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Of all the precious children that have come my way since the fateful day I decided to cross my Rubicon and enter a world I barely new existed but feel in love with at first sight, it is the very special children of project why who have given me the strength to walk the less travelled road, and been the reason that compelled me to never give up even if at times the journey seemed somewhat Sisyphean! It is for them that the very idea of having to close the door someday was anathema. They have been and are the wind beneath my wings and have enabled me to face every challenge that came my way, and to kick myself hard when the idea of giving up dared raise its head. Was it not Manu, the most deprived of all, who walked into my life and heart and showed me my destiny. Even today, I feel his presence urging me carry on till the day I know my children are safe even when I am gone.

For the past decade and a half I have prayed to all the Gods of the Universe to show me the way forward and to send that one big miracle that would secure the morrows of my children and fulfil their dreams.

It is said you must dream big to see your dreams come true and I dared dream big, very big. It all began on the day when Manu came into my life and I had the audacity to envision a perfect home for someone everyone would refer to as a beggar. The perfect home had to be a place where love abounded and safety and dignity were paramount. I dared dream of a space that would be large and beautiful with flowers and trees that he could tend to. God granted me my dream, though in what I felt was a truncated form. Manu got his home with a comfortable bed and oodles of love and care, as well as friends and pals, but there were no trees or flowers to be tended though there was always a cache of biscuits his favourite treat! In the meantime, I was busy crafting a larger dream one I called planet why.

But one a cold January afternoon Manu slipped away leaving me lost and rudderless and for a while I wondered whether this was a message from the heavens asking me to give up what many considered an impossible dream. But when I closed my eyes all I could see was Manu’s incredible smile urging me not to give up as if I did, then his coming into my life would have been in vain. He had not suffered all those years and born all the scorn and indignities as roamed the streets in cold, rain or scorching heat waiting for the day I would come into his life and he would finally be able to fulfil his mission. He had left when he was sure that I was strong enough to weather any storm that came my way and would complete the mission that had become ours. It was the only way I could validate and honour his life. If I failed then his existence would have to no avail.

There was no time for tears or recrimination. The need of the hour was to give substance to the planet why dream and even the Gods smiled as we found land and the money to purchase it. The search for funds was also initiated and we even got someone who seemed interested and promised to give us the money needed. Then it all feel apart. The person disappeared without a word leaving me once again bewildered. The land lay fallow and bare as we tried to figure out other ways to fulfil the dream. Prayers never stopped but nothing worthwhile seemed to happen. Even when we decided to sell the now appreciated land, and purchase something else closer we found no takers.

I was again lost and resorted to what I did best: pray! I simply refused to give up. I could not because of Manu’s smile.

When all seemed hopeless and dark I guess someone, God or Manu, took pity and sent what could be the miracle I so fervently sought. Once bitten forever shy I guess. I am barely able to breathe, let alone believe that the dream will come true. There is more waiting, more toiling, more praying and that is why I beseech you to say a little prayer with me.

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To the manor born