Dear Schoolmates,

Thanks to the overwhelming support from the fraternity, we have started mobilising materials to build Rema’s dream house. Col. Sherry Peter got 260 laterite stones landed at a reduced rate of Rs. 26/- (against the market price of Rs. 37/-) last week. Another load of 220 stones were arranged by him at the rate of Rs. 30/- this week. They have been carted to the site by local people. Havildar Shaji is helping out with local mobilisation.

Mr. Mohandas, the local Nirmithi contractor is preparing the plan and estimate. He will be ready with them in a week. An amount of 3 lakhs has been promised so far by old students, out of which almost a lakh has reached Ashish, who is updating us on the kitty regularly. Many old students are getting in touch, promising to help out further. So we are well and truly on our way, helping Rema build her house.

I was there at Pallikkara near Payyoli on Sunday to meet up with Rema and Mohandas to discuss plan of the house. She welcomed us at her shack, looking cheerful in a Salwar and Kurta she had stitched on a sewing machine someone had gifted. We discussed the house, and how it can be built up on the incomplete foundation. I am attaching a couple of pictures, one of Rema at her shack and another on the foundation of her dream house.

Like any of us building a house, Rema too has hopes and aspirations on her house. She got uncharacteristically talkative with her wish list, as Mohandas went around with his measuring tape. She wants a large bedroom that she can share with her sick father. Then she wants a small kitchen, toilet and a well in the tiny courtyard. She also wants a little sit out to write her poems. Her father was watching us from a distance, coughing incessantly. A glimmer of pride showed through his soda glass spectacles, as he watched his daughter sketch her dream house in words of hope.

I was at Delhi the next day and Rema called in despair. Her father had vomited blood after we left and was admitted to the Chest Hospital in Calicut. He is in the last stages of TB that cannot be cured. Doctors say that his days are numbered.

Rema wanted to know if he would live to see her dream house.

I could not give her a convincing answer.

So that is where we stand now; looking for answers to hope and despair of a lame lady.



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