The elephant in the room

Yesterday was a blessed day! It was PTM day at the boarding school but a very special one as little Agastya my grandson was with us. Agastya and Utpal share a very special bond. What makes it unique is that in normal circumstances the twain should not have met as they belong to diametrically opposed worlds. Whilst Agastya was born with the proverbial silver spoon, Utpal was barely wanted. It is a miracle conjured by the God of Lesser beings that changed matters. He commissioned the same old biddy to be part of their worlds.

I must sheepishly confess that when Agastya landed in my life I was a little worried about Utpal's reaction. I needn't have as he immediately opened his huge heart and took him in. He just became the big brother. Now the two have a great time when they are together and Sunday was just that.

The boys romped around the school, played ball, ate biscuits, had a great time on the slides and swings and rolled in the grass to their hearts content. It was a joy to watch them. But as I looked at them so carefree and happy the moment turned somewhat bittersweet. While the future of one of them was safe and secure the other's was at tremendous risk as it hung by a flimsy string. It was heart wrenching to think that Utpal who was laughing his heart out had no one in the world to call his own. His mom has not given sign of life for many months. His fate has been decided by a court that stipulated that he spend his time between the boarding school and my home.

To secure Utpal's future we need to ensure that his school fees are paid till the end and then need to sponsor his further studies. We also need to guide him at every step through his childhood, teens and further. We need to love him, chide him when needed, support him and stand by him. In a word to be his family. It is a huge responsibility and a tad scary. Yet I know that these need to be done with determination and compassion. There is no option available.

Looking at Utpal brought to the fore once again the huge question that hangs around us like the proverbial elephant in the room: pwhy's future. As age catches up I find my energy dwindling and cannot put the same zeal I once had into day-to-day fund raising, hence the need to find ways to secure pwhy in the short and long term. Planet why seems more and more like a chimera. A sound idea that did not find takers as the costs are high and the returns intangible or of of the kind that do not make sound commercial sense. A child's future, a life with dignity and so on are not solid enough grounds.

Cynics would say you can only do that much. I know many Cassandras who feel that one should not worry and let things take its course or if needed trim the project to size. Easier said than done. I have been over the past sleepless nights trying to imagine who would be axed: the little children of the creche, the new primary centre, part of the women centre... and each time my blood has run cold. True I could find many logical reasons to let go of any of these but the heart finds none. Little eyes look at me with hope and trust and all my highfalutin thoughts vanish. What remains is the knowledge that I need to find ways and means to protect them all.

I refuse to believe that in this big world there are not enough people to hear my appeal and reach out. I guess I have to try harder at least till I am around.