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Goodbye Chindabai – The Charity Pays Tribute

WIN pays tribute to one of the charity’s first beneficiaries, who dies after 17 years in our care.

Chindabai at the shelter

Chindabai faced many tragedies in her life. Her only child died as an infant in an accident. Later she caught leprosy and was abandoned by her husband and family. Then her brother tried to take the only home she possessed- which was a shack built on an 8ft x 10ft patch of land in the slums. When she refused to give him the land, he attacked and blinded her.

We discovered Chindabai 17 years ago, living in appalling conditions with her only companion - her dog Kalu. Imagine being blind and not able to rely on the sense of touch because of nerve damaged hands caused by leprosy. Imagine also being abandoned by love one's when you need them most.

Chindabai was a fighter; a survivor, and she inspired Usha and I in the early days of our work.

She had a naughty sense of fun and a wonderful laugh. On one occasion she played an April fool on us. We used the 1st of April as an occasion to gather our elderly ladies and to give them new saris. We always provide tea and samosas on these occasions and they enjoy chatting with each other and with our staff.

Usha played a small April fool on the women by saying that we’d called them under false pretences and that we wouldn’t be handing out the saris they were so looking forward to getting.

"Ahh April Fool!!!"

Ten minutes later some of the women called for Usha and I to come immediately because Chindabai was having a fit. Usha bent down over a convulsing Chindabai and putting her in the recovery position and called for someone to get the doctor. Then Chindabai cried:

"April Fool!!!!"

Oh Chindabai!! Then we all roared with laughter.

In return Chindabai gave us an abundance of love and wisdom. We are really going to miss her.

Usha, Chindabai and Leah

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