Amidst this busy life, PETALS have not forgotten their roots, their elders. Keeping in mind their “last wish” as said by them, to visit Tarakeshwar Temple and touch Baba with their wrinkled hands is all they want at this stage of their life. We do travel a lot of places with our families and kids, but do we really remember to take our parents with us? The tears in their eyes while requesting for their wish said that we don’t. So we have decided to spend a day out with them, with all comfort and facilities, which they could not express to their blood relations, but could easily say to their extended family, PETALS.
PETALS have planned to organize a bulk food distribution system (commonly known as “Bhandara” ) where people who cannot afford their one-time meal can at least need not have to sleep empty stomach. This will be organized for all such persons who have struggled for their meal; whether an 80yrs old lady or a 5yrs old orphan boy. So our aim is to develop a society where people are not deprived of the most basic need of life.
Our next mission is a step towards another most basic requirement of today’s world, which is education. We aim at developing an educated society but forget to make our contribution to it. So PETALS, after a thorough survey, has learned that there are many sources from where students somehow manage to arrange for books, but could not arrange writing materials like notebooks and other stationery items. So we have decided on a “Book Bank” where people can donate their unused notebooks and children in need can collect and use them. We have another aim of ours fulfilled through this, our wish to make people (especially physically challenged people) self-independent. So we have planned to arrange for loose blank papers where such special people can bind them and this way they too can earn their livelihood by not being sympathized by anyone and living a life of dignity.
Apart from taking care of basic needs, PETALS never forget to take care of some recreation, without which lives are monotonous. So after a long life of struggle; after years and years of deprived life, it is a blessing to hear that “you made our lifetime dream come true”.So PETALS, keeping in mind the wishes of our sightless friends, have planned to arrange a cruise ride for them; keeping in mind that maybe they cannot see with their eyes, but perhaps they can feel a lot more than any other person. So our next mission will be a trip like this, where they can get over their neglected life, at least for a day, and fulfill their lifetime wish of enjoying a water-based ride, with the cool breeze touching their face and they playing with waves and some tea and snacks with it.PETALS and their other blind friends are awaiting their most desired trip soon.
We are lucky enough to have been blessed with everything, with a family and most importantly our capable kids. We feel so proud when our kids get a smile at school on their drawing project or any task. But does this talent lies only with us? If so, then we are looking at just one side of the coin. The other side says that the ones who do not have enough opportunities to prove themselves are far better than the ones who get so much training and teaching on a subject. Taking this into consideration, like any other year, PETALS have planned to organize a drawing competition for kids who are not at all privileged with the facilities, whether it be painting materials or the guidance and kids who have them all. Our experience says that they prove better artists and the smile at the time of getting the prize makes them feel to be at the top of the cloud. Just to see these shining eyes, PETALS has decided to organize another such competition in this coming Durga Puja. All the best kiddos.
The most celebrated and awaited festival of Bengal, our Durga Puja is not far away. Unlike any other year, this year’s Puja will be welcomed in a completely different manner, keeping in mind the present scenario. Maybe there will not be much gathering, not much hanging out, or perhaps not much shopping; but what is indispensable is the meals on the table. No matter whether we have a lockdown outside or not, there will never be any lockdown for hunger.
Amidst this pandemic, PETALS will also celebrate this festival by abiding by all the rules and guidelines. So unlike any other year, there will not be any drawing competition which we usually have with children of all sections of society, stage drama by our visionless friends, Prerna Award Ceremony where we acknowledge the contribution of people for their continuous efforts to make our lives easier, etc. So all these projects will be abandoned this time.
But what can never be paused is the Ration Distribution Program of PETALS for which countless families of our helpless ones, sightless ones, handicapped ones, or maybe physically challenged ones await. So each time, PETALS will be reaching out to approximately 500+ such families. Along with this, we have our Education Support going for all those meritorious students who otherwise had to stop their studies for lack of financial support. So these two major areas,
RATION- an inevitable part of our life, but unfortunately not all are blessed with the happiness to fulfill this basic need created by Him, and
EDUCATION – the roots of our society, will still be equally taken care of.
We call this Ration, Box of Happiness, where we try to supplement approx 1months essentials, but is sufficient enough to support them for more than 2 months.
This pandemic has taught us a lot perhaps, most important being that the most uncertain thing in today’s world is our own life. So let us live each day to the fullest with all happiness and if possible, let us bring at least one smile to someone who is not our family nor any of our friends or may be not anyone to us, but is the same human being like us who has the same feeling and an equal right to live like anyone of us. So let us come forward to give our lives a new meaning where there will be countless smiles and life-changing blessings for all.
You can take the heart out of a Bengali but you cannot take durga puja out of a Bengali’s heart. The fragrance of Durga puja is in the air of Kolkata. The advent of the coronavirus may have affected the present scenario but it can never dominate the spirit of the festival. Celebrations may change course and pattern but will still be celebrated. Some of us are planning an indoor celebration. Some of us are planning outdoor celebrations keeping in mind social distancing and self-protection.
But Corona or no Corona, some people’s lives will never change. The crumbling walls, the dark and shabby huts, the hungry little stomachs, the blind eyes dreaming of food, the little hearts thumping tirelessly to fight cancer and keep the little one alive one more day, the little hands with channels and needles all over for treatment of cancer. For them, neither Corona nor Durga Puja makes a difference.
However for the past so many years Petals have tried to make it a little different for them. you all may have seen how we distribute a month’s ration to many families in order to make a difference in their Durga Puja. Other than that we also organize Sit and Draw Competition for children of all Socio-economic backgrounds where every child gets a sumptuous meal box and a consolation award. We organize musical dance dramas for blind people to show their extraordinary talent to everyone. Although this year things will be a little different than other years because of the advent of the covid-19 virus. We will not be able to organize the sit and draw competition or the dance drama because it will be impossible to maintain social distancing in such kind of celebrations but we’ll surely arrange for the ration so that at least they will not go hungry during the Durga Puja.
Last year we arranged this ration for around 250 families whereas this year we are planning to reach out to 500 families. We need to arrange for a lot of amounts in order to achieve this goal. But we will not put forward our bank account number and ask you to donate to us. We would rather ask you to come forward and work with us. If you want their address we will give you. Reach out to them and help them give them the ration yourself or we will give you their bank account details and you can forward your donation to them if you want us to do it on your behalf then we can send you a live video recording of giving the ration to them. All we are asking is that make a difference this year and bring Smiles to faces that have long forgotten what it is like to smile in happiness. Who knows?
Maybe your ration will make the last few days of the little Cancer patients happier. Maybe it will bring happiness to the old lady who was spending days in hunger awaiting an angel to rescue her from it. Maybe all their Smiles will rain down upon you as blessings of the Divine Goddess Durga. Let’s make a difference.
Sriya Pan Moitra