MIDWAY : Star for a mother

Shubekchya Sharma

I feel blessed to have come across these cute little friends of mine. The innocence that radiates in their eyes outshines a diamond’s sparkle. It would be unfair to say that they have a million dollar smile when their smile is actually priceless. Yet, they are as ordinary as any other children who like to have fun, blow spit bubbles and pull at each other’s hair! But at closer inspection, you will find that there is something lacking in their childhood. Something, which may or may not affect them throughout their lives. Because they are children whose parents have been snatched away by fate.

They do not have a mother to “kiss and heal” their wou-nds, neither do they have a father to tend to the kids. And surprisingly, they don’t cry when they are bruised. Life’s tortuous ways have made them resilient, if not stronger. They have learnt to do things for themselves. They eat with their little hands, do the dishes, wash their clothes and so on. Nevertheless, they are content to share their happiness and sorrow with the other children in the orphanage.

Gita is perhaps the most outspoken among them. “I don’t want people to be sympathetic because we are orphans. All we need is a bit of empathy”, she says. I wonder why God chose to be so cruel to such wonderful beings. Isn’t it the right of every child to have parents?

It has been almost a year since I have been conducting art sessions in the orphanage. Working with the children has moulded my attitude towards life and the world in general. The more I interact with them, the more I dream of achieving a life of greater peace and happiness. I have been able to observe the tremendous impact of the absence of parental love on these children. I avoid asking them about their parents. Neither do they ask about mine! I don’t want to hurt them with unnecessary inquiries. It just happens that we enjoy each other’s company without attaching any labels.

Once I assigned them to draw a picture of a person they loved the most. I was surprised when one of them came up to me with a crayon picture of a bright blue star and said, “Subu didi, this is my mother’s picture.” I was deeply moved by her innocence. I could only say, “Wow! Your mother is beautiful.” She smiled and her smile reminded me of the adapted version of our own poet laureate Madhav Prasad Ghimire’s verses: “If they weep, I feel sad; perhaps they remember their mother. There is no happiness when they laugh; perhaps they forgot their mother.”