Ranjana Srivastava is an old friend of mine from high school. Her parents are from India, though they travelled the world freely. As such, Ranjana was birthed in Australia, raised in India, and spent some time in the UK and USA. It was in the latter stay that we met (at Allderdice) while both performing in the school play our senior year. We became fast friends, then best friends.
Because of her birth in Australia, she retained dual citizenship with there and India, and found that her college education would be the least expensively served there (USA schools only offer scholarships to US citizens or foreign nationalists who are coming from foreign countries -- too many of my friends fell through the cracks of this system graduating high school, alas). So, after a visit to Utah to see me, and after a very sad departure, she set out for her new life in Australia in 1992.
We first maintained contact through snail mail (the only time I've ever consistently written letters pen to paper), and then she discovered email. 11 years later, and she still knows more than almost anyone about all of my heartaches, my accomplishments, my joys, and my failures. She has also gone on to become an incredible doctor (oncology), and is married to a very special guy (who every other guy who has met Ranju is jealous of). She also volunteers in India with the Sisters of Charity orphanage and free clinic from time to time.
This is where this site comes in. Her first time volunteering in Calcutta, she would send back emails about her time to a group of friends. Nearly every letter brought me to tears for their incredible poignancy. I saved them all. She came to visit Pittsburgh not terribly long after her time there, and I asked her if I could post the emails to the web so I could share the emails with some friends.
"Oh, Wendy, would you do more than that? Could you make a web site to get the word out to everyone you can?"
And so, I did. She sent pictures to back up the first set of emails (pictures for the second set are non-existant as of yet), and I set up a site with a backend script so that I could easily fix and manipulate things while she sent requests at me over email. I left it scripted rather than dumping to static, because, well, I'm lazy. However, that served a good purpose, because she returned to Calcutta last November, and I have updated the site easily with her new emails.
This is probably the most meaningful work I've ever done in my life, and it's just a drop compared to the incredible life that Ranju leads. I encourage everyone to see this site and find someone really making a difference: