Helping Hands

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.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. (Prompt: If you were given a chance to be a superhero…what power would you want and why?)

23 thoughts on “Helping Hands

  1. Amen to that sir, I do feel that if we all start to treat others as we ourself want to be treated world will be a beutiful place.. and thanks to such beautiful people who do so much for everyone around them.

    One of my friends who lives in states has started something like that , things are still in development stage, but hopefully with the grace of god it will all work out.

  2. There are many anonymous Stevens doing yeoman services but still going unrecognized.
    It is rightly said – “Many a flower is born to blush unseen to waste its sweetness in the desert air.”
    Robert is bang on in opting for civil services over CA. Quitting this profession after being in the thick of it for long – remember Satyam, here and Enron there – it is going from bad to worse! Good boys ought to choose wisely. All the best to him!

  3. Goodness in today’s age is no less than a superpower as it is so rare…
    Nice to read this. Different but relevant take. Great message!

  4. Udavum Karangal does great work. We used to keep hearing stories about them all the time when we lived in Chennai. One of my college mates was from there. Wonderful story. Of course i was moved. Who wouldn’t be!

    P.S.: Since you posted a link to the original story, why did you use fictitious names in your post?

  5. My inspiration is my cousin who was working at the UN with underprivileged children in europe when she realized that we have more than plenty in Bombay itself. She resigned from the UN & with a couple of friends started Assema, a school for street children. Today their children may not be top rankers at universities or top level employees but all are well educated & gainfully employed in a field of their choice. My hats off to her & ‘Pappa’ Vidyaakar & all other people like them!

  6. Oh my! This did move me to tears! Thank you for sharing this story. It brings home the fact that there is so much goodness left in the world that we already have started to write off! Kudos, to the Papa, and much much admiration and respect to the son too!

  7. They make people like his Papa anymore and how I wish there are many people like that. It is sad story but shows many of the unwanted babies deserve a chance in life to shine:)

  8. I find words of admiration for Vidyaakar sound superfluous. The real heroes always prefer anonymity rather than praise. The best one can do is to contribute to the cause in whichever way one can.

    Thanks my friend for this inspiring post.

  9. Thanks Pro for this post! Real superheroes indeed. Sometimes I feel the world goes around only because of such goodness and kindness. What an inspiration both Papa and Son are. I don’t know what else to say, except that I feel blessed to know about them.

  10. Wow! In the midst of all the miseries of today’s world, there exist such pockets of brightness and hope.
    How lucky for the provider that his protégé turned out to be as deserving.

    P.S- I don’t know if it is true or fiction; but I read a similar story about a baby on the verge of death. The chilling final sentence said, “You are blessed that this baby survived, Mrs Hitler.”

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