Every centre for poor children has at least one girl like this one - a child completely absorbed in the task at hand (a task most likely self-assigned), oblivious to the chaos around her.
I have, literally, hundreds of such photos: photos of brave, vivid children, busy with a painting or a sand castle or a game of badminton, completely and utterly immersed in a world of endeavor and achievement and imagination.
I salute them.
They astonish me.
They come in every day, full of energy and hope, ready to start all over again. They come from their homes where, in the monsoons, there may be three inches of water on the floor and they do their homework crouched on the bed, guarding their books from the leak in the roof overhead. They come from their families where Dad is out of work yet manages to find money to drink; where Mom holds three jobs to pay their tuition fees and keep them in sandals and the occasional ribbon for their hair.
They come in and they come in and they come in - day after day after day - because of an unquenchable desire for more in their lives; because of a belief that somewhere, in a book or a painting or a new vocabulary word, they may find a clue, an answer, a design.
They are our future and our legacy. They pin their hopes on us and we dare not disappoint them.
(Photo of the two young dreamers by Muir Adams)