My name is Rahul Bharadwaj and I was born in a small town in Firozabad, Utter Pradesh. I am told that I lost my mother when I was one month old and my father when I was five. I was looked after by my paternal grandparents. I was very young when they expired. I was then looked after by my paternal uncle and aunt, who were very rude to me and ill- treated me and even beat me up very badly. I am a victim of polio and yet although physically challenged, even as a child, I was made to work in a glass article manufacturing company instead of going to school. My earnings were all taken away by my uncle. I was always beaten and ill-treated by my cousin and eventually I ran away from there and went to Delhi where I worked in a small roadside hotel (dhabba) in Chandini Chowk. I learnt to save and in the year 2010 I heard from people and movies I saw, I dreamt of going to Mumbai and make it big.
While in the train to Mumbai I heard that they were checking at Dadar station for runaways and so I got off at Bandra. I was very fascinated to see a big city and was day dreaming as to becoming rich like in the Bollywood films. By evening I had nowhere to go and landed at Mount Mary’s Basilica, Bandra. There I managed to meet a Mr. Michael who sells religious items and candles and he offered me a place to sleep in his roadside stall and gave me a job in his shop, where I am at present.
While at the shop I used to see a priest coming and going and always smiling at me as he passed by. I came to know he was Fr. Joe of Kripa Foundation. At the moment he looked at me I felt blessed and when Fr Joe spoke to me one day and asked if I wanted to study I just smiled. He got me a admission in Mount Carmel’s Night School. As I was sleeping on the roadside, he spoke to Brother Bosco from Mary’s Clan, who offered me a place to stay at the Clan. I can see Mother Mary listening to my prayers. I have a place to stay, a chance to study and a small job to earn something.
Today, although I miss my parents, I feel I have Fr Joe & Brother Bosco who care so much for me, that every time Fr Joe passes by he will stop to say hello to me. He is so concerned that he keeps a tab on me. I did not go to school one day and he stopped to ask why I had not gone. I was amazed as to how although so occupied with his work yet he keeps a tab on my well being. Just yesterday evening Fr. Joe took me personally in his car to meet an orthopedic surgeon Dr. Antao,who is well known among sportsman. He checked me thoroughly and said I could walk straight with the help of calipers. I felt happy to hear that. I have no words to express my gratitude to Fr Joe.I feel happy and wanting to live, despite my physical challenges and difficulty to travel. I look forward every evening to attending school. Thank You Fr Joe. For all that you do for me.
As spoken to .....Newsdesk
Friday, March 4, 2011
A new hope of life.......for Rahul
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