For some time now, courtesy creaking bones and aching back, I have come to realise that the courting and honeymoon days of pwhy are over and that it is time to set the house in order. Sounds cryptic? Let me elucidate. For the past ten years I have been trying to answers many deafening whys and I must admit with a sense of pride that we had done quite well. Be it arresting the school drop outs, securing the morrows of the most wretched or empowering those no one believed in, we have done it all. Today over 500 school going children study in our various centres, over 100 toddlers and young souls are off the street and spend the day in a dafe environment, about 20 special children and young adults are learning to live with dignity and 3 of them even have a home and 8 children whose future was in jeopardy now study in a boarding school and who knows may one day take over the reins of pwhy!
But this can only happen if pwhy lives on or in other words if I can put my house in order. Can I, is the question I ask myself over and over again, a question that frightens me and keeps me awake many a night. Planet Why was the solution we came up with but one that is not an easy one as it requires a huge shot of funds before it can see the light of day. We have been working on it and still hope for the best. We have to remain optimists till the very end. Or so I thought till yesterday.
A phone call received yesterday almost brought the house crashing. Let me explain. Even at the worst moments, when accounts are empty and promises few, I have never thought of giving up. Yet, I almost did yesterday! The call was one of many that have been coming our way for the past few months from our bankers! Each ask an inane question, one that had been answered ad nauseum earlier and yet does not seem to register. Who is this donor? What is the money for? is this donor Indian? and so on. And each time one asks why these queries, pat comes the answer: a government requirement. When one seeks a written answer one gets an elusive reply. Mails remain unacknowledged. Everything is on done on phone, making us that much more vulnerable. How can I forget the terrible day when the same bank shut our accounts for no fault of ours: that day David took on Goliath.
To set the record straight we are an organisation that fulfils all Government stipulations and requirements. It is not easy to run a charitable organisation in India. But we do it with application and honesty and our work is there for all to see. Till recently all seemed to be on even keel. But the past months and the prying and almost humiliating questioning by small bank officials has been unbearable and this after the same bank did a due diligence on us recently in the name of new Government regulations! Then why the constant harassing with no reason given? Donations are sent back without informing us, and the pound continues mercilessly. For all these days I have been taking it with patience and restraint answering everything as best I could. How could I forget that hundreds of little souls depended on my endurance. But yesterday something snapped inside me and I was a breath away from throwing the gauntlet down and giving up. I had done enough in the past ten years, more than any and had earned my place in the sun. What no one else could so a large corporate bank had done! They had killed my spirit.
I must admit that it takes a lot to bring my new persona (post pwhy) down. I have battled authorities, slumlords and others and never batted an eyelid but somehow this constant pestering by small and petty bank officials hit me below the belt. It was nothing short of humiliating as you knew they did not have a clue about what was at stake. I was left wondering whether this was the due of anyone wanting to take the road less travelled. What made it worse was that I had made a trip to the bank last week and explained all. I was given the sleek and glib welcome you expect from huge multinational banks, with the expected 'we will get back to you' for every query asked. Needless to say they never got back!
As I write these words, I am trying to pick the pieces up and try and weave them together again hoping that no cracks will remain.