A sweet voice starts the conversation from,” Good day, how are you??” When she is referred to as a person unique from normal folk, with innocence she asks me “Am I the right person??”.
She begins telling me about herself, “I belong to Jamshedpur, when my children were growing up and they grew up a bit then one fine day I found that how illiterate I am about the whole world, they went to a playground nearby and I saw a lot many children, they common yet not very common, they did not behave like normal children, they were not normal yet they were not very abnormal. After I inquired a bit I came to know that they were addicted to drugs, dendrites and what not. Even their parents supported them too. Then I decided that why not change the world a bit, my children would be here and I have to leave my children here and I being a primly dedicated mother to my children, I thought I have to do something”.
Her inspiration being Mother Teresa she recalls,”Mother Teresa was always in my mind. Even as a kid I used to tell my mother that I will not marry and become Mother Teresa. And after proper time we came to Delhi and my parents got me married” and then with a tint of humor she says,” Mother Teresa toh nahin ban payi but I became Mother to these two children”.
Then after a moment’s silence, she says, “But social service wasn’t out of my mind. Then I started bringing children home giving them things, telling them the importance of education but none of them were interested, their attitude talked of something else. It took two years to push them back to school but still, there was no consistency, their parents too were not interested.”
She gets a momentarily sullen face and rejoices as soon as she wants to tell me about how she could actually make it.
“Being from a Bengali background I was always into music.”Then to convince me she says,” You have a master’s degree, even if you don’t have anything to eat in Bengal. Art and music is an intricate part of Bengal’s culture.
I was also into writing dance dramas, and later started composing them and choreographing them too and it all somehow picked up.”
Then maybe remembering something she says,” It was early 2016 Global Theatre Festival in Cuttack, I took these children and a couple of maids and they performed and got a gold medal, and that was wonderful and then they got the taste of the black, then I started getting children, lots and lots of children and I didn’t have place . I thought of a community center but someone told me about this idea of an NGO.Female Aura Institute Towards Hope(FATE) helped us out because I worked with a girl child. The basic idea was to give some time to children and change their mindset. I had never believed in giving money or food or clothes to these poor people because I thought they can earn it, today government provides everything including free education.”
“I began putting positive energy into the children, it’s easier to work with children as their brains are the wet mud which has to be molded and I do believe that if you change this generation the whole coming generation of the world will be cured. If I have to change the world I have to begin with these children and that will be enough.
I always go to slums and government schools. I teach them dance dramas which can give them some useful message. We specialize only in dance dramas and luckily dance dramas too are an intricate part of Indian Culture .”
When asked about her experience in teaching tiny tots, she answers, “ It’s not that they pick up steps easily they truly try to match or what so ever. But they gather the message easily. Suppose I have a dance drama of ‘भिक्षारोपण’ and I give a lecture on ‘भिक्षारोपण’.
I remember Cashless India, the administration had called me asap and they told us that as an NGO we need to help them. I formed a dance drama and called the CM and I went to a nearby slum. And they enjoyed watching it a lot, 5000 people watched it and that very moment they all wanted to be cashless. They understood cashless and it became easier. Music is a language which everyone is comfortable with.”
I ask her about any particular institution or individual who is always at help, She says, “There is no one there to help us out but then we manage(and content brightens her beautiful face).” When asked about the state government’s support she replies, “It’s not that they are always there but we always have some politician or some famous personality so that people get drawn easily.”
She doesn’t hesitate in saying that, “If I have to change the society I have to do all that the society is ok with.”
She says, “ It’s not that I will make slogans or sit at a roundabout and shout slogans .” I steal time to ask her about the decisions she takes for her organization and she answers “People shouldn’t have a say you’re your decision.”
She suggests the interviewer that, “ Whatever you are doing you have to focus and you should know how to get the answer out of it. Even I have been following this.”
And the one million dollar example: “When I have to make the omelet I will not think of the LPG gas, I will go for the oven, if in the worst case there is no electricity, then I will probably go to the market and get an omelet .”
“There is some way around to do it. Just don’t lose focus.”
When asked about the most interesting Ups and downs? She tells. “Beta there are lots and lots of downs. What I have done is I have stopped focusing on the downs because there are 1000’s of downs in a day. But 1% or 2 % of ups is all I care about.” And with this, she just takes away my heart.
When I acknowledge her patience, she admits, “ At times I do become a little impatient .”
And with this, my notepad shuts and I end up smiling, half mesmerized with the aura of this lady and rest with the inspiration she carries in her graceful walk……