On my mission to find out why the brand new wall of our school had been broken, I could not have imagined in my wildest dream that the main culprit was Cupid!
Apparently one of the young gang leaders of the are – and there quite a few – was romantically inclined towards one of our students. When she told him that he was not up to the mark, her yardstick being pwhy teachers, the young lad say red. At night he tried to break the wall of the school alone, but when he could not, he gathered 5 pals and they set out to the task of destroying the quite solid brick wall. I presume they were aided by Bacchus too!
On the flip side, the young man in question, was responsible enough to own his action, and in doing so he gathered a few plus points from me.
But it does not stop here, when I went to find out what happened I found myself once again faced with the puzzle that is India. Another student of ours had been beaten by the same band of boys. As I tried to find someone to go and fetch the ‘culprit’, a fat man that oozed bad vibes came and stood in front of me stating loudly that the boy was a very bad element and that nothing could change him, he was scum of the earth. And as his diatribe grew longer and louder, I knew that there was more than met the eye. After handing him a few no child is hopeless and everyone is born the same way, I set out to find more.
I was not surprised to learn that he was the one who first got the boys into drinking and using and then made them do petty crimes. The student who had been beaten had refused to drink!
I am sure that the vile man is working for some politico who works for a bigger wish carefully nurturing the needed brute force to meet their agendas. As I left I was more and more determined to get the boys in my fold and have been trying to find ways, even if the first one that comes to my mind is that rather than break a wall to impress a lady, maybe studying would work better.
I forgot to mention that as I was leaving I witnessed the arrival of the local leaders all offering unsolicited help that of course my staff was politely refusing.
Sometimes everything looks so forlorn, why is it that I always see a ray of hope.
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Our refurbished school that sits on a garbage dump in Okhla is by no means a fancy one. Plastic sheets, a tarpaulin cover and a halfway brick wall is all it is. But to us it is a place where many children learn and are able stay in school, it is also an option for kids the other being petty robbery and even drug pushing.
I had thought that finally people around had understood that we meant no harm were, not land grabbers and hoped that the initial reticence was now a thing of the past.
This morning the teachers found that a wall had been broken at night. I find it hard to explain such an absurd action. What would instigate someone to break a pathetic looking structure that has never hurt anyone. For me the pain is deeper as I realise that maybe the adversary is too big, to strong and too unprincipled for an even fight.
What stops me in my thought is that ultimately it is children who once again are the soft target that everyone is willing to trample on. If I give up I will once again hurt kids.
I know I will carry on, but I also know that every act of this kind takes its toll on my very spirit.
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I have been thinking for the past few days of drafting my Dear A.. letter whereby I will seek help at ‘this festival time‘ etc…
Over the years my contacts list has been growing and what was an easily done task a few months back seems daunting when you see over 800 ids on your list and as I have always written each individually..
So as I sat exercising my writs and my back and gathering the courage to begin, pat dropped a mail from abhi stating that she had launched another contest to garner funds for us pwhy. Then came another mail that said that a Diwali Charity Contest had named us as beneficiary..
I guess we have crossed an important milestone as on the one hand the attacks against us are growing in quantum leaps, and on the other hand many now remember us at festival time without our usual appeals.
I have always held that trustworthy development programmes have to be self-funded if they are to remain independent of outside meddling. I still hold on to my ultimate objective of seeing the beneficiary community taking on part of the responsibility.
Initiatives like abhi’s are a great way of pitching in till we fly on our own wings. maybe our blogger friends could come up with new ways that could be creative, fun and at the same time rewarding.
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Funny how things happen in life. I had two encounters today one with a European houseguest on a bharat darshan, and the other with a friend of a friend who dropped by.
The reason for this blog was that they both had similar views about the reality we live in. My European guest hold quite a cynical view of life and seems to see sinister plans in everything around be it in India or elsewhere. he feels that people like us are doomed to failure as there is no hope at all. His solution is to mark time and accept the inevitable.
The other person a well educated lady, once a teacher was so dejected by watch she saw and experienced that she gave it all up, seeking greener pastures without much success. Now I must say that both have sufficient resources to check themselves out and live on the fringe of reality, quite comfortably traveling to their hearts’ content.
What disturbed me is that they all have the ability and the means to be agent of change but opt no to. I am not one to sit in judgment. And though one may have thought that I would be deterred in my ways, quite the contrary happened. I still believe that changing one life is worth it.
What has fueled sinister programmes or abysmal conditions is probably the fact that those who can say or do something prefer to shut their eyes and look away making the adversary bolder.
In a few days we will be celebrating Gandhi’s birthday. The TV channels are replete with programmes about his relevance today in the wake of the new Munna Bhai film. Maybe this Gandhi Jayanti one should just ponder about the man we call Father of our Nation and look at his way of dealing with the problems he encountered and one would realise that no matter how sinister the plot, there is a absurdly simple way of wearing the adversary down, if one has the courage to assume responsibility for what ails us.
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At a time when much seemed dark, a ray of sunshine was brought by little children who decided that they would be better than big people and help their friends who are not so lucky.
These kids belong to countries as far from each other as France and Singapore but be it Maxence, Natasha or Haimuel.
When Maxence saw the Okhla centre sitting in a garbage dump he did not have the kind of reactions that adults have, he did not smother us with meaningless words, he just looked with his heart and made a decision that he did not even disclose then. he went home, fished out an old detergent box asked his mom to print out some pics from the pwhy site and made a donation box where he asked his pals to put in the money they would have spend on buying him birthday gifts.
Last week he came clutching his little box that had a fair amount of roupies! That money is priceless as it is steeped in so much love.
Natasha and Haimuel, 9 and 7 respectively decided to forego their pocket money simply after reading about us. Another bunch of kids from the French school collected funds in the same way and today Okhla has a tent thanks to them.
What is it that makes little act in this way? I do not know but I hope that one day the children of my land will do the same
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