We have everything we want from life, we now want to reach out to others. Surprising words in a time when everyone is talking depression, recession and dark times. And even more surprising when you learn that they come from a young couple, with two young children living in the heart of Europe. But Kajal and Olivier are no ordinary people. They are one of a kind.
Let me simply tell you how they came into pwhy's life.
About two weeks back these two souls landed in our world unexpectedly. They had got our address from the website and found their way to our computer centre. From there they were guided to our office. It took us a long tine to fathom what they really wanted as their request was rather unusual. Normally people do drop by and want to extend their help and often do so by writing a cheque or handing us an envelope, after a quick and fleeting visit of our different centres, spending at best half a day with us. But that was not what K and O wanted. Their plans were quite different.
We sat for along time talking and slowly it emerged that for K and O, this visit had far deeper meaning then the usual visit to a local NGO that is often on the menu of travelers. Their visit was to say the least a mission. K is from Mauritius, the land of my ancestors, and though she was born in Europe, she felt the need to come and reconnect with the land where her roots lay. I knew exactly what she felt as I found myself going back in time to the day where I stood looking at the village my own ancestors came from and whispering to myself: I have a debt to pay. I guess K felt the same way and O followed her dream.
They shared their idea: to make a film and thus garner funds for us. We were again in for a surprise. Many have made films about pwhy. Most have been shot in the span of a day or two. But this was not want these two incredible beings wanted. They had other plans. The next day they moved from a centrally located hotel to a guest house close to pwhy and set to task. After visiting all our centres they made a detailed script and started the shoot. It took over 12 days to complete as they imbibed the spirit of each centre and carefully and gently turned it into images.
It was not an easy task, as both K and O filmed with their hearts. On the second or third day, after they had visited the home of some of the children, K and O called us and said they needed to talk. It was a heart wrenching moment as they sat with moist eyes trying to share the pain and sense of the abject helplessness they felt. I talked to them for a long time, sharing my own journey and telling them how I too had felt powerless and vulnerable when I had begun, and how I had processed all that I faced and turned it slowly and painstakingly into what today was pwhy. I tried to tell them how what they were doing was huge and would truly make a difference. I tried to show them that change and transformation happened one life at a time, one day at a time and that there were no miracles or quick fixes. One had to walk the road less traveled, and often do it alone.
My heart went out to this young couple who had left their young children in the care of another and traveled thousands of miles to bring hope and smiles in the lives of children they did not know. I was gratified to see that they both understood what I was trying to convey. The filming was resumed and completed. Along the way K and O made many little friends and were touched by the plight of many be it little Nanhe and his incredible smile, Preeti and her indomitable spirit or spunky Meher. And if classes were diligently filmed and interviews canned, I know it is the smile of these little kids that K and O will take back in their hearts and remember for a long time.