My daughter Shamika was awarded the Karamveer Chakra by iCONGO yesterday evening. This award was instituted for the real unsung heroes, the people who work silently and in the background to make change possible. She more than anyone else deserved the recognition. her citation read: Shamika was 9 when she first told her mother she wanted to work with special children. She could not finish school and at 15 began volunteering with children with autism. It did not take long for everyone to realise that she was made to take care of children with special needs. She trained for 6 long years and brought smiles to many children but soon felt she wanted to do more. Shamika joined the Project Why special day care centre when she was 19. For the past years she has been looking after 20 children with special needs and bringing joy and laughter in their lives. She passionately believes that special children need to be treated with respect and dignity and can have a future if we care to give it to them.In spite of her young age she can take on any parent and fight for the rights of her children. She has proved that you do not need degrees or pieces of paper to care for those in need. What you need is the ability to look with your heart.
Every word stated is true but there is so much more in the life of this young woman of substance. Shamika has always seen with her heart and continues to do so every minute of the day. My thoughts got back 31 years, on that beautiful morning when I first held her in my arms. She was beautiful. Like all moms I counted her little toes and little fingers and looked into her tiny face. I knew she would be very special. Many had hoped for a boy as I already had a daughter but in the nine months I carried her in my womb I knew she would be a girl. That is what I had prayed for and my prayers had been fulfilled. She was an adorable baby and a delightful toddler. But it did not take long for me to realise that she was different and would not fit the mould. She tried poor child, as best she could. Those were difficult years when too pushed her mercilessly to fit frame that was too small for her. She was made for far larger things. Even today I am not proud of myself though I could find million of reasons to justify my actions. It would take many years for me to hear her deafening yet silent screams and have the courage to break the mould. I am glad I did and though everyone was dead against my decision to have her drop out from school, I knew it had to be.
It was time to fulfill Shamika’s biggest dream: to take care of special children. I did to the best of my ability. The rest is history. There was no looking back. From the moment she entered their world, things fell in place and her course was charted. She was home safe and sound.
Shamika put to test the very essence of motherhood, wherein a mother is the one who can and should hear all the unsaid words of her child and having heard them, take on the world if need be. Shamika made me do just that. I can never tell her how proud I am to be her mother. To be a mom is to stand by your child against the whole world if the need arises and I stand very humbled yet very tall. Shamika also proves that you do not need to walk the well trodden road to succeed. Success comes to the one who has the courage to walk the road less travelled.
I am so happy that she has got recognised by the world at large, she more than anyone else deserves the honour. I know the world awaits her. I also know that I will be by her side for as long as God allows it. After that I will watch her from the heavens above.
PS The husband and I are the worst photographers in the universe. These are the two pictures taken yesterday.