The story of Shilpi and Riddhi

  Life is very unpredictable. The COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 was tough on everyone: the fight against covid, loss of work, loss of home, hunger, and worse - death. For those who passed away, it might have been a painful or painless death, but for those who had to go on living, life was a constant challenge – the challenge of dealing with the living.

Riddhi Kothari was only 8 years old when she lost her father during the lockdown. She was very close to her father, to the extent that she always turned to him first for pampering and problem-solving. Her little mind could not grasp the gravity of the situation and be quite confused with the absence of her favorite human one fine day. She lost her dad not to covid but to a heart attack, which was more traumatic since it was least expected in a man of just 40-odd years.  

“I did not have the luxury of wallowing in self-pity or sitting back and grieving for such a profound loss. Riddhi and I had to get back on our feet and move forward with our lives. We could not stay in that house any longer as every corner and every wall had memories of the time we spent with Riddhi’s father. We moved in with my parents, who live in a joint family. In a way, it was a blessing to have people around you, but sometimes more people can make you feel more alone. The fact that I did not share my grief with anyone and took ownership of my husband’s business in no time made me very irritable, resulting in not having a heart-to-heart connection with my daughter, which I should have had”, said Ms. Shilpi Parsan, Riddhi’s mother.

The child in Riddhi perhaps did not know what to do. The father she had always had around her since she could remember was suddenly not there. And nothing had prepared this mother-daughter duo for how to deal with such a situation. She lost all interest in her studies and became somewhat aloof. A couple of tutors were appointed to help Riddhi revive her interest in studies and give her a sense of purpose. But they constantly complained about her lack of interest, home-works not being done, and general apathy towards her studies. Her grades fell, and her basics became weak. Her mother also tried to engage her in extra-curricular activities – in this, she showed some interest, but nothing could hold her attention for long.

“In 2020, I got her admitted to Acharya Tulsi Academy Orchids The International School, Newtown, in grade 3, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. I discussed the situation with the school teachers, who have turned out to be a good influence on her. She received some successful counseling sessions at school from the expert teachers at Orchids which has had a great positive impact on her”, said Ms. Shilpi.

“When she came in, Riddhi never used to speak with her classmates; she used to stay very quiet and seemed lost in thoughts most of the time. We understood what she was going through and ensured to give her the special care and attention she required to help her overcome the grief. And Today, one thing I can definitely say is that Riddhi is a much more cheerful and happier person now. When she came to Orchids, it was difficult for her to mix up with her classmates, and she preferred to spend time on her own, away from others. Now she invites them for group studies at her home and loves visiting parks and museums. She is very frank with me, shares her secrets with me, and apart from being her class teacher, I can say that I am a very good friend of hers. I, being her class teacher, became her silent counselor as well. Her mom was also surprised to see her daughter playing with her classmates and interacting with her grandparents more frequently, which never happened after her father passed away. ”, said Mrs. Aditi Roy Choudhury, Riddhi’s class teacher.

“I’m happy that Riddhi is in good hands. Two years ago, I wasn’t sure where to begin. We are both recovering, and I’m grateful to the teachers at Acharya Tulsi Orchids The International School for helping us navigate through this. We are looking towards a bright and better future for both of us”, said Ms. Shilpi.

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