Therapeutic residential center for people with special needs

A long holiday at Riya

Long Journey Post
I t was a long weekend and a planned four days of holidaying to spend time with the kids at Riya. It all started off with a huge festive rush leading to all tickets booked and I stood stranded not knowing how to reach my destination.

May be luck was on my side that day (Not literally I must say). I managed to get a ticket in an economy class government red bus (KSRTC) where the seats reminded me of my school bench.

As I boarded the bus my seat was occupied by a lady who did not look at budging. I tried using the conductors help to get back my seat. But all she had to say was, “sort it out by yourself”. As I was keen on travelling rather that claiming my seat, I choose to adjust in the neighboring seat available. It was a three seater and it had to be shared with two other gentlemen similar of my built. As I prepared myself for a hectic 8 hour journey I never expected it to get tougher. As it was a festive season and people wanting to leave the city for a long weekend the roads lead to a bloody jam. It took the driver 4 hours to clear the traffic to reach the highway. Now I knew my journey would be extended by an additional 4 hours, I prepared myself mentally to take the trauma. 12 hours of travel without being able to stretch ones legs was quite a Torture. Adding to it 3 hefty souls on one seat, I could not help myself from slipping. You would not believe me if I said I did not sleep a wink.

I reached Mangalore to a beautiful bright morning. A kind of energy, Happiness and josh filled my heart. I reached Riya to be welcomed by all the kids with their cheer and smiles. Ah what a sense of relief. After treating myself to the bed for a few hours, I had to get back in action to finish all pending work. We set out driving after a planned route map realizing that the clouds had all turned dark. Just did not know how the day passed.

Day one was all work and no fun. Day two had its own twist; I woke up to hear the sad demise of a little girl who had visited Riya for admissions. She along with her mother had gone to their hometown to get her certificates. It was unfortunate to hear that she slipped in to a nearby open well. It was really tough to comprehend with this truth; it’s difficult to believe that a person who you saw yesterday is no more today.

Sometimes one just can’t predict the day. Just then one of the kids let our 2 labs out, Buddy and Mille. Boy they were such a bundle of joy. With Rohit, one of the kids watering the plants  the dogs were in a playful mood and wanting to get drenched. The kids too used this as an excuse to pop in their play skills.

Just then Juliet, our caretaker called out to Keeth informing that one of the kids was throwing up and looks like is falling ill. We had to rush to the clinic for medical assistance. It being a holiday it was difficult to find a doctor, luckily with Keeth’s influence we managed a doctor giving us an appointment. I sat there wondering that Keeth has her plate full at Riya. Later that evening we planned on taking the kids to the beach. Ours being a small car we had to look at hiring a cab. Being a holiday all of them refused to come. We literally filled as many kids we could take leaving the others behind. It truly felt bad. Just felt so helpless in a situation like this.

With not finding sufficient staff it’s only a challenge to manage Riya. I saw Keeth explaining to me how she feeds a child without making her own daughter jealous of the situation. Pampering the children after all the running around she has to do is nothing short of being a super hero.

I kept wondering where she gets all this energy from. She ensures her staff’s requirements are met. Ensuring Riya’s day to day functioning is met. Grocery shopping, paying of bills, finishing the bank work, driving to the other end of town running a computer center which is newly opened for these children and back home to give time to her own family. How, how does she manage to do this?

May be that’s why only she could thinking of starting Riya. If I had a special child I would never, never ever think of taking any more challenges other than my own.

Arjun was an eight year old boy when he was brought to Riya. His parents carried him and placed him in front of us for his admission. He would not speak, nor walk or for that matter move. Keeth and I looked at each other and wondered how we would take care of him. He literally needed a full-time caretaker and load of assistance. It wouldn’t have been fair if we did not admit him as we would be defeating the purpose of starting Riya. I was surprised to see him not only walk and utter few words but also flap his hands on seeing Buddy and mille around. He even tried touching buddy. This was a huge achievement, I ran up to Keeth to tell her this but she was unshaken by what I told. She asked me to wait and watch. He was served lunch and was eating on his own. He even picked his glass and drank water from it.

I looked at Keeth and told her it was a miracle, she replied with a firm “NO” its sheer hard work

We have worked hard on him to reach this stage. I was impressed. I knew the parents would be on cloud nine.

My each day at Riya was giving me a new insight. Just then it struck me that tomorrow’s Keeth’s Birthday and we need to make it special for a special person like her. So we went about ordering lunch for everyone at Riya. It was basically a declared holiday for the staff and children. We also went out shopping to purchase crackers to celebrate Diwali at night as the kids would love it.

Tarif
As I woke up that morning to wish Keeth I saw her feeding Tariq with her new Birthday dress. He was down with fever and was puking.  Just not the way one would have liked to start their Birthday, but she was all there helping this poor guy recover – That’s what for me was dedication.

That afternoon we have a grand lunch and a lazy evening. Evening we cut a cake with all diya’s lighting up the background. With all the lights off and the kids singing the Birthday song, it was evident to see Keeth on cloud nine. Post the cake cutting we were all off to the garden to bust crackers.

The kids loved the flower pot, chakra and the sparklers. It truly was nice to see the smile and the joy on their faces. It was an evening worth being there. Soon after we finished busting the crackers the clouds turned dark and winds got strong. It was as if the Gods too wanted to join the party. It was very scary to see the sudden change in weather. Just when we all started to take the kids in it started lighting, lighting so strong that even i got scared. I must confess even though it was scary it was beautiful.  A sudden thunder would light up the entire area as if it was bright early morning. I have never seen anything like this my whole life. Wow it truly looked like the Gods were all out to impress. With heavy blazing rains and the night without power we were forced to bid good night.

The next morning was my last day at Mangalore. I just could not figure out how the days passed. Each day was so eventful. This time my heart just did not want to leave. I just wanted to spend the rest of my life here. There was no way I wanted to go back to the concrete jungle where I lived a materialistic life, everything so fake and humdrum. I knew at the back of my mind that if I did not go our children would not get their daily bread. May be that’s the sacrifice I had to make to keep it going. How I wished we would find a donor who could support us in this struggle. Sometimes tears roll out seeing the honesty in which the kids are served. I can swear and tell that even a parent would not take care of their child as much as they are taken care of at Riya.

I wish that someday we are blessed with a place of our own where our kids can do a lot more. We would grow our own vegetation and have a lot of cattle, sheep, ducks and poultry. A place of our own, were the kids would have ample space to play and run around, a Staff quarters for privacy. Basically a place where there would be no fear of anyone asking us to leave or vacate, a place where the kids would call it their own.

Riya not only is a residential home but also mean courage, hope and care to all of us. It might be a small word but comes with a huge meaning, am proud to be associated with the organization.

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Address & Contact

Riya Hope Farm
No. 2-21-111/2
Valley view villa, Kotimura,
Padavu village, Kulshekar Post,
Mangalore : 575005
Karnataka, India.

Contact :
Email: [email protected]
Phone : +91 7892-317978 / +91 824- 2231181
Office timings : Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm

Disclaimer

"Riya Foundation” is a registered trust (non-profit organization -155/2009-10 IV) registered with the Commissioner of Income Tax under 12-A of the Income Tax Act bearing No. R-57/80G/CIT/MNG/2011.12, established in the year 2010. Your donation is tax-deductible under 80G. We run a residential recreational facility for the people with special needs called "Riya Hope Farm", currently located at Mangalore (India).