Minki1“The journey has finally begun, now didi will play with me and I will have friends at school”. Minki, sitting by the window in the bus on the way from Malda to Siliguri to attend the surgery centre of Operation Smile India, couldn’t get her eyes off the trees running away. Suddenly she turned to her mother, but before she could start with her queries, she saw tears in her mom’s eyes. Each day since Minki’s birth had been a new journey both for Minki and her mother. At her birth everyone forgot to congratulate her mom as they were sure that god has punished the family by making a cleft in the little Minki’s lip. The first time her mom took her in her lap she could see herself fighting against the whole world. Minki’s didi refused to play with her, “she is not like me”, was the fixed statement given by her didi.  Though nobody wished Minki happy birthday, but she was 5 year old, and her mom took her to a temple nearby. On their way back her mom noticed a crowd. She went near and queried about the occasion. Her heart almost skipped beats on what she heard. It was a camp organized by Operation Smile India where kids with cleft lip and cleft palate were being screened and would get free surgery.” God has finally listened to our prayers. ” The very next moment it all seemed so dark. Minki2They needed to travel to Siliguri for the surgery. They didn’t have money. On her way back she started making lists of people whom she will ask for help. Her venture started but it took 5 longest years. During those years, Minki spent her never ending days in the corners of her house waiting for some light to reach her. No kids would play with her; she was forced to leave the school because other kids made fun of her. Then one day Bmoh uncle called her mom and gave the news, money has been arranged for the travelling to Operation Smile India centre at Siliguri. Minki’s mom couldn’t decide whether to thank or to rejoice, but could feel something rolling down her cheeks, she was crying. Nobody could count the number of times she thanked.They took two pairs of clothes in a bag and started their journey. They reached the hospital in Siliguri where Operation Smile India will help her daughter to get treated and also to get back her smiles. Their eyes had only one question, is it true, will the lips look like one of yours. We tried to explain them the complications that might arise. “I agree to it, I want my daughter to admire herself when she sees the mirror”, was all that the mom said. Minki was taken to the operation theatre. After recovery, her mom was asked to take Minki in her lap. Her lips started quivering with prayers and thanks; she smiled and said to the nurse, “doesn’t she look like a princess”.