Let me first explain to you the title. The first word is an English word “ashes”, translated as “kharani” in Nepali, the second word is a Nepali word “Aasha”, which means hope, and the third word is also a Nepali word “Ananda”, which means extreme happiness. So this is basically how the pattern of my life has turned out to be.
SEA is what I have always believed to be a Home where hope is given to the children who were born in ashes. I was born in ashes like so many children who have been looked after by SEA. Then, we were given an education which enabled us to take responsibility for our own lives and more if desired. Recently, I graduated with a Bachelor degree from a prestigious college named Christ University. Christ ranks among the best colleges in India. Many people would dream of studying at this university.
Sometimes I wonder: why me among so many street kids? Others could have used this opportunity better than me. They could have studied better. Am I very lucky or was it my destiny? I don’t know. But I know one thing for sure. We have not been sponsored out of abundance. Our sponsors have always struggled to actually finance the children. Yet, despite their own financial problems, they have always made sure that the needs of the SEA Home be fulfilled first. And of course this is not one-off support. This is a lifetime commitment that our sponsors have made. Because of this I am very proud to be a part of SEA and I feel very privileged to have a loving Home and ever-hopeful sponsors.
There were times when I disappointed SEA through my bad behavior and my reckless actions. But SEA has been very kind to me and has never lost hope in me. They have always forgiven me for all the mischief. Many times, because of my carelessness, I have directly impacted the SEA budget but again I have been forgiven. Like a mother forgives her child I have been forgiven and brought back to Home.
Before I turn to the present it was very important for me to have said this because these were the things that actually made me what I am now.
After I graduated I got a job at LIFECELL International private limited. LIFECELL is a bio-tech company. This is the finest stem cell bank in India. Let’s not dig so much into that company. If you are interested in LIFECELL, then please fix an appointment with me so that I could give you a presentation about it. But yes, I am privileged to have got a job in this company. I work there as a customer relationship executive. It sounds fancy but I am basically a salesman. I have been given the challenge of exploring new markets to drive business. This has kept me very busy as I have been trying my best to take up the challenge and turn it into opportunities.
So you guys must be wondering how I work on a day-to-day basis! I actually have to plan my day prior to midnight and send across my working plan, which includes the list of the appointments I fixed for the next day, at which locations and, most importantly, the names of the doctors I’ll be meeting. The following day, I try to do as much as what I had planned the previous day while, at the same time, showing flexibility to be able to accommodate any emergency situation if it arises. I have not been that effective so far in actually accomplishing all of this, but that’s a learning process. I have to travel a lot every day, and please, do not take “a lot” too lightly. But again, thanks to SEA, I have a wonderful scooter. I would not have had this job if SEA had not been willing to buy this scooter for me (of which I will pay back to SEA half of the cost).
The past month was crazy: two major accidents with my scooter, the graduation ceremony, daily reporting to my boss, making new friends, eating good food, joining a gym, joining the Youth Group at church, getting business from strangers, learning guitar, meeting college friends, sleepless dreams, planning concert and drama for church, hair fall, facing my understanding but demanding boss, facing pissed off clients, getting lost in the allies of Bangalore, struggling with bank issues, becoming broke… “GOD HELP ME”, so I prayed more.
I could have written a Novel about my past month….. For me, this was a huge transition, and I believe that everyone will face this. The routines are totally changed, and there is always a sense you are missing or losing something in life. And you also get to realize no one walks with you forever except your parents, or in my case, Helen Mum. These are the ones who are always worried about you. They might not be the pathfinder but they surely are a great path guider.
I have never been so much concerned about my needs because I knew that they would be fulfilled by SEA. Now that I have a job what could be my greatest achievement? I pondered that issue. At first, I thought I will be needing this and that, I needed to do this and that, I wondered how to save money and how to become independent and successful. All sorts of “how to” were popping in my head. Then, I got a call from Mom, telling me the current status of SEA. With a great displeased heart, she told me that SEA would not be able to finance SUMAN and MANOJ anymore.
I asked her whether that could help SUMAN and MANOJ if I made a monthly financial commitment to SEA. She knew very well that it would be going to be small, but she was very happy and I could feel an excitement running through her, and, right at that moment, I felt an immense sense of satisfaction and happiness in me. What was I dreaming about? It was all selfish desire and about self-sufficiency without attention paid to the selflessness that our dear sponsors have shown throughout all those years. Actually, there is an immense joy in fulfilling the dreams of one’s parents.
Come to think of it, if one calls our sponsor “mom” or “dad” like many of us do, then we could try to put ourselves in their shoes and think of what will make them really proud and happy. And there is a trick: while making them happy we can find true happiness. And, in the end, everybody will be happy. I shed tears of joy when I saw Helen mom’s article “25 years later: the law of the harvest” because I was one of the reasons for her happiness and renewed confidence.
I and Shanker used to talk for hours about our future as well as that of SEA. Specifically, we pondered how we could support SEA and ensure that it could continue to live on just like SEA has given us everything we need for securing sustainable life chances. If we had one wish, it would be that all of us make an effort to understand our sponsors who have endeavored for so long to instill in us the spirit of solidarity. Aiding SEA to achieve its goal of offering an education to the most underprivileged will not only show our gratitude to those who have helped us so much but will also make us the happiest and most satisfied persons in the world. As for me, this is how I achieved Ananda (extreme happiness).