Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.” wrote Voltaire. For the past week or more my pen has been silent, the words frozen in a tired mind. I guess this happened after the 3 D pictures of planet why landed way, bringing a strange inevitability to what had been a cherished dream for more than five years. Where I should have been jumping with joy I instead found myself ridden with doubt and apprehensions. Where I should have been furiously composing mails, blogs and proposals heralding to one and all that we were finally there, I found myself turning strangely uncommunicative and mute. Where I should have been passionately polishing and sprucing up my good old virtual begging bowl and seeking the much needed funds, I found myself reluctant and even unwilling to retrieve it from where it lay dusty and almost forgotten. Something was terribly wrong, this time not with the world but with me.
Was this not the moment I had waited for for ever so long. Was not planet why just a moment away? Had not everything finally fallen in place? Then why was I ridden with doubt. Was pwhy’s sustainability not the one and only thing I had wanted from the day the journey began? Then why was I suddenly voiceless. It was time to soul search. I must admit that I was at a complete loss and did not know what to do and where to start. It was time to call up on the Cartesian mind I always took pride in and analyze the situation.
Planet why was undoubtedly what I wanted then why was I running scared? Was it the sheer size of the images that had landed my way that filled me with fear. True I had never imagined it to be so. Was it that they did not quite fit with what pwhy stood for till now: reclaimed pig parks and garbage dumps, road sides and street corners, kerchief sized and windowless rooms. Was my dream tinged with a hubris I had not been aware of. Was a huge building needed to protect the spirit of pwhy? Or to put it another way was pwhy’s spirit large enough for such a structure. Was there a disconnect I had not been aware of whilst building my dream?It was time to find out and I did not quite know how.
That is when once again the God of Lesser beings came to my rescue, though I did not quite realise it at first. Not knowing what to do to deal with a restlessness I could not share with anyone as I would have seemed nothing short of foolish, I decided to download all my blogs and read them again chronologically. I looked for ways of doing it rapidly but not finding any – and thank heavens I did not – I set about the task of copy pasting each one individually, all one thousand one hundred and sixty six of them. And as I did, pwhy came alive in front of my bewildered eyes. I was spellbound as I read each one of them. It was a treat of all the senses.
The story began five years ago when my pen was still somewhat hesitant and naive. I found I had recorded every little moment of pwhy and though it may seem to some as extremely wide-eyed, it truly reflected the spirit of pwhy where nothing is too small or too inconsequential. Every lopsided smile was worth recording, every seemingly meaningless tear merited to be addressed. And I did with all my heart. There was anger too, at things that did not seem right but it was somewhat guileless. Every tiny achievement was recorded and celebrated and carefully logged.
As I read on I discovered how I slowly found my voice. It was strangely comforting as I had often been one to remain silent. But somehow pwhy has empowered me to start reacting and venting my feelings even though in a barely audible way. Laced in between everyday occurrences were hints of concern be it about the girl plight child, the state of education for the poor, or the precarious nature of slums. Even five years ago these had been felt and expressed. And today many were vindicated in more ways than one. Over time my voice had become louder and my words more and more mordant. Wonder why? A question I need to answer some day.
But the one thing that is woven like a leitmotiv in a Wagnerian opera right from the very first blog is my fear of the future, my angst about what would become of planet why after my exit and that is why ever so often there are references to the elusive sustainability of pwhy. But then I did not know at what price it would ultimately come and how alien it would be from what we stood for. Or was it? What where we really trying to sustain. Was it worth the tag? I needed to read more.
I spend the next few days reading he 1000 odd pages. I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that it was in no way tedious or boring. Neither was it the normally annoying drag of rereading what one has written. Far from that; at times I got so engrossed that I even forgot that I was its author! As I read page after page, the last five years of pwhy came alive in front of my curious eyes. So many things that had been forgotten along the way: the plethora of human and humane stories that brought a smile on the face; the indomitable spirit of blessed like souls like Manu or Nanhe who gave a total new meaning to life; the simple yet cogent answers to complex issues mouthed by innocent children when God simply becomes Boman (Bhagwan pronounced by a two year old) and makes you wonder whether he is not simply that a beau-Man! The list is endless, each instance confirming in its own special way that we must have been doing something right. Then interspersed in between are the concerns and disquiets be it about the plight of children in general or the girl child in particular, about education and habitat for the poor, about new feudal masters and so on and the often implied need to try and do something.
This post is not meant to be a synopsis of a thousand and more blogs. I it is simply an exercisein soul searching meant to validate a belief: the belief that pwhy is worth fighting for, that no tag is too large when it comes to giving special children the right to live and die with dignity; when it comes to helping a few hundred children build a better future, when it comes to empowering people everyone had given up on to take hold of their lives.
It is time for me to walk the talk; to jolt myself out of this false comfort zone I am sinking and to fight the last battle to the very end.
“Any belief worth having must survive doubt”. I guess mine has. So help me God!