Chitra madam is like a potter and Agni Raksha a potter’s wheel in which thousands of people come here and get molded and leave....says Daisy
Daisy (name changed)
Being the second child and born in a family where my father was a daily wage worker and my mother a domestic worker, education was a dream come true. Yet, my parents always encouraged me and supported me inmy studies. “I had always secured a first class pass, in academics, sports or crafts. But I remember when I failed my 3rd standard and still went to the 4th standard. A teacher found me and asked me to return to the 3rd standard. I was upset and a few boys started teasing me about failing. This incident changed my life, I became very strong in my thoughts and built courage and said to myself that I would stand first in every field.
Since my family could not afford the school fees, I couldn’t attend a better school and decided to go to a government school. The fee was Rs.50/annually and I was not in a position to pay even that so one of my teachers spoke to the Head Mistress and asked her to waive my fees. I have represented my school in various inter-school competitions one such being an exam conducted by Tamil Sangam in which I secured first prize. In my 10th Standard, the class strength was 42 and out of which only 2 students passed in the final board exams and the rest had failed & I was among the failed students. Only when I went to the school I came to know that I had failed in two subjects.
My family members, neighbours, relatives were very confident that I would score first in my school. My father wanted me to complete LLB. Meanwhile, I heard my friend’s mother beat her up as she too failed and was yelling at her that being poor, they tried all their best to give her best education but she did not keep up their trust. This created fear in me of what my father would do after getting to know my results.
When my father came home he pacified me saying I could apply for supplementary exams. Even before the results were declared, my father had bought college admission form. After all this I felt that I had destroyed the trust of her father. I locked up myself in the bedroom and set myself on fire. My parents along with my neighbours came to my rescue and took me to Victoria Hospital. I was hospitalized for about 15 days. Since my family was not able to take care of my medical expenses, I was taken back home and after a few days’ time, my body started to produce foul odor and later there were worms. All the relatives, neighbours stopped coming to my house because of the foul odor. One morning a church priest came home and he assured that I would live. These words brought relief to my parents. He visited me every day to pray and also gave me a bottle of oil which was applied on my body every day. Slowly I got cured but my lips had got stuck to my neck and because of which I could not eat or drink well. I never came out fearing people. The neighbours would threaten their children to leave them to me if they refused to eat their food. I always repented for taking such as hasty decision in my life.
In 2005, Chitra madam conducted a meeting in my neighbourhood and she spoke about Agni Raksha and how they have been treating burn victims free of cost. The same year I lost my father. Because of this loss; my mother had to struggle a lot to run the family. This situation at home opened my eyes and I decided that its time that I be independent and look after my mother. I recalled the contact details of Chitra ma’am and took courage to contact her for directions to the office. My first step into Agni Raksha, sparked an urge in me to lead courageous life like others. The visit to Agni Raksha changed my perspective towards life and I found a lot of people victims like leading a happy life. I started to visit the office for physiotherapy treatment every alternative day. Later spoke to Chitra ma’am for a job and she offered me a counselling job.
Though Chitra madam had insisted me in undergoing a surgery, I waited for five years so that Dr.Prema would return to India and treat me. After a long wait on 22nd March 2011, I underwent a surgery and the same was conducted by Dr.Prema. I was then taken to Safe Haven for post-acute care. Even when my wound dressing was opened, the first person that I wanted to see was Chitra madam. After a few days, Chitra madam forced me to take up my 10th standard exams, which I did only for the sake of doing it. On the day of my results, my brother passed the messaged to me that I had succeeded in the exams and I sent a message thanking madam at 11:45pm.
Now I am perusing my Masters in Social Work through distance education. Chitra madam has been a great inspiration in my life and today my life has become more meaningful. 2014 has been a very prominent year for me as I have been able to conduct a lot of workshops for various stakeholders. Agni Raksha gave me trust and confidence, love and affection from both Chitra Madam and the staff. I feel Agni Raksha is a beauty parlour in a true sense as they beautify burn victims like me both physically and psychologically. In a few words. On the whole, Agni Raksha is a mother’s place for victims like me.
I am re-born says Daisy….