Lest you lose faith..

Lest you lose faith..

Whenever I have been on the verge of giving up, and God knows I have more than one would imagine only I keep these moments of weakened to myself, the God of Lesser a Beings, that I strongly believe should now be rechristened God of Project Why, sends me an unexpected miracle to bring me back on track. Today it came in the shape of a Facebook picture I was tagged in. It came all the way from a place I did not even know existed Lliria. It is a small town in Spain, close to Valencia and with a name as lyrical as this no wonder it is the musical capital of the region. It also has a large number of immigrants, many from the UK.

That I guess explains the presence of Spainsburys, a British supermarket stacked with all the goodies you can imagine. more so as Xmas is around the corner. You must be wondering what the link of Lliria and Spainsbury and Project Why is. Till this morning I did not know of the existence of either! So imagine my surprise when I opened my Facebook page and saw a picture that warmed the cockles of my heart and took my breath away.

The heading looked all too familiar as it was the homepage of our old website but the content was different. Hold on. What its said was that Spainsburys was organising a raffle for the benefit of Project Why and the draw was rot be held on December 17th! You could win Xmas Goodies, wine, chocolates and much more. Imagine how humbled I feel. In a little town thousands of miles away people are thinking of our children and reaching out to them. And not just humbled but grateful and loved. Tomorrow we will talk about Lliria with our children and tell them of all the wonderful people who will be sharing their Xmas joy with all of us.

This is nothing short of a Xmas miracle and I feel blessed.

Thank you to all who made this possible.

Love you and Merry Xmas

I will just keep you safe in my heart

I will just keep you safe in my heart

First picture with Papa Prague 1952

I just realised this morning, whilst rummaging for pictures to put in this post, that the first picture with my father and the last one were both taken in Prague the city where I saw the light of day. Strange that the last picture with him was taken more than three years prior to his demise, but that was before the days of digital photography and smart phones and taking a picture was a pother for two souls who preferred anonymity. In hindsight though, it seems that the Fates were conspiring to ensure that both these snapshots were taken in the place of my birth. Blessed I guess.

It has been 22 years since he left me on a cold Sunday morning, shattered and alone wondering who would knock at the door I just banged. The truth is I never banged a door since. In that instant the child in me died and a lost and shaky woman was born. She would have to pick up the pieces of her past life and build something that he could be proud of. No mean task. More so when you have no one to show you the way and catch you when your steps falter. How much easier it would be to slink into a hole and shut the world around and I did for far too long! But on a hot summer day in the year 2000 another lost soul would show me the way. I wonder if Papa had anything to do with this life changing encounter.

Last picture with papa Prague 1988 

One may wonder how an ungainly beggar can thaw a frozen heart specially in a land where beggars abound and we master the art of making them invisible. But Manu did. Was it his heart rendering cries or was it the fact that he always was there no matter what time of day I passed by, almost as if he knew of my coming and waited with aching patience for the moment when I would finally look at him with my heart. Or was he simply taming me, just like the Little Prince tamed the Fox! I do not know. All I know is that one day I did open the eyes of my heart, eyes I had closed shut on that fateful morning 22 years ago to the day when the one who taught me to see everything with my heart left me forlorn and heartbroken. You could not see with a broken heart. Only Manu would be able to mend that heart and teach it to see again.

And he did. He did in a way that would make up for all those years when I barely existed frozen heart and eyes shut tight. I set out to help Manu, something I first believed would be an easy task: a few phone calls an adequate purse! But that was not to be, as helping Manu would entail setting up project why. I did it with my heart and soul as it meant redeeming myself in Papa’s eyes and accounting for the years I had lived forsaking what he taught me. Today I can say that I think I am on the way to redemption.

I learnt many lessons at papa’s knee; the essence of them all would be that in everything thing you do in life, you must retain the ability to see with your heart. And true to his wisdom, I keep him safe in my heart!

Our brand new website

Our brand new website

Welcome to our brand new website. I just uploaded it! It took umpteen hours, breaking back aches, gazing cross eyed at the screen for hours, looking for errors over and over again, making sure there were no broken links till the one moment when you say: enough and upload the files. I know there are many issues but I beg your indulgence and promise to set them right after giving eyes and back a few house break.

This is I think the fourth or fifth edition of our site, and this time I got a little help with the design and the technicalities but all in all the content and feel is mine.

I wanted the site to be a mirror to project why and impart its spirit and essence. It had to reflect the fourteen years we have been in existence and share our journey.

When I think project why I smile! And that is what I hope the new site will urge you to. In spite of all obstacles and challenges, we have always smiled and sought joy in everything we do.

While designing the site, I realised that project why is replete with stories of hope and fortitude that need to be told. This was the needed push to get me to continue writing the project why story that I had begun some time back but somewhat set aside. I intend resuming writing it instantly.

Enjoy our new site!

Off with their heads

Off with their heads

Two wonderful souls decided to celebrate their 60th birthday by bringing smiles to less privileged children thousands miles away. In the country where these children live, another birthday is being celebrated. It is the 75th birthday of a politician. He decided to celebrate his birthday by riding a buggy imported from the land the two souls belong to. I wonder if the two birthday wishes crossed in the sky! But that is not all. The man will also cut a 75 feet long cake. Hubris! What else. There seems to be an abundance of it in our land. I wonder what was the need of importing a buggy all the way from England. And if the buggy, why not the horses, or are local horses good enough. Where will the hubris end.

I often wonder whether politicians and their acolytes are of a different mettle as they seem to have the capacity to be totally oblivious and impervious to everything that happens around them. I guess their eyes cannot see the pain in that of another. They cannot hear the deafening cries of the hungry child or the bereaved mother. They cannot feel the anguish of the very people who put them where they are and believed in the promises they made to get their vote. They seem to suffer from post election amnesia that lasts five year when once again promises are resuscitated for a short spell. You have to cultivate a hell of a toughened skin to be able to ride in a buggy and be blind to what lies around you. Or is power such an intoxicant that it makes you forget the very reason of your being.

Those in power should hang their head in shame as long as there is one beggar child in their fiefdom or as long as one person has to go to sleep hungry. How can anyone think of a 75 feet cake when 5000 children die everyday of malnutrition. A 75th birthday should be a day where you take stock of years gone by and pray for enough time to set things right. But who does that. Certainly not your politician. They seem to live in an impervious rosy bubble where you behave live the proverbial Queen of Hearts and  spout your share of ”off with their heads”!

Politicians more than anyone else should have the ability to see with their hearts. But I guess that happens in only in Wonderland!

Happy birthday to us

Happy birthday to us

What do you normally do for your birthday? Have a party, treat yourself to a day at the spa or to a dinner in a costly restaurant. And if it is a special birthday like you 50th or 60th then you mate go overboard, particularly in India. But when you are a person who see with his or her heart then you do something quite different. This morning when I opened my mailbox a very special mail awaited me. It simply said:  Andy and I are on the brink of our 60th birthdays, Andy next week and me the week after. We thought about what would make us happy on these BIG birthdays, and the nicest thing we could think of was contributing to the smiles at Project Why, so via Jenny you’ll be receiving an extra 120 GBP, a pound for each year of our lovely, happy lives.

You may wonder who Andy and Irene are? Two lovely beings who came to project why on the first day of 2008 and spent the day rebuilding the Okhla Centre floor with the help of the children and the staff. Though we met ever so briefly, I think we walked into each others heart as Irene and Andy have been a huge support particularly when things were hard and I needed a pat on my back. Irene never misses a blog and often leaves a note that warms my heart.

For the past years they have been staunch supporter of project why.They have run marathons and organised garage sales and never forgotten to share what they have with the children of project why.

Andy and Irene are the kind of souls that make the world a better place and help us carry on our work with a smile. God bless them!

Happy birthday!