I have always found friends in the unlikeliest of places. When I was a child, I found some of my fondest friends in flying chairs and magic trees in the pages of books. As I grew older, I found friends in the young children I met in the remote villages of Ladakh. My heart aches when I have to leave them behind and come back to Delhi, and I wish for nothing more than to give them a friend, a piece of me, to keep in my absence.

 

Rigzin’s Lost Smile is a picture book I have written for the children of Ladakh. Rigzin, the protagonist of the book, is from Liktsey a small village in Ladakh; the first village I visited in Ladakh. Rigzin is a very happy young girl, who always has a big smile on her face. She dreams of travelling the world and loves reading books.  Her favourite place is the 17000 ft Foundation library.

Through Rigzin, I hope that the children I get so much love from find someone to rely on, someone who ensures that their smile is never lost. 

Here is a link to the digital copy of the book Rigzin’s Lost Smile, brought to life with the help of my friend Sandli, who did the illustrations. I hope you enjoy the book.

Thank you Sujata Ma’am for guiding me. A big thank you to Sahu Sir, Stanzin Galdan, Delek Namgyal, Zakir Hussain Sharah, Mohd Shair, Fiza Bano, Anjali Velhankar and the entire team of 17000 ft Foundation.

 

Written by Ananya Saluja

I’m your average eighteen-year old girl from New Delhi studying in the 12th grade at The Shri Ram School, Moulsari. I have volunteered during my last three summer vacations in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, teaching children in the schools of remote villages through the 17000 ft Foundation. It was the most life changing experience, and the childrens’ amazing reactions and responses made even the occasional accompanying altitude sickness worth it.

7 comments

  1. You are an inspirational young lady!

    You are doing such amazing good in a place and world, which seems to be perennially mired in strife!

    Keep it up.

    Wishing you success in all that you do and hearty congratulations on the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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