Today I would like to introduce you to Anushka, an eight-year-old girl that is new to our school. After she had applied for coming to our school, we wanted to visit her home but couldn’t find her family in the Ashram which they had given as her address. The people of the Ashram didn’t know where they had moved to and so we only got to go to Anushka’s home ten days ago, when we asked her to show us where she lives.
We enter a big house but instead of going to the front door, Anushka walks straight on towards the stairs that lead to the basement. Her grandfather comes to meet us and halfway down, we see a light-weight bed, a cloth line and daily life items, among which a small girl is being dressed by an elderly lady. The girl is one-and-a-half years old Radhika, Anushka’s sister and the elderly lady is Anushka’s grandmother.
The girls and their father have been in Vrindavan for about one year only. They came a few days after Anushka’s mother died.
For six months, the woman had been ill. She had fallen ill during pregnancy. Doctors diagnosed tuberculosis. She was on medication, got weaker and weaker and nevertheless gave birth to a healthy girl. Two months later however, she died.
Anushka’s father, who had been working as a driver in Gwalior, decided to move to Vrindavan where his parents were living, so that his mother could help him raise his daughters and take care of them while he was at work.
Anushka’s grandparents have been in Vrindavan for the past three years. The grandfather had been working in an Ashram just next door of ours but had broken his leg in May, shortly after admitting his granddaughter in our school. With a broken leg, he could not do his work at that Ashram and was asked to move out.
They were allowed to stay at the home of Anushka’s father’s employers, a popular doctor family of Vrindavan. They have a big room in the basement – but as they themselves don’t have any furniture, they are sleeping on hospital bed, which the doctor brought from his clinic, and have their things spread across the bare floor. As it is quite dark down there, they mostly spend their day half up the stairs.
With the grandfather’s income gone, they are living on approximately 100 US-Dollars which is the salary of Anushka’s father as a driver. With this limited income, they are grateful that they got a place to stay and more than happy that Anushka can come to our school for free!