I almost did not go! The sky was laden with dark grey clouds threatening to rain and if I were to catch a sniffle it would spell disaster as Ranjan's immune system is close to nought with the darned chemo. But then even though large drops started falling I decided to take a chance. It had been too long since I had seen my kids at the women centre and as they were celebrating Independence day with their usual fervour. I thought it would be a nice outing for my grandson too. So off we went and the rain Gods were on our side. They had played spoil sport earlier and that had compelled the women centre team to reorganise the sitting arrangement and the stage had to be in the open so that all kids could be seated under the tin roof.
The show was lovely. The flag hoisting, the National Anthem sung loud and with great zeal even if some were faster than the others, and some out of key. That is what made it that much more touching to me. It was not a well rehearsed performance but an anthem sung from the heart. Then the children presented a show with dances and songs and speeches. I was impressed by the quality of the performance. Some of the solo dances were I was told self taught, courtesy TV reality shows, and quite impressive. A robot dance was particularly well executed and loved by my grandson who delighted us all evening with his version it.
As I watched these little and not so little faces, I saw so much hope in the eyes of every child that my blood ran cold. I had just finished writing a blog on Independence day
and what it meant to me and my parents and how disillusioned those who fought and lay down their lives for this day would be if they saw India as she is today. It was easy to rant and rave and write words that would remain just that: words - that may or not be read - soon to be forgotten. Looking at these children, all three hundred and more of them, I realised that they had set their hopes in what we could give them and do for them and thus the responsibility that someone - let us call him/her god with a small g - had given us was far larger than what we could imagine. It was OK to rant and rave about things that were not as they should be, but we had been 'chosen' to right a wrong for children born half a century after India became independent and still stuck in a rut of promised not fulfilled, deprived of all the rights that were theirs just because they were born in this land.
So though I am going through a bad patch, I cannot and will not give up the pledge I made to myself many moons ago. I have to make that little difference so that the hope in the little eyes I saw becomes the reality these kids deserve. A reality that became theirs on August 15th 1947 but never reached them.