One morning, based on information received through a couple of anonymous phone calls, Steven, the founder of an NGO called Helping Hands found a newborn baby in a bag inside a dustbin. The baby was gasping for breath and frothing. The umbilical cord of the baby was not tied and there were ants all over its body, feeding on its tender skin.
Steven rushed the baby to a nearby hospital. Two days later, the baby was ready to go back home; home for the baby was Helping Hands, as it was for many other abandoned babies.
Steven named him Robert Steven (all abandoned babies at Helping Hands have the surname Steven, as Steven is ‘Papa’ to all of them).
When he was 10, Robert learnt that Papa Steven had picked him out of a dustbin.
As Robert explained, “I started searching through Papa’s files and found, completely by chance, my file with a photo of me as a baby in a travel bag. It was not sorrow or anger that I felt when I saw the picture. I felt blessed that I had a Papa who gave me shelter and took care of me. He brought me up like his own son. What more can I ask for?
My parents might have abandoned me in a dustbin. But Papa picked me up from there and gave me life. So instead of shattering me, the truth behind my origins made me feel calm and peaceful.”
Not even once did he feel like searching for his own parents. “I don’t even think of my biological parents. Why should I think of those people who never bothered about me? I think of my Papa and nobody else.”
Robert was well behaved, very focused and an extremely good student. That led Steven to send him to a private boarding school in another city. He also wanted to get the boy away from the institutional atmosphere of the orphanage.
True to his potential, Robert was a recipient of a scholarship throughout his school and college days and scored excellent marks. In college, other than topping in academics, he won many inter-collegiate competitions, and also received awards for Perfect Attendance and being the Best Outstanding student.
Having studied Commerce, his initial desire was to be a Chartered Accountant. But he now wishes to prepare for the Civil Service Examination and become an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer. Though many children from Helping Hands have become engineers and bankers, it is for the first time that a child from the home is trying to become an IAS officer.
On his birthday, Robert always thanks his Papa first. Only after that does he pray. He says that he has never asked for anything for himself. “I have only asked for Papa’s good health so that he can continue to care for orphans. I also ask God to give me the courage and willpower to help the underprivileged in our society. That is my only prayer! On second thought, I would say, Papa is my God, a God that has taken human form.”
I am sure this story has moved you, maybe to tears. You will be even more moved to know that this is a true story (with the names changed). Please CLICK HERE to read the complete story of Abhilash Vidyaakar and ‘Pappa’ Vidyaakar of Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands), Chennai.
Please also visit Udavum Karangal’s website.
If I were given a chance to be a superhero, what power would I want? Forget it! I know I can’t be a superhero. Nobody can be a superhero. But, inspired by this super human being called Vidyaakar, each one of us should try to be at least a good human being.