Sixteen years ago, on this very day my father breathed his last. Each year this day I remember him. If not of him, there may not have been project why as he is the one who instilled in me the passion and compassion needed to steer such a venture.
Each year this day I remember him, yet each day I see him live in the hope and smiles of the little eyes that greet me as I walk into my office. For Ram was all about hope and belief.
Is dying words to one of his dearest friend were: have faith in India.
As I remember him today war rages in Mumbai, hundreds of innocent souls have died and the lives of many have been irreversibly transformed by the today's foe: terrorism. Yet as I remember him , dying words refuse to pale; on the contrary they seem louder than ever.
All screams to the contrary: the prevalent terror attack, the empty and flawed babble of the powers that be, the hate filled reactions of the so called educated, the insidious feeling of hope lost and more of the same. And yet as I remember the one that gave me life, I am filled with renewed commitment to the cause I defend. I am convinced that somehow the tiny effort that goes by the name of project why is a step in the right direction, that of hope.
Nothing can destroy the spirit of a nation. Nothing should be allowed to do so. And the spirit lives in the humblest of souls, the ones we chose to ignore. For the past three days everyone - I mean every one who could afford to do so - was glued to TV screens watching operation Mumbai. But there were millions who went about their lives without a fuss. They did so with the rare dignity and courage that often goes unnoticed. And yet they represent the India one needs to have faith in, the backbone that allows each one of us to stand, the ones we have not only forsaken but betrayed.
I did send messages inquiring about the well being of the few friends I have in Mumbai. This is what one of them wrote back:
We all went out for dinner last night to Taj Land's End in Bandra. Everyone else I called refused to go out. The hotel was stunned to hear us ask for reservation. When we went there - the police cordon started 50 meters outside the hotel. and they said - the hotel was closed...none of the restaurants were open. We called the restaurant - they confirmed our booking..then we were asked to leave our car at the police cordon and walk. when we went to the restaurant we learnt - we were the first customers at any taj restaurant since the attack.we popped champagne. and we toasted Taj. for staying open for business after all the mayhem, and despite having no customers and of course we toasted Bombay. Even if it was one family out on the streets of Mumbai - we were there and no terrorist or army or police or calamity can keep us down!
Today I remember Ram and today I have faith in India!