eight years ago i decided to call our field work project why.. the reason was the innumerable questions that needed answers.. and slowly and painstakingly we set out to answer them and we did.. children remained in school and passed their examinations, jobs were given to people who never thought they would get jobs, lives were saved, even those everyone had given up on.. and all along the way there was criticism often stemming out of jealousy of some disgruntled person or the other . So we heard veiled remarks about funds being pocketed, or hidden agendas of sorts..

But as if that was not enough out came the secret weapon reserved for the fairer sex. Let me just say that for the last six years I have heard that so many times that I have started asking myself whether we as women have a right to do anything without being coloured red!

Being over half a century old, I can take the slander but my heart goes out to all the young women who work with me and who have taken a step towards changing their lives for the better.. I know that it will just take one word for their still archaic families to stop them from working and thus end their dreams...

Do I stop all work and end the dreams of 500 kids and all the ones still to come.. just because of this stigma.. If I go to the authorities, then again we will have the jaded: if there is smoke there must be fire syndrome..

We could carry on as we have , but yesterday the accusation was made in a bank in front of a large audience.. and in a few hours I will have to go and face the little puzzled faces of my colleagues whose only fault is to have been born a woman in India..

Am I not entitled to be outraged...