“I would like to write a story about you,” I messaged her.
“But why do you want to write my story? I am one of the kids no?” she replied. I heard her characteristic crackling laughter in my head.
Introducing Akku. She warned me of dire consequences if I revealed her real name. Akku a spunky beautiful girl in her twenties, has been teaching drama to children at NalandaWay’s art lab for the past one month. She invented a language, a mixture of English and gibberish, when she realised that she could not communicate in English or Hindi. Kids in her class adored her and did not want to attend any other classes, “Akku’s classes are ‘fabulochi'” they said. Apparently it meant fabulous.
I had met Akku at a training programme that both of us had attended in Nepal four years ago. Her mother had died giving birth to her and her father died a several years after. When she returned to her work as a writer at a small but niche publishing house in Delhi, it had already been bought over by a large corporate house. Along came lots of rules which she found strange to her bohemian ways. Irritated at the turn of events, she quit her job. To her surprise she found some savings in her bank account and decided that she would travel to different parts of the country and teach drama to disadvantaged children. In the last four years she has worked with children from Pondicherry to Kargil, Andaman to Goa, Orissa to Arunachal. She does not accept any payment for her services. She stays at the house of the hosts or at a friend’s place. She eats only one meal a day but that does not deter her energy or enthusiasm.
She only has four pairs of clothes. “I don’t like other colours,” she said.
“Is there a purpose to your life?” I asked her.
“I don’t have a house to pay rent. I hate over eating. I don’t have any relationships. I don’t want to be famous. So basically all the activities that require money seems boring to me. I don’t want to be tied to a place, a person or anything. I love theatre. I love teaching to children. I love their innocence and laughter,” she replied nonchalantly.
“Every day there is a glorious story. Why create a purpose and spend an entire life time running after it?” she said and smiled.