Kiddie Camp

Rachna Vinod

Bina and Tej married for twelve years, were still not blessed with a child of their own. Many medical check ups confirmed their inability to give birth to their own biological child. Who lacked what, was never made known to anybody else. They got over the sentimentality of having a child of their own and decided to start a foster home for unwanted newly born, abandoned by their biological parents for reasons best known to them. Soon they got a call from one such hospital where the mother had disappeared after giving birth to a female child. Bina and Tony took the child under their care. They were overwhelmed with maternal-paternal feelings when they held the first entrant of their foster home in their arms! Starting new phase in their lives, they named her Asha… the hope. They brought up and treated her like their own biological child till they were ready to receive more children in their children home.
Although Asha had the best upbringing being the first and the only inmate for three years yet she had begun to understand the difference between biological born and adopted, abandoned children as she grew up. She had realised that she wasn’t Bina’s biological child. Being the very first entrant, she had seen many abandoned children finding shelter in this kiddie camp. Also she had watched many children leaving the place with their adoptive parents. She had started helping Bina to take care of other neglected children. Bina and Tej had made huge difference in her life. Accepting quietly it as verdict of God for her to be an illegitimate child of unknown parents, she never mentioned this unspoken word following unwritten, unsaid code of the safe home where children were treated as children without digging merits and demerits of being legitimate or illegitimate. The only legitimacy was compassion and care of the rejected, desolate children who were unaware of any willing or unwilling reason for their existence in this vast unknown world. It was named Kiddie Camp as it was supposed to be a temporary place for the abandoned children till they were adopted by needy persons.
Almost two-year old Tara was one of those inmates whom Asha herself as a ten year old child, had watched being adopted and taken away by seemingly a fairy couple. Remembrance of kiddie camp was soon erased from Tara’s memory and she grew up as happy and healthy child. While participating in one of the competitions, Tara won scholarship for higher education in Germany. Reddys were overjoyed with Tara’s success. Reddys were living in cosmopolitan city where people busy with their own schedule for their decent survival hardly found any time and energy left in themselves to peep into others personal affairs. In such atmosphere, Tara always knew Reddys as her own real parents whose love and attention for her was in abundance knowing no boundaries. One fine day, all the three Reddys left for Germany for her admission to one of the best colleges for whose scholarship she had qualified. Reddys returned back happily after Tara felt settled in new surroundings. Time kept moving on. Then Hans, a German colleague of Tara came in their lives when he and Tara got married with Reddys’ blessings.
Reaching fag end of their lives, Reddy couple decided to tell Tara the truth of her birth. Their farsightedness was keeping them on alert that if ever somebody found out the truth and made mountain out of mole about Tara’s birth and created unforseen problems for her, she should not feel cheated. So once when Tara and Hans were packing for journey back after their pleasant stay in India, Reddys gave all the documents related to her birth, adoption, her nomination as their successor and finally inheritance papers in case of any eventuality happening to them. They told her to keep those documents concerning inheritance issue with her safely. Tara taking envelope, hugged her parents wishing them long, healthy life and told them not to worry about her facing any problem ever. The envelope was found on writing table in Tara’s room by Reddys after Tara and Hans had boarded the flight. Tara refusing to believe in any separation from her parents, had left the envelope unopened there intentionally. The Reddy couple exchanged knowing, quiet smile with eachother.
The envelope was never mentioned again among themselves and it remained in a drawer of same writing table. During one of her visits to her parents, Tara nonchalantly opened the envelope and read the documents. With a jolt, she came out of deep slumber! Motionless she kept staring into infinity. One of the hard hitting catastrophe of the World Wars and other wars was a large number of forlorn children whose parentage was never known. Hence to use illegitimate word for children had been abolished. Tara wasn’t worried about or ashamed of being illegitimate child. Her immediate thought was for Reddys whose magnanimity had always made her feel as their own legitimate child. Decisively she got up, went to Reddys and hugged them affectionately, warmly. Reddys who immediately understood everything by looking at the open envelope in her hand. Tara convinced Reddys to let her donate a large chunk of her inheritance to safe home for children from where she was adopted by Reddys. She and her husband Hans decided to adopt two children to make difference in their lives as was experienced by Tara in her life. In a way this was also their way of showing gratitude to Almighty for showering them with a blessed life despite being ignorant of Tara’s biological parents.
One fine day, all four of them went to bring two abandoned newly born for adoption from the same Kiddie Camp. Bina and Tej had handed over the management to Asha. She didn’t take much time to recognise Reddy couple who had grown old but had remained the fairy couple of her childhood. Well- groomed Tara’s life story had turned out like a fairy tale. Still thinking about fairies, happily smilingly, Asha handed over two newly born to Tara who at once took them to her bosom. Without caring for legitimacy or illegitimacy of children, both Asha and Tara were confident of brighter future of these children in the kiddie camp as long as children were treated as children, innocent and purest creation of God unaware of the meaning and hassles of being a legitimate or an illegitimate child.