a silent reminder

Yesterday we celebrated Ram's centenary and India's Independence Day. It was a a wonderful and somewhat poignant show that brought together many India's in one small hall. The children of course were the main stars. There was song and dance and even two plays in English written, directed and performed by our children and staff. The audience was fabulous and applauded every effort with fervour. I watched almost mesmerised. At times I felt a knot in my throat and my eyes were moist more often than I imagined.

As the children performed act after act I was filled with a deep sense of responsibility. All the children: those who sang and danced and those who watched their pals and applauded depended on me to protect their morrows. True I was not infallible but what drove me was my unfailing belief in the sad reality that each of these tender souls had been let down by one and all. Everyone of them carried the potential to become the very best but was hampered by their reality - social background, economic status and so on - and by the reality of our times - pathetic state of schools, staggering cost of good education, denial of rights and so forth-. And though we did not pretend to give them their rightful due, we at least could offer a ray of hope and a possibility for them to achieve something, if not everything.

The option of pulling down the shutter was not open to us, no matter what obstacle came our way. This is the personal message I got from yesterday's show. And the most poignant one was the silent anthem performed by very special children doomed to a hopeless life were we to go.