I am really livid! i was hoping that my mellowed mood of the day before would have lasted me this festive season and gently pushed me into the next year but that was not to be.

This morning a worried Prabin, the house master of our foster care programme walked into my office and informed me about a late night knock that came to disturb the peace of our little haven: a posse of uniformed men who romped in noisily as apparently they had been told that we were running a lucrative guest house!

A very lucrative guest house indeed where the permanent residents are 7 lost souls, given up by all and who pays us in smiles, stars on their copy books or a pile of neatly folded clothes. A very lucrative guest house indeed where the most unlikely roomies learn not only to live together but to respect and care for each other; where a half orphaned boy climbs on a chair to help his disabled roomie comb his hair! A very lucrative guest house indeed where simple meals of rice and dal are shared amidst laughter and chiding, where the TV runs for only an hour and all huddle in one room at night to keep electricity bills lows. I think it is time to redefine the word lucrative!

What makes me livid is the fact that someone found it necessary to go an complain to the authorities. What makes me livid is that everyone on the street knows what we do and yet the cops reached our door. What makes me livid is that over and over again we are bothered by uncaring and heartless authorities, even ten long years d won the line.

What makes me sad is that even ten years down the line, in a country where every one knows what the other is doing, one cannot carry the simple work one is doing in peace. If you want to repair the roof of your crumbling building, before you have even knocked off the first brick, a swarm of uniforms descend upon you with their hands lasciviously held out. If someone kind souls form faraway lands make the effort to a simple gift to the children a cryptic sign language greets you as you again wonder where you went wrong.

I wonder when the prowling predators will knock. I wonder if they were able to see the reality as they pussyfooted across our little home or were they too blinded by their greed. I do not know why I feel desecrated. The peaceful life we had crafted with so much effort and love in spite of the innumerable problems we had faced stands violated. The dream to give Manu a warm bed, or to secure Champa’s morrows or to give four desperate children hope now lies exposed.

And as is always the case in such moments, we find ourselves compelled to wonder where we went wrong.

I am incensed and terribly sad.

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