Palak Muchhal loves it when a heart surgeon tells her: "Congratulations Palak, tumhara bachcha bach gaya (your child has been saved)."
The 14-year-old-girl from Indore has saved the lives of scores of children with heart ailments with her musical voice. The gifted singer uses her stage shows to collect money for children with heart ailments.
Palak’s is one of the five “heroic” stories Star Gold telecast on Monday as part of its Rang De Basanti Salaam initiative. The five selected from across the country have done truly exceptional things.
Now the audiences have to vote in for their hero but there will be no winner or loser. Money collected from the phone text messages will be divided equally among the five nominees.
Palak, who has been singing from the age of two-and-half, has won the Rajiv Gandhi and Samanvay awards and been thrice nominated for the Padmashree.
From early childhood, Palak wanted to make a difference to the lives of poor and sick children. She sang for heart patients for the first time in 2000. “I always tell the organisers to give me a cheque of Rs 51,000 in the name of the hospital where a child is to be treated. And then the audience donations come pouring in,” she says.
So far, Palak has managed to help 218 children overcome their heart ailments. The student of Indore’s Queens College not only garners collections but also sits in the operation theatre reciting the Bhagwad Gita even as “my child” is operated upon. “I can’t explain how or what I feel. I think it’s God’s gift,” she says.
Her mother Anita says: “People told us once Palak reaches puberty, her voice may change and she may not be able to sing but her voice has only become sweeter. We think it’s the blessings of all those children she has helped.”
What else does Palak like to do? “Eating idli-sambar, playing with my dolls. Whenever a child is saved, the parents gift me a doll,” she says.
With TV creating child stars through song and dance reality shows, does Palak not want to become famous? “Whenever I participate in Indian Idol or a Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and they hear about my achievements, I am asked to appear as a special guest.”
“I want to be a playback singer but I can’t stop my charity. I will keep doing it till God wants me to,” she says.