“Aai! What are our plans for group activity today?”, chirped little Usha as she rushed in excitedly to hug her ‘Mother’, her Foster Mother!
“Usha, I have some interesting group games for everyone. Let me just finish the pending paper work for adoption of our new baby, Gita”, explained Bharathi calmly.
“We are going to have a new baby to play with!”, screamed little Usha as she ran excitedly towards all the other children at the foster home.
As Bharathi got engaged in completing the adoption formalities, her thoughts mulled over her stormy past. As foster parent to over forty children rescued from brothels, debris and slums; Bharathi was the shining ray of hope for the children’s better future.
Bharathi was born in a shanty slum in Mumbai’s infamous Dharavi and was discarded into a garbage dump immediately after birth. She was the proverbial illegitimate child born out of wedlock to a teenager, who was molested and raped by a gang of notorious bastards. Her gender could not be identified as her genitals were missing at birth.
An NGO headed by Ms. Deepti, rescued the infant from the pile of rotten debris and sheltered her at her own refuge. Initial tests at the refuge centre medical camp revealed that the baby was HIV positive.
Under able foster care, Bharathi gradually grew up to be a fine young individual with no major health complications. She was an intelligent, responsible, compassionate, and hardworking child. Bharathi soon learnt the operations of the NGO and it’s head, Ms. Deepti was pleased with her diligence and efforts.
When Bharathi turned twenty two, Ms. Deepti called her to her office for a serious conversation. “Bharathi, you have been like a daughter to me. I’m not getting younger. Despite your detection with HIV, you have survived and thrived like a real fighter. Besides, you are someone who can care for this place like your own home. Do let me know if you are willing to be the Rainbow of this place I call my home?”, she enquired. Her deeply intense eyes spoke more than what she had just uttered.
Bharathi’s eyes brimmed with tears of ecstasy. She touched Ms. Deepti’s feet with utmost reverence and exclaimed, “I feel blessed that you consider me worthy of shouldering this responsibility! I will strive my best to make this place a Heaven on Earth for these innocent lives.”.
Since then, Bharathi toiled and trained day and night to carve an identity for herself and gaining knowledge on the operations. She also studied law and by the age of thirty, she became India’s first ‘Transgender Legal Advisor’ working for the welfare of abandoned children, transgender welfare, LGBTQ rights and much more.
The infant cry jolted her back from the reverie. As she held the tender life in her caring arms, she sensed that baby Gita was an extension of her own life. Agender, frail and rescued from the mullock!
Her inerrant instincts knew that the next in kin was born…
Aai: Mother in Marathi
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