A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.

child

a child will get a new heart, two little girls may be able to live a normal life, a bunch of kids people had given up on cleared their Xth boards with marks as high as 75%, a little girl who could barely hold her head two years ago at age 5, dances and laughs..

and we do feel proud today…

because we never gave up, because we never turned anyone away, because we always took on challenges and above all because we learnt how to kneel so that we also could stand tall!

the blade broke…

preeti
everyday, when I leave for project why, I always wonder what will happen, as every day I learn something new that often makes me change my ways…

It can be something a child says or does, some wondrous achievement that fills you with delight and joy, it can be a mishap that makes you hare down in many directions..

But sometimes nothing prepares you for the encounter of the day… like today!

Preeti and her sister had not been coming for many days. The family had recently shifted to a make shift camp nearby, the father being a construction worker, but normally the children did come, even if it was a little late..

We had been a little worried and tried to find out why the girls had not come.

One of our staff members was sent out. Hew came back and told us that little Preeti’s finger had got stuck in the fan…. what I never could have imagined is what I heard next. When the father was asked how the child was, the answer was: the blade of the fan broke…!

A thousands thoughts crossed my mind: how bad was the hurt, was a tetanos shot given, had infection set in… Tomorrow we will find out what happened and we will see that Preeti is given the care she needs..

Later I sat back thinking at how those words uttered by a father showed the total lack of concern about a girl child, particularly the second girl… that she was probably in pain did not matter, that she needed medical attention did not cross anyone’s mind.. some dirty rag would have been tied, and the god of lesser children would have, once again to work his miracle!

to the manor born…

kiddos

arun’s operation has been shifted from the glamour of Apollo Hospital to the down to earth corridors of AIIMS.

many will wonder why?

Should I just say that only a few are to the manor born, and project why is not one of them. So then why did one even consider it…

Till recently we citizens why lived a simple life, solving the numerous problems that come our way, as best we could, within the realm of what we knew was available to us. The kind doctor next door, the government hospital where we could find an acquaintance, often a simple worker…and somehow the god of small things and lesser children was always there to help. We managed two open heart surgeries, saved a child from third degree burns, and took care of numerous ailments. Where there was a cost to be borne, we appealed to all our friends and help always came… the virtual begging bowl never failed..

Then one day came an award, the lights and glare of the media, the rush of adrenaline that happens in spite of one’s self. And to be honest one lost one’s way and for sometime got caught in a reality that was not ours.

The god of lesser children did try and steer us away, as right from day one was not comfortable. Sadly it took a while to understand that not every one is to the manor born, and that project why has to remain within the reality it can sustain and live by honestly.

So we made the course correction needed and are back on a road we know. Arun will be operated by what is the best available to all children born in India.

citizens why are not to the manor born!

“Every child is a thought in the mind of God…

karuna

and our task is to recognize this thought and help it toward completion.”

Everyday I get reminded of this beautiful quote as I look at the little children who come to project why. It is amazing how each little pair of eyes that look at you as they mutter their often inaudible and even incomprehensible : morning maa’m, tells a story.

Look at little Karuna, my angry young lady! She seems to be perpetually cross with god knows who, maybe life itself… She goes about her daily routine, but rarely smiles..

Some eyes are filled with hurt, others with longing… still others with resignation..

I wonder if they are aware that we adults will never discover the divine thought that brought their creation, and that by the time they are able to explain it, it will be too late.. there will be no one willing to listen…

Sometimes small children do share things that sound like dreams and we just brush them aside.. but next time a child does say something, even bordering absurdity, just stop and listen…

the planet that repairs broken hearts

green
the past posts on this blog may have sounded to some full of anger and even hurt..
as i reread them on this quiet and hot sunday morning, i realised that it may have given to those who do not know project why, am impression far from reality..

so here is a glimpse of what our little planet really is… and above all the spirit that pervades it..

planet why is a beautiful place, where in spite of all the problems and realities that surround it, children find time to be children… a world where adults do not shout at them but laugh with them, where there is love in abundance…

where hurts are healed, problems shared, and solutions found…

it is true that it lacks space and many of the things that a child centred environment should have but does it really matter… children come no matter what…

planet why is a place where the little prince finds a flower to water, and so what if there is no fancy watering can, an old discarded plastic bottle does the job just as well… ans so what if the flower is not a ‘pedigreed’ rose, it is a one that what was planted with care by children often called those of a lesser God!

planet why is a place where difference is celebrated and respected, where each inhabitant, no matter how small or insignifiant in the outside world, is king, at least for the fews hours spent on this planet…

this week is important as a child’s broken heart will be repaired..

so are we simply the planet that repairs broken hearts!

whose life is it anyway!

twins

ashya and fatima are twins
they are 2 years old
all their milestones are delayed
they cannot walk and cry in pain if made to stand
they cannot talk.. nor do any of the things a 24 month child does..

they have been with us for almost a year and have not grown…
ashya and fatima have two elder sisters. the father drives an auto ricshaw and the mother takes on export ‘piece’ work..

the twins are neglected and have severe behaviour problems…

we recently took them to the doctor and were horrified to learn that they had a haemoglobin count of 4.6 and 4.3…

i know we are primarily an education support programme, but then does one sit and do nothing when faced with the tragic reality of these two innocent babies…

as i write these words i shudder at the hopelesness of the situation.. what is the value of two little girls whose chances to a normal life are very remote.. who were born into a society were girls have no place.. but then can one wish them away..

the doctors will give a verdict and a road map which may or may not make up for the lost time.. but then who will implement it.. and above all sustain it..

soon these little girls will become a burden no one will want to carry…

where does one begin…

but then can one just look away…

and his heart beats on..

arun2

By this time next week Arun’s heart will be repaired ..

It should have been done years ago..

Today is the first time I could spend some quality time with this quiet, unassuming child… His tired smile was filled with hope and his frail body spoke volumes ..

Arun speaks in a soft, barely audible, voice.. he seems to have perfected the art of being unobtsrusive, almost invisible..

I wondered what went on in his mind .. Arun has held on to life.. imagine this child has gone through so much medical investigation.. so much discomfort and even pain.. and yet he continued to hold on..

I asked him what he likes eating and he simply said lauki and khichri… I guess this has been his diet for many years, a diet normally given to sick people..

Next week doctors are going to repair a congenital defect, something that would have been done years ago if Arun had been born in your or my home..

I know we will not be able to give him back his childhood, but let us hope Arun will soon lead the life any 14 year old should….

jump the band wagon

babyfist

why is it that if one person thinks you have done a great job then everyone wants to say the same..

then you wonder whether there is any value at all to the ‘awards’ and ‘merit certificates‘ that get thrown at you.

strange that some of those who call and write praising you, have not even bothered to come and walk the hot streets and look into the children’s eyes..

for us at pwhy it has been ‘recognition month‘, newspapers, tv channels rotary Club and more…

I feel both amused and livid when I have to answer a call where after saying that the person wants to do a shoot or interview or hand a piece of paper he quicly asks: by the way what is it exactly that you do? or what is the nature of your work?

A dear friend who holds most of the media of today in contempt is even upset that I accept and go through the motion each time and get hurt almost every time…

But then when you hold the future of trusting children, like the one who sleeps in the picture, in your tired and feeble hands you cannot afford to brush anything away, as maybe, in spite of all the galling occurences, there maybe one person who will reach out…

So you carry on…. and deal with the hurt and the upsets by writing blogs such as this…

And sometimes add a touch of humour laced in sarcasm… as that is the only thing that helps..

Maybe all this is just a reflection of our times, when everyone is in a hurry, where ridng piggy back on others is the accepted norm, where a good story is the one that makes you cry in dispair or run in disgust…

So just as there are food festivals and commercial promotion weeks, there is maybe also pwhy award month

And as all things must past, this is will also go by and we will get back to our normal life.. a little angry, a little sad and a little tired… but ready to move on

C’est la vie!

A bone to the dog is not….

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog..
goes the proverb

The past days have seen a flurry of activity as an entire network of whyBees have been buzzing in order to ensure that young Arun’s hurting and tired heart is repaired..

There has been no dearth of support in terms of concern, love, time and all those intagible things that add real value to things..

Money too.. of course!

In everyone’s mind only one thought and the same silent prayer in everyones’ heart: Arun has to make it!

nothing seems important at this moment..

We all know that the surgery has been made possible by the help of the big O.. the details of which i will share one day, but beleive me when I say that I fell of my chair when I got a call, yesterday, when Arun is still battling for life, and the operation a week away, requesting me to be part of a pr excercise highlighting the achievements of the O family!

I was to learn later via the net that ‘they‘ wanted ‘us‘ (that includes Arun who is not allowed to move) to get to a Reliance web world (whatever animal that is).. etc etc

I just answered that at this moment I felt that decency demanded that we just focus on Arun’s well being!

Whether the big O had come by or not, Arun’s operation would have taken place, we had set our famous “Virtual begging Bowl” in motion..

Is charity the latest fad to get publicity… and at what price

Can the pr excercise at least wait for the child to be well… it would just be humane and decent..

Let me share a quote of St Exupery, the pilot who conjured the Little Prince I so love:

Charity never humiliated him who profited from it, nor ever bound him by the chains of gratitude, since it was not to him but to God that the gift was made.

and blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting

Have we lost the ability to see with our heart as the Little Prince urged us to!

whose heart is it anyway!

Arun, a dalit boy of 13 who looks 9 will undergo heart surgery next week…
Today we were worried as the doctor feel his condition is deteriorating…

A wonderful support network has suddenly been set in place by the magic of the net and people from all walks of life, people who maybe a few moments back did not know each other, or project why have been by woven by invisble strings into a beautiful web of love and concern for an unknown child.

Arun should have been operated 2 years back; his parents had even collected part of the funds requirted, but the sudden demise of both his paternal grand parents led to the funds being used for funeral rites.
The family could never collect the sum again as the father lost his job and two sisters had to be married..

Arun waited in the wings, nursing his hurting heart…

Did the child ever question the unfairness of life or did he simply accept the reality he was born into: that children are very low on the scale of priorities..
Time went by, slowly taking its toll of many hurting hearts…

We got to know about Arun only a month back and set what I have decided to name why’s support network in motion. mails were sent, calls made and slowly the impossible seemed possible..

Then came recognition, media glare, celluloid promises and hope that maybe this time things would be different. They were as arun’s main operation is taken care of by a complex nexus that I will chose to ignore as it gets the worts out of me. There were battles, and some home truths spelt out but then things fell in place and the date has been set.

But silently, in the background the little whyBees continued to spin their web and fill all the spaces still left, always ready to work harder should nexuses fail!