I became part of Ashiana in April 2002 when I was just nine years old. I remember I wasn’t quite sure about staying here because it was a new place – unfamiliar faces surrounded me and I was away from home. But with time, the people seemed familiar and this place became ‘my home’ – A home, which not only provided me with the basic necessities of life but also gave me care, love and the best educational facilities which a normal child would need. There were times when I was given extra care and resources required for my studies. The bond of love and care that I shared with all the bhaiyas, bhabhis, uncles and aunties is something that I will cherish my whole life. I would like to express my gratitude to so many people. During my initial days in Hansraj Public School, I struggled a lot. Khullar aunty helped me get through that period of self-doubt. She would talk to my school teachers and help me in getting necessary support. Later, when I opted for medical stream in 10+1, I had huge support from Vibha aunty and Chander Mohan uncle. I remember they would check every test that I took at tuition classes and discuss in detail how I lost even one mark. When I could not get through the entrance examination for medical colleges, they were there to tell me to not to give up. Maj Gen I J S Dhillon who is lovingly known as ‘General uncle’ among children, helped me financially during my undergraduate and post graduate studies. While I was getting everything I needed for my education, he would offer to give me a laptop or a tablet or a book or anything else that might be of some help to me. There are many more people who have been a part of my journey In Ashiana and it is not that only one person helped me at one particular time. Everybody supported me and helped me. I guess not even a thousand words would be sufficient to express my gratitude to these people. They have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love, compassion and kindness. While I am grateful to all the people associated with Ashiana but Vibha aunty will always have a special place in my life. She has taught me some of the most important lessons of life. Earlier, I used to wonder why would she want me to do one particular thing but as I look at those moments now, I understand the reason and the lessons behind. In order to truly describe what she means to me and other children, I would like to refer to an incident from Lord Krishna’s life. When Krishna had to return to Mathura, Yashoda Ma and Nanda Baba were very upset. Lord Krishna assured them that no matter who his biological parents are, this world will always call me their son. Well, that’s what Vibha Aunty is and will always be for me.
I will forever be grateful to all these people and would never be able to repay them. I hope and pray to the Almighty that maybe someday I’ll make them all proud. And most importantly, irrespective of where I’m located in this world, Ashiana will always be ‘my home’.
(Ms Anjali Ghai stayed in Ashiana. After completing her M Sc from Panjab University she is now pursuing her PhD through DRDO)