In 1996 Elaine and her husband Samit, with 3 children in tow, moved back to Bangalore from Muscat. Here they decided to build their home, which they poetically called Pairi Daeza, a Persian term that means ‘enclosed garden’.
It was while she was constructing Pairi Daeza that she had first-hand exposure to the plight of the migrant construction workers and their families. Constructing her home were families that had no home, probably would never have one. Whose children had no education and would inherit nothing but poverty to carry forward into the next generation. Who had no hope and hence no aspiration other than the night’s meal, if at all. When she multiplied this with the thousands of projects under construction in Bangalore, what stared at her was a nightmare.
In 2006 Elaine founded Parinaam, to cater to the needs of the city’s invisible communities, the urban poor. Around the same time, Samit Ghosh had set up Ujjivan Financial Services Limited, to provide microfinance services to the urban poor. Her foundation and Samit’s venture, were a match made in paradise.
Elaine was patient when it came to the problems of the lesser privileged but impatient with ineptitude or inefficiency. She could be gentle in her dealings with the underprivileged, but tough when it came to action. She was systematic, a perfectionist and epitomised tough-love.
It is her vision matched with her strong, innate sense of integrity and responsibility that has made Parinaam what it is today. It is her tireless work, that has helped Parinaam change the lives of close to a million people across India.
She started off as a banker and went on to be a Premises Consultant and Furniture Restorer. But it is as caring campaigner for the poor that she will be remembered. She has been a wife, mother, mentor, boss and friend. But it is as a visionary and guide that she will be remembered.
Elaine Marie Ghosh’s was a life well lived. For it created a better life for others.