This is a guest post by Chitra and the Final Part of the series. Click for Part One. All pictures are owned by Chitra.
It was midnight when our bus reached the gates of Hemalkasa. A group of people were visible in the shed located in a corner. It seemed like they had made a temporary shelter of this place.
As it was very late we were taken to the guest house. It was a simple and clean building with basic amenities for few human beings to stay peacefully. After a delicious free dinner we were taken to the auditorium where a short film on how “Hemalkasa – Lokbiradri Prakalp” came into existence was shown. A quick bath and our group of 20 tired people were in deep sleep that night peacefully absorbing the silence of the forest surrounding the place. A silence that is unknown to the city life.
I was wide awake at 5 am only to realize that there were people wider awake than me in the premises of Hemalkasa that morning.
The small group of people, we first saw on reaching Hemalkasa, had now moved to the free clinic of Baba Amte’s younger son, Dr. Prakash, a surgeon who initiated the facilities of a hospital and a school, with the support from his wife, Dr. Mandakini, for the Madia Gond tribes from the surrounding area. They were poor people of all ages and with all kinds of diseases waiting for their doctor.
Dr Prakash Amte spent some time with us after his morning schedules answering the queries and sharing his experiences with us. He was a simple man with a pleasant smile and displayed the energy of someone who was brave enough to sacrifice the luxury of a comfortable rich life for the welfare of fellow human beings. He introduced us to the various animals in his unique animal orphanage. Porcupines, large owls, tigers, snakes and many more that I saw for the first time in my life were happily dancing around Dr Prakash as if he was one of them and they understood his love and care.
We met Dr Prakash’s family including his sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren – real pillars of his support. His grand children studied in the same school where hundreds of tribal children got their free education and his sons were involved in helping their father run the hospital and school. Like father like children.
Yes, finally we had to bid farewell and return to our daily lives of survival and chaos. But, my magical journey did not end here as the magic continues in my memory inspiring me every time I am reminded of meeting the Amte family at Anandvan and Hemalkasa.
About the Author
Chitra loves her job of testing softwares in HSBC Global Technology. She also enjoys reading, writing, travelling and spending time with small kids.
See other posts by Chitra.
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