GENEROUS AUTHOR BUILDING HIS "CITY OF JOY"
Meeting the writer of “City of Joy” and “Freedom at midnight” was really a great experience for me.I had always heard of this generous writer from the time I was a student, but my profession as TV Journalist finally made it possible to meet Dominique Lappiere personally and to do an one on one interview in his room in Asha Bhavan Centre, Uluberia, Howrah.
Dominique Lappiere laid the foundation stone for a special school for physically disabled children at Asha Bhavan Centre, Uluberia in Howrah.
To cover the event I had started from my Kolkata office at 9am to catch him early,we reach Uluberia at 11.45am,He came at 1pm.I was moved by the assemblence of near about thousand disable children from the districts of Bengal and saluted the great human being Dominique Lappiere from whose “City of Joy Foundation” funds flows to run this organization and numerous alike organizations in the districts of Bengal and other state of India.Each and every child with their eyes of hope,welcomed their messiah with garlands and flower petals,the moment was really touching,most of the children are under five years and were on the lap of their mothers or either on the wheel chair.
Asha Bhavan Centre also provides artificial limbs to the children with polio and other limbs related diseases.As they shower flower petals on Dominique Lappiere and his wife Dominique Conchon Lappiere also an epitome of compassion hugging every single child with motherly compassion,it was really a great touching sequence of selfless service for the people of the unknown world.
After having a light Lunch he came straightly to the adjacent room as I and my cameraman where waiting for his appearance, as soon as he set and made himself comfortable opposite me the first question that I asked him was what has attracted him to India and in particular Kolkata (Bengal)? He replied graciously that it was during his research while writing “Freedom at Midnight” he stayed two years in the city and even after while writing “City of Joy” he was here.It was a great experience for him that the Kolkata city he says has magnetic power to make every stranger her own.when “City of Joy” was became an instant success after its publication and when he got his first royalty as the writer of the book he came straight in his city of joy and donated the entire amount to an Social Service Organization “Udayan”and that was the start of his generousity from then he continuously and religiously contributing for various organizations in Bengal and rest of India from the royalty that he gets after writing each books.I said sir it is really a noble task that you are doing since 1982 through the City of Joy Foundation. His answer was, his work is “Just a few drops of hope in the ocean of need” and nothing more then that,at the sametime he adds that once Mother Teresa said to him that this tiny drops are also important and every individual has something to contribute for the society and people.
Rural Bengal has many problems starting from proper nutrition, vaccinations, to education which the children are deprived of but centers like Asha Bhavan are playing their part to provide this deprived children with food, medicine, education and all to keep the disabled children going and to overcome their disability to prove their ability through education and obviously Dominique Lappiere remains the backbone of all the children for whom he is nothing more than their beloved Dominique Dada.
Joydeep Dasgupta / Kolkata