Seven-year-old Suraj* has never called someone 'ma'. Wears a torn shirt and loose-fitting shorts. Lives in a cardboard box. Begs. Draws on the street. Has recently learnt counting from 1-10 in just 15 days. And dreams of being a pilot one day.
Ayesha, a freelance writer and a theatre actor from Thane is emptying out half her bookshelf. The 50-odd books she will give away include the Twilight series and Tinkle comics. These will connect Ayesha to Suraj.
The bridge: a book-donation drive started by Anuya Jakatdar.
While studying in the US, Jakatdar came up with an idea. Inspired by a US Library, which would often hold book donation drives. She knew even before returning to India that she would do something similar.
And here she is with Books on Toast.
The 25-year-old TV professional is collecting 'old, used, loved and want-to-be shared' books from people in Mumbai, which will be put up for sale. Anuya and three of her friends, Shalaka Pai, Neha Bhatia and Phalguni Desai, will donate the money raised to Hamara Footpath, a community organisation working with street kids.
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Hamara Footpath turns the stairs of the Alliance Française, Churchgate, into a classroom. Its volunteers take the responsibility of helping street children find love, care, and encouragement and support to reclaim their childhood.
The community wants the children to believe that they have a right to the street they live on. Therefore, the name Hamara Footpath. From doing the salsa to cutting birthday cakes, from enacting plays to hoisting the Indian flag on Independence Day, from making rangolis on Diwali to playing football — it's all been done on the streets and pavements of the city
And what's childhood without Tom and Jerry and Dennis the Menace? Well, these kids would love to watch, listen and giggle, too. And for that, they need a laptop. The money raised from the sale of the donated books will fund that little joy.
Anuya and friends are in the midst of collecting books from various points in the city. If you'd like to be part of the drive, pick up the phone and give them a call. Or if you are too attached to your books, then be present on 21 and 22 January at Candies at Pali Naka to buy books for 'dirt cheap'.
Updated Date: Jan 23, 2012 16:08 PM