The heart of India happens to reside at the Ganga Prem Hospice, in the form of a 14 year old girl with terminal brain cancer. This heaven-sent angel is Reshu; she is the reason my own heart has been breaking and the cracks have been sealed with hope. Reshu came from a broken home with a mother who worked as a prostitute, while living together in a small single room. This beautiful girl confessed that she has been abused in some of the most horrific ways possible. Reshu was eventually transferred to Ganga Prem when she began to lose function of her body. Currently, Reshu only has some mobility in her right arm and leg.
I assumed, under such terrible circumstances, that this little girl would be in a constant state of dismal emptiness. Not Reshu. I could not believe how bright, happy, and incredibly hilarious she was every time I saw her. There was never a day where she didn't smile and engage in playful conversation. Reshu is so intelligent that she learned to sing jingle bells, chant mantras, and say the alphabet backwards within minutes! We would ask her how she was able to do such amazing things. Her answer was simple: MAGIC!
On the last day in India, we had to say our goodbyes to Nani Ma, the Ganga Prem staff, and of course, Reshu. Tristina looked her directly in the eyes and expressed how much we were going to miss her. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, except for Reshu. Her little hand lifted to wipe the tears from Tristina's face. She said with her playful and calm voice, "No cry, only happy."
Reshu embodies the essence of the human spirit. She is a young girl with such a scarred past and a future that involves total paralysis and a short time to live. So how can it be that Reshu is the one telling us to be happy and not focus on sadness? I don't have an answer to that. I just know that I will miss her so much. Maybe by some magic we will all learn to smile a bit more.