I have always called Project Why, my magnum opus and my swan song, and often at the close of each year I found myself wondering whether these two images do really hold true. With age catching up and time flying at an unstoppable speed, pwhy is definitely my swan song. The question is whether the final curtain call will be a success or not.
When I look back at the wonderful journey that began 15 years ago, I have no doubt in saying that in spite of some choppy seas, and even some terrible storms, our ship sailed on course and we were able to fulfil what is known in NGO parlance as ones ‘mission’. I do not know how many mission statements I have had to write, and perhaps as we are an organic organisation, there would have been some variants but the real mission, the one that stemmed from the depth of my soul and my heart and was probably never stated, has been the one that has propelled my sails. Project Why was meant to be my way of paying back a debt I have always felt I owed. Privileges that came my way because one day a man sailed on a slave ship and set roots in another land enabled me to be to the manor born; the privileges that came my way because a woman decided not to marry so as to not give birth to a child in an enslaved country and because two wonderful souls that took almost four decades to meet, decided that their child who was born and who grew up in foreign lands would be as passionate about India as they were; and above all because what I saw when I returned to a land I had only seen through the eyes of my parents was not the one I had dreamt of. Something was terribly wrong. But even to get to the moment I could open the eyes of my heart took many years of being so wrapped up in career and family.
The demise of those who had taught me everything and years of locking myself in my grief made my world darker and darker to the point when I saw and felt nothing at all. It would take a broken beggar and his heart wrenching cries to jolt me out of my inertia and open the eyes of my heart. But more than that to steer me on the way of paying back that debt!
Fifteen years later I do not know where I have reached in this long journey. I guess that I can never pay back the entire debt in the short time I have at my disposal. But a tiny part of it has been paid in the small achievements we have realised: be it the fact that the beggar lived and died loved and cared for, that a little scalded little boy every one had given up on is now a young teenager; that so many children who would have dropped out from school are now doing incredibly well; that a young boy born on the roadside is now an international ramp model. But most of all that a bunch of special children, the kind many shun, have a place where they can spend a few hours surrounded by love and laughter.
So does this allow me to call pwhy my magnum opus. I would like to believe so. More so because it has brought into my once lonely life a bouquet of wonderful souls from all over the world who have given me so much love and trust. I now have a family, my family, the project why family and its DNA is that every member sees with his or her heart.
But the journey has not ended. For pwhy to be my magnum opus and swan song, I need to ensure that the future of this family is secured even after I take my last bow.