Asmita, the child who lived
Mumbai Smiles, truly transforms futures. Through our projects every day, there are lives created and recreated. One such story is that of Asmita. Asmita, 3 year old, is the biological daughter of Ravindra Gaikwad. She used to live with her family in Kanjurmarg area near Vikhroli. Her father occasionally worked as a laborer at the construction site, and her mother was a housewife. Such has been the fury of fate that she didn’t receive love and nourishment at an age that forms the foundation of one’s future years. In her case, her early years that are meant to enjoy and receive love from people around were replaced by a life of despair and remorse since her parents abandoned her and her siblings died early enough to begin taking care of her.
Her father was a regular drinker and seldom used to work. The family was finding it hard to make both ends meet and the entire survival of the family seemed a remote possibility. The family environment was also not healthy. Both the husband and wife were constantly bickering and even went to the extent of physical assault. The father also physically assaulted his children. The house was very small to accommodate all the members. There were hardly any utensils in the kitchen to cook food. It was a house full of dirt and foul smell and hardly anyone used to clean the house.
“The night is darkest before the dawn” and with Asmita too, the story was no different. Mina Shankhar Bharshankar lived right opposite to Asmita’s house. She was very fond of kids and used to call them every day at her home. One unfortunate night, Ravindra and his wife eloped, leaving Asmita behind. The next morning, Asmita woke up only to realize that her parents were no longer there for her. The agony of separation from her mother made her cry rivers. She wandered, cried and then finally took peace in Mina’s arms. Mina herself has a daughter and son, both of whom work. Knowing her situation and seeing Asmita’s plight, Mina finally decided to take up Asmita’s responsibility. The Balwadi team came to know about Asmita’s story through the discrepancies on her admission forms. The Field Coordinator for Balwadi no 21, Mr. Mahendra inquired about it to the concerned teacher and they finally discovered the entire matter. During their home visit in the following week the Field coordinator and the teachers spoke to Mina and encouraged her to share her concerns about Asmita with them without any hesitations.
Currently, Mina is guardian of Asmita and is taking care of her. Asmita is also enrolled in our Balwadi program and has started making new friends at Balwadis. From a life of despair and sorrow, she has finally moved on and found a reason to live.