Bapi, a profoundly deaf boy aged around 9 or 10, had been living on the platforms of Howrah Station when he was found by an NGO back in 2000. They got in touch with shuktara to see if we could take him, and of course we were delighted to.
He was an adorable little boy, and we bonded with him straight away. He enrolled at REACH School in their Deaf Unit, and quickly started making new friends, and learning Bengali and sign language.
In the first shuktara flat we lived in (before we had too many residents and had to move into a bigger place), there was a computer training school in one of the rooms. From then, Bapi has had a fascination not only with computer skills but electrical circuitry and the mechanics of computers as well. This training centre became the start of Uddami, a charity that provides computer literacy training for people from low-income families. Bapi was one of their very first students, and to this day has not lost in his interest and enthusiasm for IT.
Now in his 20s, Bapi has become quite a serious young man. He doesn’t get involved in arguments and if discussions get heated he will simply leave the room. He was an obvious choice to work at Shuktara Cakes, our French Patisserie training centre. He is saving up his wages to get married.
Pappu, shuktara’s Chairman, describes Bapi as "ladla". This is a Hindi word meaning “pet (beloved person)” and is commonly used to mean that whatever this person does, they are always loved. This describes Bapi perfectly.