sunshine in the dead of night

For the past two weeks Ram Bacchan has been guarding our house as the husband his away and everyone at the project felt that we (Shamika and I) needed to be protected particularly in the wake of a recent spate of murders of senior citizens ( I guess I qualify the appellation) in the vicinity. So they decided to send Ram Bacchan, the night guard of the women centre to our home.

Ram Bacchan is a little man, not more than five six inches feet. He has a sunny disposition and a huge smile. Moreover he is very dedicated and spends the night awake and alert. I sometimes wonder at the wisdom of having night guards, as is the practice in Delhi, as they are often ordinary unarmed men and would be no match to any professional robber or gang. But look around you and almost every home of a certain stature has one of them. Some even have uniforms of all shades and hues as if that alone would deter potential thieves. Anyway I am not one to complain as it provides jobs to many. I guess it is more a comfort factor to know that someone if awake while you sleep. Another idiosyncrasy of the rich I guess.

We normally never have one but as I said earlier my staff felt over protective and I had no option but quietly acquiesce. So Ram Bacchan has been part of the household for the past two weeks. His is another should I say, success story of pwhy. It began two years ago when one of our students at the women centre came to us and told us that they were being thrown out of their home by their landlord as they had not been able to pay the rent for several months, and thus the young girl said she may not be able to come to pwhy. Gita was and is one our brightest student and she and her siblings had been coming to pwhy for quite some time. We decided to find out what happened and asked her to call her mom. It transpired that the father had a good job in a factory but had been ill for some time and hence lost his employment. The meagre resources of the family had gone in his treatment and they had no money to pay the rent. The staff of the women centre was moved by the plight of this simple and brave family, more so because the children were exceptionally bright. They passed the hat around and paid the rent and found a job for the mother while the father lay convalescing.

A few weeks later, when Ram Bacchan was well again, the centre needed a night guard as the place lies empty post 6 pm, so we gave him the job and never regretted it. His pleasant temperament, his willingness to work and his dedication were appreciated by all. And now he is part and parcel of the women centre and project why! His children come to the centre without fail and are excellent students who often top their class. Gita again topped all sections of her school. His wife still works in the home of our coordinator.

A few months ago all seemed lost for this little family. Had help not come they would have had to move out of their home, the children would have dropped out of school and God only knows what would have happened to them. All it took was a little compassion to set things back on track.

In a day or two the husband will be back and Ram Bacchan will move back to his night post at the centre. It has been a pleasure having him. He brought sunshine in the dead of night. We will miss him.