requiem for Pooja

I thought she would make it... but a few hours after I wrote this, she moved on and left this world. The doctors said she died of pneumonia and malnutrition. Come to think about it Pooja died starved of love. Her mother had abandoned her and her father had no time for her. She died because she intuitively knew that she was a burden to all.

Pooja tiptoed out of this world just like little Sandhya had, leaving many questions begging for answers. One again I guess, death was the kindest gift that the God of lesser children could have granted this unloved child. I wonder what would have been her life in a land where Goddesses are worshiped but little girls are not wanted.

We came to know later that the woman who had 'adopted' Pooja, was not quite the kind woman we thought she was. She sought such kids and then used them in different ways to earn her living. Pooja was lucky that our centre was close to were she lived as she could for a few hours just be a child. I shudder to think what would have awaited her in years to come.

Yet over the years I have leaned to look at life through a wider angle. Had the woman not come into Pooja's life her fate would have been worse. She may have helped her father who panhandles for a living and then fritters his earnings on hooch, drugs or women, or she would have landed in some state run institution where life is dark and abysmal. Pooja could never have aspired to what life normally has in store for girls born on the other side of a fence: a loveless marriage and early motherhood laced with the acceptability that comes from wedlock. At best she may have been sold into a life of abuse. At least for some time she was cared for, just like the proverbial goat being readied for slaughter.

Pooja has left many questions that need answers and yet have none. Her death has brought to the fore the total helplessness that one feels in the wake of such tragedy and makes one wonder what one could have done or could do. Barring the few hours we can give a child in despair, we have little to offer. And yet at times like this one knows that something has to be done.

It is at time like these that the need to set up planet why seems urgent. If it did exist than may Poojas could have found a shelter and protection. If it did exist than maybe we would be able to open our eyes and hearts wider and reach out to those no one wants.