Thundering applause, scores of children screaming their lungs out rooting for their chosen ones, as the game of Puchli, reaches its crescendo. Jauga eight years old is squatting down and moving his hips in wild reckless abandon trying to outlast his rivals. Unnati twelve years old finally gives up, she limps up to her friends dejected and falls down mid-way. Jauga rejoices and a runs to his friends to share his delight. I go up and congratulate him, I don’t need Oriya words to express myself or does he needs Hindi to understand me. I just give him thumps up and he responds with a smile so luminous that would put the Happydent White AD to shame. Emotions still transcend linguistic barriers, I am happy to report.
Such scenes of joy were on full display when students of IIMC Dhenkanal, Odisha went to Maharishi Day and Social Society Net, to spend a day with around 150 children between the ages of 5-13 that call this nondescript setting their home. Some stay with their mothers, some away from their mothers, some have never seen their mothers, some not sure if they do have a mother. One couldn’t but help ponder about millions of other kids who aren’t fortunate enough to end up in an orphanage. They often end up on the streets as rag pickers, beggars or worse in brothels, Bodies mutilated, Dreams crushed, Childhoods ruined, Souls and Minds scarred for Life. Does? the nation wants to know.
Soon a drawing competition ensued which the kids took to like duck-to-water.
I stumbled upon a 6-year-old sitting isolated meticulously drawing a hut. When he’s done immaculately giving final touches to his house built with more precision than Mangalyaan, he craftily draws the periphery of his house. There’s two flower pots on each side, a tree in the background, three people on the left-hand side, it’s not a very inspiring drawing, but it’s very easy to conclude what he intends to draw .There’s a father and mother of equal height next to them is a child, it seems like this kid is drawing a family, he goes back filling up the entire drawing with colors, but when he goes to color the three people symbolic of a family. He Stops. He picks up an eraser and rubs it all out. I ask him, what happened didn’t you have enough colour, he doesn’t respond and just runs away, later I find out it was the parents and not the colours he lacked. An Orphan like many others at Maharishi Day and Social Society Net.
I can’t really recollect his name, so I’d make do with the Shakespearean Whats-there-in-a Name symbolism for now .What’s there in a name really, there are a thousand children dying of hunger every day in India, but who cares about them, whether Indrani Mukherjea actually ate two sandwiches or not, is something the nation really wants to know.