Her day starts early,with prayers. A compassionate animal lover,Poonam Kalra wakes up at 5 am and the first thing she does after saying her prayers is taking out her four pet dogs for a morning walk.
I spend about 45 minutes with my pets in the fresh air. Morning tea can wait, says Poonam.
Go to her spacious house in Sarabha Nagar at any time of the day and you will find it spic and span. She gives the credit to Geetu,her domestic help,who ensures to keep everything in order. With her husband D K Kalra and their only daughter Supriya away at work Kalra is posted in Mumbai as senior manager,Bank of Baroda,and Supriya works with the Borderless World Foundation,an NGO,for orphan girls in Kashmir Geetu is her companion at home. To Poonam,Geetu is like a family member and she sings the same lullaby for her one-year-old son,Rohit,which she sang for Supriya when she was small.
After all her morning rituals,she heads for Darpan,a school for special (autistic) children,by 10.30 am. Poonam spends more than four hours with these children. I love to work for these angels. They are so affectionate. My work is like a coordinator there. I do not consider myself a working woman because I do all these services voluntarily.
Poonam is all thanks for her school,Dr Grahams Home at Kalimpong in Darjeeling,where she learnt how to face challenges in life. This school sheltered all those children whose parents disowned them. We were taught to do all kinds of work. Perhaps,that is why I am here today, says Poonam.
Back home,she first goes to her pets,serving them food,before she takes her own lunch.
As the clock strikes 3,Poonam isolates herself for an hour,to practise Reiki (A Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing).
I enjoy evening tea with my friends and also watch television for some time. The evening is only for myself.
I listen to music and cook anything I feel like, Poonam tells us.
But however busy she may be,Poonam never forgets to meet an old couple living in her neighbourhood. The old lady is like my mother. She cannot move around much. I take care of her dog too. I am there for any help they require.
Her house is an open place for stray animals who make it a point to be there in time for dinner. I feed five pet dogs at night. They are very docile and after the meals they sleep on my porch. I make sure that each of them gets proper bedding. During rains,you can find them on the porch during the day too. Its not only stray dogs that get her attention. Whenever I get a phone call about any sick animal,I arrange for a doctor and medicines. These animals cannot speak; they need care,love and affection,like children. My life revolves around stray animals and special children.
Poonam,who ends the day with a word of thanks to God,says: My motto of life is to live one day at a time. Do your best and set an example so that others can learn from your work.