where it all started

one morning, in december of 2018, I found myself in the home of an incredible woman. despite suffering from a chroni

c heart condition, she was associated with over a 100 charities, destined to make a difference in the world. she told me stories about how she worked with powerful women around the world, and at the end, she gave me a list of sombre charity centers around Bangalore, that needed some brightening up.

the next week, i set out to the first place on her list; a secluded center for victims of sexual assault, sex trafficking, and other forms of oppression. I was greeted at the gate of a two story house by two guard dogs. chasing behind them was a lady I had spoken to earlier on the phone : a former army major, and the owner of this particular center. she addressed me with a firm handshake and led us upstairs to a room filled with books, art supplies, and toys. inside the room were two young girls, whom i played with and spoke to for a while. i was amazed by how happy and carefree they were, despite all that they had been through. i later learnt that one was gang raped multiple times, while the other had an abusive father who constantly raped her sister. i spent a couple hours with the young girls, reading books to them, making drawings, and simply learning about their lives. when i mentioned that i was an artist, their faces immediately lit up. they asked me to teach them art techniques and show them pictures of my work.time flew by, and

we somehow formed a connection through our mutual love for creativity. once they left for their activities, i spent a while with the major who owned the center. she told me horrifying stories of rapes and rescues, with gruesome details i can’t bear to think about. she then spoke about their transformation, ways the girls regained their confidence and self respect, right in front of her eyes.

that night, i went home, and for the first time, i felt the desire to change the world. not just for the sake of ‘being a good person’ or ‘having something to tell people about’. but to genuinely, wholeheartedly make the world a better place.

around a month later, i returned to that two story building with a painting crew and trunk full of art supplies. this time, i was greeted by 20 young girls, who all hugged me and embraced me the moment i walked in. it was a different kind of love and warmth, i was overwhelmed by the amount of joy a simple act brought into the lives of these young girls. i finished up the wall mural there, and ended up painting a few more. i continue to visit the home, and consider the children and volunteers to be a family of sorts. despite having to get up early in the morning and sit through a 2 hour car ride, there is no place i could possibly be happier.

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