The sunshine smile...
Image source: Milaap.org
Do you see her smile? It just tore me up to see her smile. She must have been told by the photographer to do that, and she, in all her innocence, would have put her best grin forward. In the hope that she would receive a loan in no time. To pursue her dreams. To bury her pain. To become financially independent and move on with her head held high.
For, she was a devadasi. An archaic tradition that entailed young girls to serve the Lord all through her life, thus rendering her inadequate in any other skill, or education. These devadasis who had once enjoyed exalted status for being consorts of the Lord, had become lesser mortals with the passage of time, with no means of support and branded with social stigma. On top of it, they had children. Too bad if they were daughters.
I came across the Milaap Hope project through Indiblogger and as I flipped through profile after profile of women, each afflicted with her own degree of unfortunate-ness, my eyes searched for the loan amount secured by them. Some had a few bucks, some had almost reached the half-way mark to her goal.
But Kamal Dodamani, the lady you see her with her wide grin, she had none. Her account was zero. And she smiles so broadly, hiding all the hardships in her life. Would she be waiting for good news? Someone to knock on the door of her ramshackle house and blurt out “Kamal! You got your loan!”
And that’s why I feel so much pain to see her smile. I don’t want that smile to be replaced with tears of hopelessness. I don’t want her to shut up in a murky world. All that she had asked for was some money to carry on a little business - a loan that she would repay with hard work. She could have very well begged for a living, you know. Maybe we would have paid her then, if she had begged?
A few hours back I was overcome with emotions on reading about a few kids from Koshish, who were waiting for two cameras. I wrote about them, hoping for a miracle and then later when I checked the website, I saw that my wish had come true. Their donation was complete.
Would it be too much to ask for a second miracle within 24 hours? Would it be too much if I asked for Kamal’s smile to remain intact? Should Kamal be allowed to earn through dignity of work?
I live in hope, once again.
Here is the link to Kamal, if you would like to lend her a little loan: