We get so busy in our day-to-day fire fighting that we rarely take time out to connect with people. Especially in the social space - the myriad challenges and crises that we deal with often leave us with no time or energy to network.
Forums & events organised in the social space have always been a retreat for tired souls. To meet, exchange ideas and rejuvenate oneself. I have seldom attended these events but when I have, I have made some really good friends. It was in one of these spaces that I bumped into Renuka Gupta.
Renuka was the CEO of Pardada Pardadi Education Society, founded by Uncle Sam. Renuka and the Rang De team worked together on launching higher education loans for girls who were pursuing education. I remember, despite several obstacles and challenges we never gave up.
Renuka, to me, was like one of those good, old friends. There could have been several months or years when we had hardly spoken. But it took just a phone call for us to reconnect and we could pick up from where we left.
Always eager to learn, Renuka and her enthusiasm were really infectious. It left behind an impact. Her laughter and conversations would often stay with me days after meeting and speaking to her. When I heard last week that Renuka had lost her fight to COVID, it shook me. I had not spoken to her for more than a year now and suddenly all I knew was she was no longer with us.
I desperately tried to find a picture we had taken when she was visiting Bangalore, but couldn't. But then I realised, that lives like that of Renuka's cannot be remembered with just a picture, but through the legacy that they leave behind.
We hit rock bottom last week as we lost a few stalwarts in the social space, some of who I had never met. But when I read about their work, I know for sure that they will live forever through their work.
My humble prayer and hope are for us to have the strength to follow in their footsteps and create an impact, during our life and thereafter.
So long Renuka!
The team at PPES has put together a fund in her memory for Renuka's legacy to continue. You could make a contribution here https://pardadapardadi.org/renuka/