The wonder that is India

Sunday 20 January will remained engraved in my memory for times to come. I normally shy away from TV appearances but when a leading Hindi channel called to say they wanted to do a programme on pwhy I accepted more for the sense of elation it gives my team. At that time I thought it would be a story on our activities and a little publicity could only help and would look good on our CV!

When the shooting was done I fell off my chair when the young reporter told me that I had to come to the studio the next day as the programme was a live call in one. That was out of my league but one look at the young reporter's face and I knew there was no way I could back out.

I walked into the studio as nervous as someone going in for her first job interview but the kind anchor and then the pictures of pwhy kids as the story was played did manage to calm my thumping heart. But nothing could have prepared me for what was yet to come.

As the last image of the report faded away and the anchor began her introduction the first call came in from a remote part of India and then another and yet another and the beautiful words of love and encouragement from these simple people filled me with a range of emotions I cannot begin to unravel: I just know I felt tiny, humbled and undeserving of all the praise that was coming my way, but at the same time my heart filled with pride and elation as an India I always knew existed reached out to me.

The calls kept coming: someone who wanted to give a month's salary, a bunch of college students who wanted to help, people asking how they could help children, people wanting to help us.. and a simple touching message that simply said: I have no money to donate but I want to work for the poor. I am a housewife...

People from all walks of life, from different states, from different faiths came forward with words of praise and encouragement and offers to help! It was moving and soul stirring and wondrous. Above all it was a vibrant proof of the reality that is India, of the land that we all need to fight for, a reminder of how we as a responsible civil society had to shed our cynicism and selfish ways and stop being armchair reformers and begin acting.

For me personally it was the vindication of much of what my parents had taught me and wanted me to believe. It endorsed my father's last words: have faith in India! Nine years in a soulless city like Delhi had eroded this faith. The simple and candid words that came my way rekindled it and renewed my resolve to carry on my work till my last breath.

That is the wonder that is India!