everything is a great question...

Creation is a manifestation of the one’s many ideas… every idea one step away from being alone… The meaning is for us to discover. Creation is only a stimulus. All we have to do is respond. And respond well. Everything is a great question waiting for a great answer.” Al Raines

These words dropped quietly into my inbox this morning. A quote from a just published book appropriately called Soul Search Engine. Prophetic words for one who spent the night searching for answers and wishing for sibylline insight.

Project Why has, over the past 8 years, sprung a string of questions needing answers and we have have to their best of our ability attempted to find the appropriate ones. Some have been easy, some more demanding and some even troubling. Yet each one has been portent of a stronger will, a greater manifestation, and each no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible has found a relevant answer.

The past weeks have been a roller coaster ride where dreams and reality have somehow taken a life of their own and left us all breathless and bewildered. We find ourselves with more than we visualised and planned. The foster care programme was not part of our original plans. And yet when it come our way we somehow knew it was to be. No matter how huge or daunting there was something compelling us to embrace it. It was a great question that required us to find a great answer.

From the instant we decided to once again walk the road less or actually never traveled, we have been faced with a deluge of adverse reactions, some biting , some more gentle; some steeped in cynicism, some simply seasoned with caution. This of course led us to try and assess the situation in the hope of discovering the true cause of such a backlash.

What we are trying to do is simply give a few children a chance to a better morrow. It was time to delve further and find out the reality. Somehow the situation was akin to the one I had faced many years ago when the apparently harmless work I was doing had led to a vicious attack from local powers that be. At first I had been perplexed and at a loss to explain matters. I was only attempting to educate slum children. I understood later that the real reason for the onslaught was that I had dared disturbed the existing social fabric and what was held against me was that I had empowered people particularly by giving teaching jobs to people who were meant to do menial ones.

Once again by giving hope to a few children of a Lesser God we were again guilty of the same deadly sin. One did not disturbed existing patterns. To have the audacity to do so was anathema to everyone. In a land where society has been divided in every which way possible, comfort zones have been created and we have all sunk into them, this is part of our atavistic fears. What is troubling is that this attitude is prevalent not only with the illiterate multitude, but even with the likes of us who are supposedly educated. There are things good for us, and things good for them. My child had the right to an IIT whereas their children can only reach the portals of a Polytechnic. What is even more disturbing is that in spite of the apparent economic and social growth of our land, the disparity between them and us has grown with quantum leaps, part of a tacit covenant.

Thus any attempt, no matter how tiny and infinitesimal at truly bridging the gap is bound to be met with strong resistance. Sadly few will have the honesty and courage to accept this fact and will find a host of reasons to explain their reticence: too much money spend for too few, money that could be used for a large number and so on. One will just have to find the right words to counter the attacks and maybe gently lead them to some honest soul searching.

That much for the biting and cynical detractors, but we also need to address the fears and apprehensions of the gentle critics urging us to caution. And I must confess that at the initial stages I was one of them. It is easy to help children the way we have done for years. Giving them a few hours of sound learning and happy moments and seeing them go back to their homes is a safe option. But when one takes the step of wrenching a child from one world and taking them to another, the equation changes. We are not talking of a few hours but of long years, each with its set of challenges. And even though we can sit and plan to the minutest detail, there is no guarantee that things will go our way. We may hope and think and pray that things go well, they may also go wrong and it is essential that we build safety nets at each step to counter them. What me must never forget is that each child that comes our way becomes our responsibility one that we have to fulfill all the way finding the best solution to every problem that may appear.

The easy way could be to once again find a via media, a solution that would assuage the situation and allow us to sink back in our comfort zones but can we actually do so now. It is once again a matter of some serious soul searching!

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