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Don't call me a victim

Don't call me a victim

Author: Sweta Ramanujan
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: January 31, 2004
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/archive_full_story.php?content_id=40129

Introduction: Black Monday orphan wins two prizes at school sports day

Five months back, when she lost her parents in the Gateway of India blast on August 25, life seemed bleak for Bharti Yadav and her four siblings. But today, she has bounced back. And how.

Recently, at her school's annual sports day, the four-year-old won two trophies. ''I like to run,'' she says. ''It felt good to go up on stage. I wore jeans and a T- shirt. They gave me those two things. Everybody kept saying 'very good'.''

With the support of its readers, the Express my Mumbai Trust started by The Indian Express provided financial aid for Bharti and three of her siblings, Rajeshri (13), Radha (3) and Narsu (2), for their admission into Welfare High School, Ulhasnagar.

Along with their eldest sister, Savita (15), the Yadav siblings live with their paternal uncle in Dulari Pada, Ulhasnagar. Orphaned by the Black Monday blast, the elder ones still cry occasionally. The younger ones are too little to mourn the loss. Bharti is caught somewhere in between.

Bharti, Rajeshri and Narsu were with their parents, Saki and Hanumanta Yadav, when the blast occurred. The couple used to sell flowers at the city's famous landmark.

A neighbourhood brawl has left a black eye, but Bharti is not bothered. When the children in the area threaten to carry tales to her mother, she calmly replies, ''Lekin meri to mummy hi nahi hai (But I don't have a mother).'' She doesn't cry or sulk. She just faces the truth, with a surprising level of maturity.

But it's not all play for this junior kindergarten student. She likes her books too. Three days after her parents died, she had said that she wanted to become a doctor. ''Because then I can take care of people who are hurt, and also make some money,'' she had said. Well, the finishing line may be distant but Bharti is warming up for the long race ahead.

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