a dear friend and supporter decided to sponsor Babli till the end of her studies!
In April 2019, Babli moves to class XII at the lovely CSKM Boarding School. She knows she can never be a police but wants to be a teacher. Complications from her surgery have given her scoliosis but she does not let this come in the way of her living life to its fullest. I know she will make a wonderful teacher and fulfill the dreams of many.
When I meet Babli she hugs me tightly and looks deep into my eyes and I can still see the little eyes that looked at mine many years ago with so much trust. I hope we at Project Why have been worthy of her trust and of the trust of all the children who come to us with dreams in their eyes!
What does Trust mean to you? Who do you trust? Who has trusted you and how has that made a difference in your life?
Anouradha Bakshi is the descendant of an indentured labour and a freedom fighter, and the daughter of a senior diplomat. She travelled the world before settling in India.
A professor in French, an interpreter and a conference organiser, she found her true calling when she set up Project WHY in the year 2000.
She is a wife, and a mother not only to her two girls, but also to the scores of children whose dreams she holds in custody.
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