I have been going to the home for the mentally challenged since 2011. There was a break last year and a few other times too. I started going there again from the third week of February. Life has not really changed for most of the members. It was good going back.
I met Rekha in 2011. She had just come there. I think she had lost her parents, her brother and family found her a burden. In those early days she was cheerful and knew a lot of songs and enjoyed singing them. As the days passed she wished to see her brother but he was not interested. She is life time member and he did not want any responsibility. Whenever I met her she told me her brother was coming to take her home. As the years passed she has withdrawn into herself. One of the trustees of the Home went to her brother and requested him to take Rekha home, atleast for festivals. He and his wife refused point-blank. We used to wonder at their attitude. When she so yearns for their company why cannot they take her home atleast once or twice a year? How can people be so heartless?
Even after all these years she keeps saying her brother will come the next day.
We know it is not right but sometimes we wish the brother and his wife will be punished in some way .
In contrast there is Renu who can only make sounds. She came here a few years ago. Her mother was recovering from cancer and her father has dementia. Renu is in her thirties. Problems forced her mother to bring her to the Home. The parents live in a city, the mother is a teacher. They live in a close relative’s apartment when they come here to see their daughter. The relative lives abroad. Due to the pandemic classes are online so they have been living here since last March. In spite of all problems Renu’s mother takes her home for a day atleast once a week. Her helplessness has parted her from her daughter.
There are so many different types of people and human nature never ceases to surprise.
( names changed)