It was a hot sultry summer morning but a long gone promise had to be redeemed. Meher and Utpal had behaved well for a whole week and wanted the promised ice cream. because of the heat we decided to go to a mall near the women centre as I knew that if nothing else, it was bound to have an ice cream parlour!

The mall all glitzy and shining looked like a ghost city. Only a few of the hundreds of shops were occupied. Thank God one of them was an ice cream parlour. The rest were mostly eating joints of all shades and hues with a lone toy and shoe shop making one wonder how it survived. It was a true picture of the recession everyone is talking about. A few people were seen loitering around mostly staff, I could barely spot a client. Meher with her expanders in her scalp looks like an endearing real life ET and was a once the cynosure of all eyes. Everyone looked at her but she did not feel awkward or odd and simply strutted in, screaming in delight at the new things she saw, the most important being the glass elevator!

Kiran and Utpal acted like the elder siblings and took her under their tiny wings and marched towards the ice cream parlour. After a session of intense tasting everyone selected their ice cream and we all sat at a small table. Keeping the flies away was left to me as the children dug into their little cups.

While helping Meher to navigate through her over frozen ice cream my mind wandered as I took in the picture these three children made, a picture that told a touching and wonderful story.

Kiran came into this world almost exactly on the day project why began its activities in Giri Nagar and that too on my mother’s birthday making her that little more special. She is probably the only person in the world who calls me Anou with authority! I remember carrying her around everywhere I went in early project why days and she grew imbibed with the spirit of what pwhy stands for. No wonder that till date some of her best friends are the students of our special section, a place where she spends all her holidays with her very special pals.

Utpal came into my life as a bonny baby I use to watch being bathed every morning till the terrible day he had a tryst with fire and his little life changed forever and so did mine then barely two overcame her initial pangs of jealousy and become the elder sibling and then the soul mate. Recently when Utpal had to complete a piece of holiday homework where he had to write about his family Kiran was very much part of that family.

Little Meher completes the trio. I still remember hearing her very loud voice before looking down at her scarred face. Today as she undergoes complex reconstructive surgery she has two little protectors who make sure that no one bothers her as she struts around like a an extra terrestrial princess!

A beautiful tale of love, compassion and hope that could only be weaved at a place called project why!