Sophie's choice and a touch of Corneille

From the instant I found the strength to look deep into Manu's eyes and made him part of my morrows, I took the irrevocable decision of making the dreams of others mine. From that moment there was no coming back. That was also the day I felt the weight of a Damocles's sword hanging above my head. That was because to make these dreams come true I would have to depend on others till the day I could attain what is known as sustainability. I assure you that I tried everything under the sun to reach that sustainability but failed. The Damocles sword inched closer and closer.

In the past years there have been times when the sword has almost fallen but was stopped in time as some miracle occurred and we were able to carry on unscathed. But a mail that dropped in my box yesterday gave the final push granting me a short reprieve to put my house in order. In this case it means closing some of our centres. Easy peasy some would say. But not for me.

Today I am faced with a Sophie's choice. I need to send one or more of my children to the slaughter house. The Cartesian in me would say: look at the figure that will be withdrawn, look at the costs of each centre, assess the value of each programme and do the maths. If I do that, then the axe falls on the tiniest ones: the creche. Why is is that these Cornelian dilemmas where one is obliged to choose between two courses of action either of which having a detrimental effect on ourselves or on someone near and dear to us always affect the ones who have no voice. I cannot begin to imagine how these tiny tots aged between 2 and 5 will feel when they are told one fine morning that the three wheeler will never come to fetch them again. What have they done to deserve this. They do not even have a voice to say what they feel. No more singing and dancing; no more picnics in the parks, no more cartoons on the big TV no more joy or laughter.

The reason for this cut is that India is no more the flavour of the day. Rape cases and a negative international press has taken us off the tourism map. And of course there is donor fatigue. All this is understandable when you think with your head but when the heart jumps in then you are bound to say: what did these little kids do to deserve this.

I knew this day would come. I knew it from the moment I realised that Planet Why could never become a reality and that we would have to remain dependent on the generosity of others, a generosity that one cannot expect to be limitless. And yet these little children cost a bauble for many, less than a dinner in a starred restaurant.

Today I sit helpless and bewildered. Do I even have the right to pray for another miracle. Only time will tell.