Thursday, July 17th, 2014
What would you have done if you were to face a tricky situation, seeing a hapless girl crying for help in the public, especially beyond the dusk? Would you have waited for the next person to pitch in…or for the Messiah to drop from the ‘heavens’ to bail the suffering one out of her misery? A true heart that beats incessantly for Him would never fail to follow the conscious call, ‘My Life Is His Message”. An inspiring story from Sri Jullie Chaudhuri, from the Sri Sathya Sai Newsletter, Pune, July 2013.
It had been quite a busy Wednesday. In the evening, I had to step out for some domestic purchases. As I strolled down the road towards the shops in the Dais plot area, I passed an elderly lady and a young girl. Something made me look back at them and I saw the girl was crying. I stopped to ask if everything was alright, then, moved on, thinking it was a personal matter, and they could sort it out. However, the old lady stopped me and said that the girl had left her home and was wandering around aimlessly. Having encountered a bit of a threat from a rickshaw driver, she was frightened and hence the tears.
It was around 2030 hrs. My mind started ticking. How could we leave this defenseless 13-year-old to roam the streets at night like this? After speaking to two of my nieces, I got the number of a lawyer who helps with women’s issues, as well as Sindhutai Sapkal’s number. The courageous life of Sindhutai, known as ‘Mother of orphans’, who had lived the life of a beggar after being thrown out by her husband when she was nine months pregnant, has inspired millions. The lawyer did not answer my call, but Sindhutai’s daughter did. She said the normal procedure to take a child into their home for destitute children was through a police complaint. I told her that I was rushing to the nearest Police Station and would call her from there.
I felt that this would be the safest place for this young girl. In the crowded hutment area, as I was making my calls, I lost sight of this girl. Appealing to Bhagawan to guide my steps, I searched for her. I met Meena, the lady who cooks at my brother’s place. Without batting an eyelid she offered to assist and sort things out. I prayed deep to Bhagawan to help me find this girl in that overcrowded milieu. Finally, I spotted her at one of the shops. We approached and started questioning her to find out more about her. Some more good samaritans gathered…all giving varied ideas. Meena took charge, asking me to carry on home as I had to check on my mother. She assured me that she would call.
No sooner had I reached home than she called to say that we should take the girl to the police station as her stories kept changing. We agreed it was not safe for her on the streets nor was it right for us to keep her in our respective homes without proper investigation. Meena fed this girl some dinner and met me at Maharshinagar Police Chowki.
It was now 10 pm. The ASI in charge said firmly that they would send her to the government owned home or ashram and not to a private one. Even so, I made the ASI speak to Mamatatai Sapkal, who then assured me that this was the right thing to do.
The cops started their questioning and this 13-year-old child kept making up stories – her parents were dead, her uncle had threatened her and did not want her, she was from Ahmadpur, she could not say which area, she insisted she had lived alone in that village, etc. We spent two hours questioning her. I was not happy with the idea of her being placed in the remand home. While leaving for the Police Station, after having prayed for guidance from Bhagawan, I had hurriedly grabbed a book and a packet of vibhuti for this girl. Since she was being taken to the govt. ashram, I put this book and vibhuti packet in her hands and mentally said to Bhagawan – You sent this child my way, I now surrender her to You…I place her back in Your care! I assured her that Sai Baba would look after her.
A little after this, the Inspector who was writing the complaint, looked up and asked her whether she wanted to go home or to this ashram. She said she preferred the ashram as she had nobody. The police knew she was not being truthful. They deliberately raised their voices letting her know that the consequences may not be favourable if she did not speak the truth. Life at these homes was very hard. Thinking that she was in for a beating, she broke down and spoke about her parents, her sister, where her father was employed, that they lived in Chandan Nagar, she had left home at 4 pm, etc. Her father was a driver for a person who owned a lot of trucks. This person was known to the police personnel. They called up the employer for details. Meanwhile, this girl blurted out her mother’s mobile number, who was then traced and asked to report to the police station in her area. I called her and let her know that her daughter was safe. Following protocol and procedure, we all were escorted across town to a police chowki in Chandan Nagar.
It was a little after midnight. Needless to say the distraught mother was overwhelmed to be reunited with her daughter, who had left after a somewhat harsh scolding from her. Residents of the entire Tulja Bhavani basti had come there to receive their child. We spoke to them and asked them not to be rough on her for her impulsive blunder for no one was above board. There are lessons in life to be learned by each one of us whatever the age. We must accept this implicitly in all humility and love. As we got into the police jeep, I looked back at this child, she was clutching on to the vibhuti packet and the book on Bhagawan, His face radiantly glowing on the cover page! The moment this book, by way of His grace had been placed in her hands, the tide had turned in her favour, though she had been resisting, as yet innocent and ignorant of the ways of the world and the horror that homeless girls face on the streets.
We reached home after 1.30 am. I thanked Meena for her spontaneous initiative for taking up this cause. She was to take her own daughter to the doctor when she got sidetracked into this episode. Gorakh, the plumber cum handyman of the society where I stay had also reached the police station to offer his assistance and had stayed till this reunion had taken place. All had forgotten about dinner. These were humble people with a lot of goodness, compassion, courage and a golden heart.
None of us wanted to leave that 13 year old at the mercy of a dark night on the street or some unknown place. Prayers were for guidance…a desire for a peaceful solution ultimately for the highest good of all…which could be wrought only by the benediction of our omniscient Lord…the prayers of a distressed mother as well as our prayers reached Him and He proved our conviction to be totally true!
Wholesome gratitude at the Lotus Feet of our Beloved Lord! The light of surrender overcomes any and every dark dilemma however persistent…for the response of the Lord is as instantaneous as the intensity of prayer from an anguished soul.
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