Thirty years ago a young girl travelled thousands of miles from the shores of Kerala, at the Southern-most tip of India to Mombasa in Kenya. After a tempestuous start, a life in Nairobi begins.
Through the next decades as she matures into womanhood, becoming not only a teacher, but a wife and a mother, Radhika’s life takes many unexpected turns; many times the path plunges so steeply downward that it seems impossible to climb back up. And while it often gets back to level ground, sometimes it does not, but with the direction changing in ways most unanticipated. One thing does grow excitingly clear… the trajectory of this story is, always and consistently, onward.
This book is the story of that journey…
A childhood spent in blissful tranquility suddenly changes, and what was a familiar, comfortable and carefree existence, transforms almost overnight into a journey that transitions through uncertainty, anxiety and change. The childhood home – the scene of so much joy, turns into a place of crushed dreams and eventually, the only way forward is for the young protagonist to leave the beloved home for a new country, a new life and a new direction.
From that point, life changes for Radhika. Most incredibly, the inevitable bitterness that could have served as an albatross to drag her down, finds no space in that expansive, joyful soul. Personal tribulations and great challenges don’t daunt the spirit.
We follow her extraordinary passage in a journey where an ordinary woman hews an extraordinary path. At times the story is so personal and intimate that the heart aches in empathy for her obvious suffering, at other times the success story is so inspiring we are up and rooting for the heroine that could have been any one of us. At the end we are left with a deep sense of oneness with this unique character – a sensitive, sentimental and, at the risk of repetition, ordinary yet extraordinary individual – emerging from the shadows that threaten to engulf into a place of hope and light. Eventually, we realize this was after all, not a story about the shadows but indeed, of the light that has surrounded her throughout her life.
They were days I felt drawn closer to the Almighty more than ever. I had stopped worrying about anything. I had placed our lives in HIS hands and let him steer it as HE pleased. I had complete faith; the kind of faith that one feels when there is nothing more to go through in this life. The fear that had overshadowed life all along disappeared. It was as if I had become a new person all together; confident, determined and strong…
In the children who crowd around her with no inhibition, certain they will receive her attention. In the spirit of enquiry and learning that every teacher in the school encourages.
It is the culmination of three decades of experience and learning. Here, nurtured under the Kenyan sun, this is the place she was meant to be, in the role she was meant to assume.
When you hit rock bottom, there is no place else to go, but rise to the surface. I felt I was going uphill, after being in the depths of despair. Life had suddenly become so eventful; events that seemed to have taken a life of its own to bring to fruition the idea of my school. There was no time for anything else but putting together the school, making it a reality. My world seemed to be on auto pilot with no time for anything else but just my plight to realize the long awaited dream. I didn’t have time to look around, to even notice the days turn into nights or the nights giving way for dawn with the sun rise each morning. I didn’t notice that summer had come and gone and that winter had set in. I had only one thing on my mind and that was the school. I had to somehow try and open it that September.
This is the uplifting story of Radhika Lee; Pioneer, Educationist, Wife, Mother, Friend. Written with courage and a rare honesty, this is a story of hope and inspiration.
Before the night ended, God had planned more surprises for me.
“Rainbows in My Clouds” is divided into three books, each focusing on a different phase of the author’s journey.
Book 1 takes you through her childhood and early years in Kerala, laying the foundation of the story and giving a closer understanding of the character and the forces that move her story forward.
Book 2 begins the Kenya chapter, taking us through difficult times and deep personal anguish, while simultaneously describing how the stellar career begins, finds roots and grows in strength and stature.
With Book 3 the story takes a new direction. Dreams become reality and at last the purpose of Radhika Lee’s life stands revealed.
We are left with not only the educationist and entrepreneur, but with a purpose driven, complete woman.