Last week I introduced you to Vaishaki and her sister Pallavi. I told you that they lived in the house of another woman from West Bengal. After the girls had joined our school, this woman, too, brought her son to our school to admit him here. His name is Sudeep and he is 12 years old.
Sudeep’s parents both are in the same business as their tenants: they, too, do kirtan in temples and Ashrams in the surrounding. While Sudeep’s mother has a fixed employment earning 20 US-Dollar per month, her husband only gets the opportunity to earn money from time to time. So they never know exactly how much money they have in a month – and that’s why they are renting out one of their two rooms.
For a year now, they have been living in this house. They bought it with some savings and loans from relatives which they have not yet paid back.
When we ask Sudeep whether he has some friends in school or in the neighbourhood, he tell us no, his mother had forbidden him to make friends. Surprised, we look at her and get an explanation: “He will want to visit his friends at home and we don’t know what people they are!” So they deny their son to have social contacts outside of school and outside their home so that he doesn’t get in wrong company. This is a simple mind’s solution. They don’t understand how important social contacts will be for his complete life!
Although his mother and father don’t like it very much, Sudeep often takes out his father’s bicycle and rides it around the home, sometimes even further until the area where other children of our school live. You cannot keep a child from making friends!
These people seem to be very religious. Their work is in temples and when the yearly school exams started, Sudeep’s mother came to school with a small deity, a statue of the Hindu God Krishna, so that Sudeep could once more ask for blessings for the exam.
In spite of having worked hard for God by singing and praising him for years however, this family’s situation has not improved much. They still don’t earn enough to put plaster on their home, the water cooler in their room is broken, replaced by a very tiny fan. And every year the river Goddess Yamuna floods their garden and home. Maybe they are still hoping for God’s grace to finally shine on them.
While God does not seem very helpful, we are trying our best to support Sudeep and his future. He is now in the second class of our school and a good student. Teachers are happy with the fact that he is calm and listens well.