Chapeau Bas

There are many side effects to my husband's cancer and chemotherapy. I am not talking of the medical ones listed on every site possible. I am talking about the good side effects, those that are unique to each case of Mr Hodgkin and his ilk. These are the unexpected side effects, the ones that are serendipitous and happen without warning and warm the cockles of one's heart.

For the past as many years as project why has been in existence, I have never failed to go each day and spend time at the different sites. I do admit that the time spent became shorter as the project became bigger and the team stronger, but still being the control freak I am, I could not resist going or if I did, resist I mean, then I would call I do not know how many times and then grill the girls when they came home. Even when I left the city for a few days, and it must not be more than 10 spread over 10 years, I never missed calling. In hindsight I must admire my team for their patience and forbearance. They must love me immensely! And though I did trust my team implicitly. It just that me control freak who could not give up 'my control trip and limit myself to my duties: raising funds and writing! I guess there was a bit of an ego trip too as project why was/is what I have done best in my life, or so I would like to believe.

But a man who died almost 200 years ago changed everything when he decided to come visiting! I mean Mt Hodgkin of course! His arrival meant a change of priorities, at least till things got better and he was booted up. But he is a tough customer and here to stay for some time at least. Unlike others of his kind, who get pacified with a few pills or pokes, this guy is erratic and unpredictable and demands all your attention. So its is one control freak pitted against the other. But I am digressing, this post is not about the flights of fancy of Mr H, but about the good side effects of his unsolicited presence.

The past two months have seen me withdraw and ultimately take leave of absence from project why. A case of force majeure! My time table is so hectic and erratic that there is no may I can plan fixed time for project why. Not even the phone calls! Yet project why had been running perfectly thanks to three incredible persons who not only carry on the day-to-day activities, but handle all challenges and problems with flair and aplomb. Rani who was just a kid when she first came to us, has bloomed into a manager even the Gods would recruit. From a shy and slightly withdrawn teenager, she has grown into a mature and poised woman who handles a large part of project why and ensures that all runs well. You could not fine a better option. Shamika, who also happens to be my daughter, seconds Rani in the daily running of the project and looks after our most cherished class: the special one! Mr H has made me see my own child in a new light: as a mature and capable young woman. If Rani is the perfect administrator,  Shamika is her mother's daughter as she sees with her heart. The two of them make a better me!

The girls run Govindputi, Giri Nagar and Okhla. But a few kilometers away is our women centre with over 300 children and women. One may think it is headed by a woman. Not at all. This centre is run by Dharmendra, an incredibly humane person and a social activist at heart. I am amazed at how much we have in common as his views are completely in sync with mine. So over and above our basic mission, he finds time to deal with social and environmental issues that are close to my heart. A true gem!

These three musketeers have taken over the running of Project Why and I must confess they do a better job than I ever could. They are supported by an exceptional team. So a huge and wonderful side effect of Mr H has been the  realisation that project why is in the best hands I could have wished for and I can rest in peace and carry one my one point mission of kicking out Mr H as soon as possible.

Today as we celebrate teacher's day, I salute these three gems humbly. They are the ones who gave wings to my impossible dreams. It is time I let them fly free.

Chapeau Bas guys!