a very special birthday gift

It was a party. One you could never imagine in your wildest dream. Would beat the Mad Hatter's one hands down.

The guest list was unique and could never have been drawn by even the best event planner. Only the magic of pwhy could conjure that one! Age was no bar. You had one year olds and eighty years olds. Country was no bar. Social origin was no bar as some were born on streets and some were to the manor born.

There was little Agastya my grandson who sat with his big eyes and serious look wondering at what was going on. Then there was Utpal the miracle child who should have not been walking this earth but who beat all odds and today is in class III in boarding school. Young Kiran was there too, the lovely girl born on the very week we began our work and who is the best friend of our special class and little Ishaan whose mom and I actually began project why! These were the little guests.

Then there was the young boy born on a road side who became a teacher and then walked the ramp, the three wheeler driver's son who always stood first and today is also a teacher with us. His name happens to be Prince and he is one! Next on the list were two young lads, both from simple homes and both teachers at pwhy. They had just come back from a 15 day tour of Rajasthan as special guests of our Enfances Indiennes friends and were still on cloud nine! There was of course my A team Rani and Dharmendra who have made me almost redundant as they steer the project with perfection. Two lovely volunteers Lorianne and Lewis added their charm as Lewis is a singer and Lorianne a wonderful lens woman.

Then there was a lovely group of people from many parts of France who had come all the way to share in the celebrations. People from different walks of life who believed with me that every child had a right to blossom and bloom. They had come to renew their support and commitment to my swan song.

And then there was my family, who has stood by me like a rock, who had shared all the moments of joy and sorrow, even those that were never expressed. The ones who have believed in me even when I faltered. My lovely daughters, my son-in-law and the one I chose to be my partner.

It was a perfect meeting of heart and hope. The culmination of 10 years of a wonderful and thrilling journey and it could have just been a celebration of this very fact. But that was not the case as hope is eternal and cannot and should not be walled in the confines of a human life. Hope lives on. Two wonderful souls were also present and they held the key to the door that would enable us to anchor our work in time. It was a privilege to have Deepika and Manav with us and to know that they too were willing to believe in our dream of planet why, or should I say planet hope.

I stood there humbled and proud. Was I really the one who had orchestrated this night, a true night to remember? And if the answer was indeed yes, then I feel no guilt in giving myself a silent pat on the back, not forgetting however that the journey is far from over and that I do have miles before I sleep.