One dream one soul one prize one goal
One golden glance of what should be
It’s a kind of magic
One shaft of light that shows the way
No mortal man can win this day
It’s a kind of magic
The bell that rings inside your mind
Is challenging the doors of time
wrote roger taylor for the rock group queen…
strange that these words came to my mind today… the day after having had to face some of the social ills that continue to plague our society: caste, women ruled by their husbands, narrow mindedness..
yet this morning when i saw the little project why inhabitants getting ready for their morning activities, i was once again touched by the magic of our little planet…
look at the little souls in the picture.. a happy lot they seem, intrigued at the presence of the big ma’am…
did you know that one is dalit, the other a muslim, the third a watermark brahman, and yet another a nepali; one is orphaned, the other illegitimate, another is a gypsy; some are very poor others own scooters, some live in airless shanties while the others in well cooled flats… would you be able to stick the correct label on the right forehead…
and yet they as the song says, they are the shaft of life we seek but do not recognise… soon they will be taught the ugly and divisive side of life, but today they are touched by the magic… the magic of planet why..
shhhh.. do not disturb them… it’s a kind of magic
This is nanhe, nanhe means small or tiny.. he came to us a year ago, could not walk, was incontinent, and barely spoke… we put in with the creche children were he spent time on a chair looking at others ..
A few weeks back, we decided to ‘promote’ him to the special section.
Nanhe loved this change as somehow started interacting with his peer group and learning new things: puzzles, hesitant steps, smiles and sounds, sharing his food, anything to say ‘main hoon na‘! ‘hey, here i am, look at me‘ and of course the unexpressed words only audible if you listen with your heart: please love me!
All seemed well on planet why.. till an ugly incident occured bringing a simple question to my mind: when today is over for nanhe.. what about tomorrow.
One of the daily tasks of the special section is to give manu a bath. Manu, the one for whom project why saw the light.. Manu the child like adult, the child of the lesser god, the one with all the labels saying ‘wrong’ stuck on his head, and Manu’s bath, not a pleasant task i agree, is such an issue, but one that brings out the ugly side of India.
There are those who accept this task with love, those who do it as an act of charity, those that do it because it needs to be done and then recently some that refused.. citing all kinds of unacceptable reasons…
When logic and humanity did not work, the axe had to fall and it has on two persons. For us it was a simple matter of fairness and equality: what is right for one has to be for all..
Threats have ensued, threats of violence, threats of legal action and we will take them head on, as the question does not stop with manu, when today is over.. other boys in need of care and love and help would have grown up.. and the solution does no lie in employing a person of the risgh caste, age, sex, creed to do tasks one does not want to do.. creating barriers that seem to difficult to bring down today..
if tomorrow has to come, then barriers have to be broken with the heart!
stay hungry, stay foolish
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dotswill somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Steve Job
Today I had to put my 7 year old dog, Cleo , to sleep. Cleo has been sick since the time she was born. She was a bull mastiff ; but Cleo was also the result of human greed whereby one forgets that nature has laws that should not be broken: Cleo was the result of extreme in breeding. She came to us one night and one look at her was enough to realise that nothing was right: from her distorted legs, to her tongue that was too long: but she was beautiful and we all fell in love with her huge melting brown eyes.
she lived a brave valiant life in spite of her kidneys having failed.. at the end she could barely stand and was in pain.. and today I put her out of her misery… all could say to her as I held her was ‘sorry’..
I was far more disturbed than I thought I would be and shared my pain with a dear friend who sent me a mail with the text of steve job’s speech delivered recently to a group of students. The words somehow dealt with all the questions that were crowding my mind…
You can read the speech here.
many times, when things are not quite the way you want them to be, you wonder why and it is only much later that the dots get connected into often a perfect picture..
Steve goes on to say:
You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
And thinking back I am blessed as I have found what I love in project why and the rewards I get every day of my life.
I just had not realised it ..
Piya, Sudha, Asha, Misha,Paul, Ronnie, Greg, Sandra, Melanie, Jennifer, Ritu, Sameer, Rohit, Rahul, Ben, Eric, Dr Cohen, Dr Rawat, College of Du Page, Nazeer, Himanshu and the list goes on…. are friends we did not know we had, but the magic of project why touched sarmishta one day as she browsed the net and maybe saw one of the little souls that inhabit or planet..
she decided to help them fulfill their dreams of a better tomorrow.. by pledging part of therevenue from the sales of her maiden film.
but that simple generous gesture sarmishta did much more.. she created bonds between people who would have never known each other and made the world that much smaller..
today we are overwhelmed and humbled
bless you all
french fries and curry
when i asked some kids what made them laugh most, they all refereed to the famous chocolate ad where big B leaps of joy at ‘pappu’ passing his XIIth..
well yesterday when rani brought her class X result, my joy was not for the camera, it was genuine .. and that for many reasons..
the first is maybe because i simply love this young spirited woman.. but more than that because from the time i set eyes on her exactly five years ago to the day… she has never let me down.. from accepting to work without salary as a health and nutrition volunteer, to taking on small responsibilities to becoming my right arm and steering the day-to-day activities of project why..
rani was a shy withdrawn girl, who had dropped out of class IX as she had been severely beaten for not having brought her fees in time, and her mom had decided to stop her schooling..
well this year she decided to sit for her Xth Boards, did not even take a day of leave to study – god knows when she did – and came beaming yesterday with her results..
rani today steers a project which has 400 kids, a staff of 40 many of whom i have seen her grow..
but what makes this woman special is that she takes on any challenge with a smile and a determination no one can compete with… somehow she vindicates project why’s stand of empowering people..