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When I was back there in seminary school
There was a person there
Who put forth the proposition
That you can petition the Lord with prayer
sang the Doors many years ago. The passionate lyrics of this song came back to me this morning as I sat composing what was to be my new year appeal.

In a few hours 2009 will dawn. New year greetings are flying across the world wide web, choking inboxes and saturating mobile phone lines. Each message bravely carries a missive for peace, understanding, and hope. Needless to say that the past few months have been notorious by the absence of peace, understanding and hope. Senseless terror and unfathomable economic vagaries have shaken every one’s beliefs.

Pwhy has not also taken its share of beating. It is sad but true that when things take a downside, people find it easy to downsize or even stop their commitments to causes leaving the like of us in dire straits. One would have hoped that the tumble everyone has taken would have redefined priorities and reinstated values like compassion and empathy. But alas, that is not the case.

It is time to petition the Lord with Prayer.

Had pwhy been a business house, it would have been easy to shut the door, put the key under the mat and sit down in some dark corner to lick one’s wounds and wait for things to pass. But when you hold over seven hundred smiles in custody you do not have that luxury. When you have umpteen doors each one concealing its set of dreams you cannot even start deciding which one do you shut first: the one that costs the most but is not also the one that shelters the most desperate souls, the newest one you put up but is not the one that is the most vibrant?

No, Sir, you just cannot shut any of them. You need to find new ways to survive and thus reinvent yourself and petition the Lord with Prayer.

Today more than ever, I wish my one rupee a day programme had taken off. I wish I had given it a better chance and withstood all the false starts. I wished I had pushed it with more passion and not allowed myself to be skunked. I know that too many the one rupee programme seemed puerile and even silly but the essence of the programme was to ask so little from each one that it would not be missed and hence no matter what happened, the tiny amount would still find its way to us and keep us going. In hindsight perhaps I was not able to make my case heard convincingly enough. So here I am again with the same entreaty in a new packaging. I am asking everyone who believed in what we do to commit a fix amount, no matter how small, for us every month so that no door needs to be closed, no smile needs to be lost and no child risks to drop out of school and lose his morrows. Is it asking too much.

Today I petition the Lord that I may be heard.

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To the manor born