boyThe tree branches were drooping with the weight of the spring flowers. Ram sat beneath the cool shade of the tree. He was chanting under his breath. He had been waiting for this day for quite some time now. Even though his impatience grew every second, he couldn’t bring himself to go there. Just when he was contemplating, he heard a distant shout of his father. Heart thumping like never before, he jumped to his feet and ran towards him.

His father was running too and as they met, Ram’s father embraced his son tightly. Tears were leaking down his face and he couldn’t stop smiling. Ram was fraught with confusion and wanted the mystery to end. Seeing this, his father informed him-“You got selected, 4 days from now a new life awaits you!!!”

Ram couldn’t believe this. Being born and brought up in a small city, his life had seen more dreams than reality. He couldn’t control his tears, much to his embarrassment and cried too. He then ran to his mother who was surrounded by the ladies from the neighborhood. All were beaming with pride, nobody had ever before cracked an engineering entrance exam in their district and Ram was the very first from their small city.

After exchange of greetings and gifts, Ram began preparing for his new life ahead. His parents bought him everything he demanded. He wasn’t used to this attention. Everyone greeted him with a smile, the shopkeepers gave away free stuff to him. Life couldn’t be better for him. He left for his college next day.

source: spiritualityhealth.comHis hostel was close to a luxury for him. He was allotted a room and soon began interacting with the other boys. The day melted into night and then came the much dreaded part of their college life. The seniors came to the fresher’s hostel and bullied all the 1st year students. Ram being the shy one, stood in a corner and didn’t move. One of the senior boys came to him and asked to strip his clothes. Ram was offended and gave a ‘NO’ for an answer. That boy got angry and called the rest of them to help him.

The nightmare began; they forcefully stripped off Ram of all his clothes. They started laughing and took away all his clothes. Ram fled to his room crying. He felt the world fall apart in front of him. He couldn’t bear the pain. His roommate consoled him and told him to calm down.

The next day went fairly well for Ram, he liked his new teachers and his teachers were impressed with his knowledge too. Forgetting about last night he headed towards his hostel only to be greeted by his seniors near his dorm door with a huge pile of clothes. They told him to wash all the clothes and not sleep that night. Ram had no way out, he couldn’t inform hi parents about it as he didn’t want them to be troubled. His classmates had warned him of dire consequences if he complained about those seniors to the college authority.

boyThe torture didn’t end that night. They made him sit on a hot plate, kicked him taking turns, took all his money away and tortured him each night. He was fast losing his interest in college and started locking himself up in his room. Everyone tried to help him, but with in vain. He was suffering from chronic depression. Now he obediently did what his seniors asked from him. Only inside he was dying every second.

It was the night of the college fest. The hostel was empty, the seniors were away celebrating. Everyone returned with a lot of energy and good mood, the fest was a huge success.

Ram’s roommate was singing a song when he opened his room and yelled out in terror. The whole hostel came to see what happened. Ram was hanging by his neck from the ceiling fan. He was dead. Nobody could believe this, they called the college authority and his parents were called.

Ram’s mother went mad. She couldn’t bear the shock of this incidence. His father was very calm. He tried to question the students, but nobody helped him. They didn’t want the same things repeated to them.

Ram’s father was a courageous man. He filed a case against those seniors with the help of a couple of students who helped him secretly.  He went to the court every day. Hired the best lawyer, ate less, but gave the lawyer his fees. 11 months went like this. Ram’s father was seeing it go nowhere. He was lost, he had no money and the case was losing its momentum in the court. Repetitive court dates, all with same results.

The day of the verdict came. Ram’s father was shaking with anger; he couldn’t let the murderers of his son be free. But he couldn’t do anything either.

Then the golden moment came, 10 students, Ram’s friends agreed to appear in court and testify against those seniors. Ram’s father couldn’t stop crying. He called them to the court and they testified.

The senior students were sent to jail. Ram finally got the justice he deserved.

His mother was improving and after hearing the news, she started showing signs of drastic improvement. Although he lost his only child, Ram’s father pledged to open a school on his son’s name and make every child competent enough to study further. He made this his new goal in life and worked towards achieving it.hope

EXCLUSIVE: Warren Pena leads the community of outreach and caring called the South Norwalk Community Center

Warren PenaWarren Pena is the new board chairman of the South Norwalk Community Center (SNCC). Mr. Pena is Minority Leader of the Norwalk Common Council and a representative with the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network where he works with clients to identify their definitions of financial security. He focuses on solutions that can help make those financial goals a reality. This is part of his mission now for SNCC, since becoming board Chair.

SNCC is located on the first floor of a building at 98 South Main Street in South Norwalk. The Center currently employs an executive director and part-time youth coordinator. It consists of an administrative office and children’s activities room with a computer lab and books. More importantly, the Center is philanthropy at its best – neighbors helping neighbors. There is a spirit of giving alive here that reminds us all of the original purpose for “nonprofits.” The Center’s giving and caring is the most authentic anyone will ever find anywhere. And it’s been that way for 50 years.

1. Why your cause?

There has been a need and today there is a growing need with low to moderate-income folks in our community.  The fastest growing population is the Hispanic community, which we primarily serve.  Our cause is to serve our residents in whatever capacity is necessary.

2. Share one of your finest moments in serving your cause.

Ernie Dumas served food and fried Turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.  Also, during Hurricane Sandy our doors were open for the people to come stay warm or eat a hot plate of food.

3. What might surprise our readers about you and/or your cause?

I grew up in South Norwalk and the SNCC has helped my family for over 30 years.

4. What do our readers need to know about your cause?

They need to know that the SNCC is alive and well.  We are here to serve all people and want people to come see us.

5. Who are your heroes?

Let me start off by saying that my mother is my hero.  She is a woman who has worked her entire life to make sure that her three children did not have needs.  My mother raised us from the ages of 11,10 and 7 by herself.  When I stop to think about what she’s done, it puts a smile on my face and at times almost brings me to tears.

6. Any events or volunteer opportunities coming up?

We are at the beginning stages of re-branding on many levels.  We would love for those interested in helping in any way to call me or the Executive Director.  In addition, we are looking to add members to the Board of Directors. This year we are celebrating 50 years and are planning an event to celebrate our important history of service towards the end of this year.South Norwalk Center