As soon as I reached the child care house run by the nuns of Missionaries of Charity, the first thing Payal uttered on seeing me was ‘Papa’. What’s the first word on an average that a toddler says when she first tries her hand in speech? Mama, Amma, mummy, maa, or other synonyms of mother. But Payal, almost a year old and that too not taught by anyone, calls everyone who comes to see her papa. But she may never, in her lifetime, come to know who her parents are. She was a month or two old when may be her own papa or mumma left her to die in an MC dustbin; unwanted.

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“No, we don’t want any publicity. Our motive is not media attention. We live to serve these children”, sister in charge of Mother Teresa Missionary was adamant and it was a pretty hard time for me to convince her that I want to show the world of these children to rest of the world. On condition of staying anonymous, she opened up to me.

“So, what do you want to know?” she enquired.

“Everything” was my reply.

“How do you come across these children?”

“If you’ve noticed all the children over here aren’t normal. Everyone has some sort of disability. And parents often fail to support them due to their poor financial conditions or they simply abandon them for being disabled. Some people leave them outside our missionary, whereas we found some outside temples and other places. Few we came across near dustbins.”

 “What sort of disability do these children have?”

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“Many of them have scoliosis and some are so dependent on us that they can’t even take turns on their bed. One of the girls has thalassemia, who needs blood every week. One girl is so unstable psychologically that she’s under a psychiatric prescription right now. Every child over here has some or the other problem; mental, physical. None of them is perfectly fine.”  

“Till now has anyone come to you for adopting these children?”

“Yes, once in a while people do come to enquire but we make sure their family background is fine and make surety of child’s life ahead. We avoid single parent or divorcee or widows from adopting these children. Firstly they’re crippled and needs lots of attention and care that it would be difficult for a single person to handle, secondly, life is unpredictable. You never know what may happen to that person in future and the child’s life will be doomed forever.”

 “What about the expenses? How do you manage their treatments, medicines, and other expenditures?”

“We are wholly soulfully relying on donations. Thankfully people have been really generous and kind towards these children and we’ve been getting everything we need. We do get government aid but that doesn’t meet our requirement. To handle and take care of them all requires lots of resource plus, paying all the helpers every month itself require lot of money. We, at our front try our level best to provide them everything in terms of health, hygiene, education (one who is capable of) but no matter how much you put in, it’s always less.”

“Any message to people or government.”

“Government doesn’t allow people to surrender their children to us. There are many schemes and offers that can help people bring up these children but due to corruption and some anonymous reasons it doesn’t reach them and helplessly they abandon their own child. If surrendering kids is wrong, then atleast sarkaar should help them. It’s so cruel to give up children. You’re gifted ones if you have a child and abandoning God’s gift is a grave sin. Pray and the good Lord will definitely send you help to raise them” she concluded.

My heart fluttered looking at all the helpers and nuns running around and taking care of every little thing when their own parents left them. That day I realised that one doesn’t really need family blood to call it a family; love is sufficient.“Didi, ye aapka phone hai?”asked Roshni, the girl with thalassemia.

“Hanji”

“Ek  photo kheenche!”

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Picture Credits: Jincy Chacko

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