Meet Sameeksha, from Kalpa. She’s three yr old. We call her Simi, and she calls me Mamu. Simi is so dear to her parents that her Mom and Dad have told me so many stories about how she’s so important for them including the fact that they had planned her name which is a combination of the Mom and Dad’s name, if the baby turns out to be a girl which they really wanted, and that her birth date being 14th Feb is God’s gift to them.
So Monday is her first day at school and we both have been running through alphabets and numbers for past few days, and she seems to be more than ready to start this journey we call schooling. She loves her yellow-pink bag which has a one eyed fish and tells me different stories about where the second eye went. She almost eats a page from her shiny new books when she sees a picture of a fruit against some alphabet. Heck, she also makes me eat those imaginary fruits! 😀 She’s so shy of getting photographed but loves seeing the photos I capture, so much that she tells me “Mamu ye to doggies hain. Ye wala photo achcha hai. Mamu ab moon ki photo dikhao. ab pahaad dikhao. ab baraf dikhao…” and gets this huge smile when she sees her own photos.
As my time to move out of Kalpa was approaching, I wanted to gift her something. The dinner conversations with the family, the hardships of life in the remote mountains I’ve seen, did help me deciding what it’d be. And her parents, after some convincing, have been generous enough to allow me to do this. So I’ve taken up all her educational expenses. When I talked to her Dad about it, the first question he asked me – Simi rahegi to hamare paas hi na? I almost cried. Ofcourse she will!
More than for Simi I think I’m doing it for myself. The thought of keeping this promise, year after year might just help me have an even stronger sense of mission in what I do. I might need to cut down on my personal expenses here and there and drop some luxury. Being able to support a kid’s education is surely worth lot more than any of that.
Her Mom – I call her didi – asked me to stay in Kalpa at least till Monday to see her go school. And I’m here till then. Hope to see a day when all of the Indian society stops discriminating against the girl child and a girl’s education becomes equally important just like how it is for Simi’s parents. Love you Simi!