Long Live the King

An article entitled Hands off do gooders caught my attention this week. It begins with the words: come April, big corporations in India will be mandated to spend 2 per cent of their profits on being responsible citizens. Even a person like me who has no head or concept of figures can work out that this is a hefty amount. This caught my eye as I have been deeply disturbed by the future of project why, more so in the wake of the present situation at home that has made death to real to me. As you know we were not able to raise funds to build our guest house cum children centre we had fondly called planet why! Then it may have seemed to many as complete silence. Yes silence it was, but not in my head where new options churned madly amidst a feeling of failure at not having been able to raise the funds we needed. Quite frankly it was a paltry sum for many, yet one that was as inaccessible as the moon for us.

The fault was mine as I should have put on my designer (sic) clothes and fluttered my eyelashes at page 3 does and maybe would have got a percentile of the big profits of corporate houses. This may have been possible in the era before project why, but when the need arose I had already mutated into a recluse. The big planet why dream had to be quietly entombed. Since project why has been running on auto pilot (not a bad thing). Every end of month the heart flutters a little when salaries and rents have to be paid and one heaves a sigh of relief when all monthly payments are made. Yet this cannot go on. We have to become sustainable and also have our own building as being at the mercy of landlords is not a solution.

What you see in the picture is a plot of land close to our women centre and to the Madanpur Khader rehabilitation colony. This means the it is legal and the people who all belong to underprivileged sections of society will not be moved (or so one hopes). Actually most of them were relocated from the Nehru Place slum and other South Delhi slums. This is not the case with Okhla where slums clusters can be razed any time and all our kids moved.

The plan that is churning in my mind is to sell our plot in Najafgarh as it has appreciated substantially and purchase a smaller plot. The remaining money would be used to build a centre tailored to the amount in hand. I believe it will be easier to raise funds for one additional room at a time according to the needs. At present we would like the centre to accommodate roughly what we run at the women centre in addition to a day care for special needs children and a creche. And in keeping with the sustainability need, have space allocated to activities that can be offered at reasonable prices. Though one has to yet defined those as this would be done after a survey of the area and the needs of the target audience, one is thinking on the lines of TV and AC repair, spoken English etc. These classes could also be held after working hours and on Sundays.

So to those who may feel that I am AWOL, believe me Project Why is on my mind day and night. I watch it running perfectly with a sense of pride and humility. What an incredible team we have! I must make sure to leave them a solid legacy, particularly to those who have stood by me through trials and tribulations over the past years. Something they can build on as no matter how hubristic one may be the saying: The King is dead Long Live the King is so true!