NAINA…..Our Failure Or Our Hope?
When we walked into the shelter yesterday, we were greeted by the shy, embarrassed smile of 9 year old Adi, & a shifty, condescending leer from 11 year old Bhola, younger siblings of Naina, our ‘star queen’! Naina had come in only to bathe.
To explain I’ll go back a couple of weeks, which is when Naina started absenting herself from the shelter. She did not mind foregoing her daily wage, her bathe, her lunch, the cocooned safety of the shelter, to again lay her self open to the vagaries of an uncertain future on the streets, all in the name of ‘love’! Naina was in love with Monty, an auto-rickshaw driver! No amount of counseling, cajoling or scolding worked. Reluctantly, regretfully, Naina was informed she was no longer a trainee with us. She could still come in to bathe or get herself a meal. We even offered her alternate employment to help our teachers with outreach. There was no response.
I still remember the Naina who had walked into our lives in jeans, gaudy multi-stripped shirt and the disdainful attitude of a thousand, strutting peacocks writ large on her face, at the SS inaugural meeting, averring, “Mein sab bachon ke leader hoon. Mujse baat karo”. Almost everyone’s jaws had dropped!!
Yesterday’s casual entry brings to mind Mark Twain’s saying “A hundred fly bites, cannot keep down a spirited horse”. I sincerely hope Naina does not have to endure those hundred fly bites, I pray each night for her safety, physical and emotional. Because Naina is not only our most ‘spirited horse’, a natural leader, a go getter, she is first and foremost our child, whom we have loved and nurtured for over a year.
I have faith and I believe, sooner or later, Naina will be back.