The Story of Hema
Hema joined Latika Vihar at the age of 11. She was a scrappy, tough little girl then, weighing in at only 30 kilos but formidable. Anand, an older, much larger boy remembers being assigned to hold the punching bag for the martial arts class to practice their kick-boxing on. One child after another ran up and landed their ineffectual, feathery little kicks on the bag and Anand was able to hold it up with only half his strength. Suddenly, Hema emerged from the pack like a cannonball, raced up to the bag and kicked it so hard he was knocked right over.
That’s Hema in a nutshell. She grabs her life in both her hands and engages with it. As a child at Latika Vihar, she stood out for her energy and vitality, her lively sense of humor and fun and her willingness to take risks, to try new things, to challenge assumptions and set her own course. As an adult, she is fearless and passionate, full of ideas and sparkle, still taking risks, still setting her own course.
In 1999, she started working as Moy Moy’s carer, a job she held successfully and with great dedication for three years. She then moved on to a full-time job at Karuna Vihar as an assistant teacher. And finally, full-circle, she was appointed coordinator for the littles at Latika Vihar, planning and conducting the activities she once participated in as a child herself.
To Paint the walls red (blue, green and yellow) by Shalini SinhaBorn in 1976, Kanpur - India Masters in Drawing & Paintings, Double Art Specialized. Some of my Certificates/Credits: Participated in “Freedom of Expression Movement - Rang Rasia” | Group exhibition orgamised Aditya Art Gallery, New Delhi | Solo exhibition in “The Press Club of India” | Group Exhibition at Travencore Art Gallery, New Delhi | Participated in Kala Dham workshop Ghaziabad | Been awarded First Position in All India Drawing Competition | Participated in Kala Vithika | Participated in Chikitushi's Presentation Half Century Kala Majma | Exhibition at ANZ Grindlays Bank, Kanpur | Participated in Chikitushi's Kala Mela
When Jo first asked me if I would like to draw and paint on the school walls with the children, I hesitated. Painting over a large surface can be overwhelming, and my earlier experience was that of painful measuring of grids and drawings to exact proportions. The preparatory drawings were fun: looking for references in my children’s book’s got me quite enthused. The lovely white walls waiting to be painted on made me hope fervently that it wouldn’t end up being one big mess.
My initial uncertainty of painting a mural with children was proved so wrong, and what a delightful, rewarding experience it turned out to be. The Latika Vihar children were the first little painters. The spontaneity of the children took me by surprise as each child clamored for their turn and asked what they should paint next. There were so many willing helpers and soon walls were covered with splashes of colour. The paint dripped a bit and the lingering fragrance of linseed oil and turpentine stayed for quite a while, but who cared, it was all great fun.
Next were the morning painting sessions with the Karuna Vihar children. It was a change in momentum as the children painted individually with the help of their teachers: Again, the enthusiasm and joyfulness with which each child made their creation on the wall was something I hadn’t experienced before, nor had I seen such loving patience in teachers.
It was the process of painting, of slowly watching the walls transformed with bursts of colour and images, which was fascinating. Children, unlike adults, paint with abandonment. For me, the pictures on the walls were an expression of joy, vitality and creativity emanating from the school itself, a place of compassion and most of all, of hope.