As we welcomed July, there was a wave of excitement and renewed vigor in the office. First off, we were re-opening for the new session after the summer holidays and secondly because our dear friend and supporter Ravi Kantamsetty had agreed to visit us in Dehradun all the way from Dallas, Texas.
Ravi Kantamsetty is the Founder and President of AshaJyothi USA, an organization that works for the cause of underprivileged children in India. Believe it or not, he found us on Facebook. We connected; he learnt about our work, we learnt about his. Since that fateful day two years ago, Ravi has been our die hard supporter, a friend and a guide. Thanks to Ravi & AshaJyothi USA 80 + street & slum children are studying in mainstream schools, 550 children have received immunization, meals sponsored and now AshaJyothi USA is the 1st to support our new mobile school project. He likes to call himself a ‘Volunteer’ of Aasraa in the United States; we all know he is so much more.
As the visit day got closer, we prepared ourselves with gusto and full ‘josh’. The children busied themselves in preparing songs and artwork for ‘Ravi Uncle’. We excitedly made exhaustive plans, so he could meet all the children that we work with across our learning centers. Mails were exchanged and numerous phone calls were made. We were counting days and the excitement was growing.
Then the unexpected happened- The gods took over our plans!
Ravi’s two days visit got shortened to one due to a last minute change in the airline schedule. No worries, we crunched our plan in one day. Then the rain gods decided to play villain. His flight was sent back to Delhi because of a thunderstorm. With a heavy heart, we advised him not to travel by road. It felt like the trip had been cancelled. We had never met in person and it seemed like it wouldn’t be possible this time around either.
Of course, this is what we thought. We were still to learn about the spirit and determination of Ravi. An excited phone call awaited the team on Monday morning. Ravi had driven all night from Delhi in the pouring rain to meet us! The love of the children had compelled Ravi to visit us against all odds…
In walked Ravi, on a dull rainy morning like a bright ray of sunshine. Like a true advertiser of our cause, he wore a branded Aasraa cap, we envied him. He met our children, heard our stories, learned about our challenges, sang and danced with the tiny tots and made us all beam with happiness. He sacrificed sleep, battled jet lag and many other obstacles to be with us. What do you call someone who braves all roadblocks, is truly a motivated foot soldier, loves children and will go to lengths to see their smiling faces? A Hero.
Yes, Ravi Kantamsetty, you are our hero.