Yesterday a leading TV channel called asking whether they could film lunchtime at pwhy! This was for a segment in a daily lunchtime programme that highlights the lunch hour in different parts of the city. I guess someone decided that it would be good copy to go and peep at the other side of the fence: the slum kids.
Now at pwhy the only kids who stay the full day are the special ones and they are the ones who have lunch. So I told the young ebullient reporter that we would love to have them come by and share a meal with our special bacchas! Though we were on talking on the phone, I could sense the moment of hesitation and ensuing awkwardness. I could imagine the million unformulated questions that were crowding his mind as sadly one knows what images the word special or disabled or even handicapped - however politically incorrect - conjure in people's mind. But I was not the one to give up.
After a mumbled I will get back to you the phone went dead. Shamika who is a very possessive mother figure to her brood of 20, was up in arms but I held on and redialled the number as I remembered that Saturday was cooking day at the special section and delectable aloo paranthas were on the menu. I also told the reporter that these children were just like other kids and though they may not have the same way of communicating as us, they were totally able to express their feelings. Less than a month back they had hosted a group of special children from France and shared a great meal with them!
There was another I need to check with my producer and will get back to you but blissfully some time later a confirmation call came and our bacchas will hopefully be part of that programme.