Friday, July 18, 2008

Pushpa


I will write about Pushpa first because she is one of the first stories I learned about.  Pushpa was eight at the time of this photo.  Her name means "flower" in Hindi.  From what we can gather from her, her father used to have her dance on the streets to make a living. A few years ago, her father remarried, and her stepmother sold her to a sixty-something year old man for "marriage".  Pushpa says it was her stepmother who sold her, but who knows which parent actually decided what.  She was sexually abused by this man, and so she ran away and lived at a train station for some time before being discovered by a teacher who brought her to the Home.   arrived.  

We arrived at The Home just a week after Pushpa did. When we met Pushpa, she was having a very difficult time adjusting to the home.  Not only had she been through such traumatizing events, she spoke a different language from the other children which made it hard for her to make friends.  Because she danced on the streets during her childhood, she missed out on a substantial amount of education and was put in classes with the youngest children who were just learning their ABC's.  So, Pushpa being very sad and lonely when we met her, became one of the first chidren we connected with. We quickly showered with the eight years of love and attention that she had missed out on.

My favorite thing about Pushpa was that she had this very adult way of speaking -- she sometimes reminded me of a wise grandmother.  There was one day when I was sitting with her and all the boys in the home ran into us and were being really rowdy and she made this "tsk" noise, turned to me with this disdainful look on her face, and shook her head and muttered "boys..." 

A few months ago I was sad to find out that Pushpa was having such a hard time with her studies that she had decided to give up on an education and was trying to learn how to do embroidery and stitching instead.  The last time I called the Aarti home, I was shocked to find out that Pushpa had been taken out of the home by her brother, and it is unclear where she is now or what she is doing.  I can only hope that her brother's character is more upstanding than her father's , and that she will be able to learn a vocational skill that will enable her to make a living and support herself, instead of falling back into the position of being owned and controlled by the men around her.  

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