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Manu: Does Every Life Have a Purpose? #atozchallenge

By 15/04/2016April 23rd, 2018atozchallenge, Project Why
Damyanti Biswas talks about the Nonprofit ProjectWhy In the slums of New Delhi
For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m blogging 26 days in April based on the alphabet and bringing you stories from the nonprofit Project Why.

Damyanti Biswas talks about the Nonprofit ProjectWhy In the slums of New DelhiThe Project Why story would remain incomplete without mention of Manu, a boy with special needs who the founder Anouradha Bakshi came across one fateful summer day, clad in rags, disheveled and filthy, limping and begging on the streets, crying out for help at being bullied and abused.

Manu wasn’t born a beggar. He belonged to a family that earned low but livable wages: his siblings went to school, his father had a Government job and his mother loved him. An alcoholic father and his special needs were his only challenges. But after his mother’s death, and his sisters moving away after marriage, he was pushed to the streets, and often spent his days without meals. His brother’s wife sent him begging for a few coins. People fed him and treated him like a street animal, his father’s friends abused him, and kids pelted him with stones.

Damyanti Biswas talks about the Nonprofit ProjectWhy In the slums of New Delhi

When Anouradha Bakshi answered his call for help that day in May 2000, a journey began for both of them that would last ten years. At first Anouradha tried to find an institution to take care of him, but having failed at that, she arranged for him to stay in his locality at a rented place where Project Why also began English lessons. Anouradha made herself a promise she would only reveal much later: Manu would have a home, a bed to sleep in, friends to share a meal with and even a TV.

The universe responded: a small mud hut was on sale and a chance encounter in a market was all it took to get the needed funds. The quickly refurbished hut became Manu’s sleeping space at night. He had a blue plastic chair and a red stool where he put his plate but when his friend Anou Ma’m visited he made place for her to sit. He would then break a piece of roti with his hands and feed her.

On January 7, 2011, Manu tiptoed out of Project Why’s and Anouradha’s life after having had a cup of tea and his favourite biscuits. It is only after his death that the true meaning of Manu’s life emerged. An unlikely friend thawed a frozen heart: Manu could open eyes that had remained shut for too long and teach them to love again. Had there not been Manu, there may not have been Project Why as we know it.

No life, however miserable, wretched or seemingly hopeless, is meaningless. Every life has a purpose. In true homage to Manu, Project Why lives on and weathers every storm that comes its way.

Manu remains safe in Anouradha’s heart.

Do you experience working with people with special needs? If you cannot make it to New Delhi, could you donate to bring a smile to a child’s face? What would you say to Anouradha?

To Donate to Special Section of Project Why, CLICK HERE.
To Contact Project Why, Click Here

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page if you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE button in the sidebar. The daily posts are only for April: I’m doing 26 posts on the fab nonprofit Project Why for my A to Z Challenge.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Such a kind heart you have, Anouradha. To help such a sweet soul as Manu’s had to bring such joy to you. I couldn’t agree more with Yolanda Renee’s comment. She is right. There are so many lost children who need a helping hand to find the way. Projectwhy is an amazing organization and you should be very proud of your work..

    Thank you, Damyanti for featuring two such lovely souls…

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    Indeed every life has a purpose. Very sorry to hear about Manu. He lead a very difficult life.

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

  • Such lives have a person and another post on spreading awareness on the role the project is to play to reach out, making a difference to the world:)

  • Peter Nena says:

    “Every life has a purpose.”
    The gem of Manu’s story.

  • Birgit says:

    There are no words to describe how sad yet beautiful this story is and his life. Very touching

  • Fijay says:

    A truly wonderful story:):):):):):):)

  • tinabasu says:

    wow, what a story!
    Tina From
    The Sunny Side of Life
    Twinkling Tina Cooks

  • Lata Sunil says:

    Speechless.. a very noble thought. And Manu were loved.

  • kalaravi16 says:

    This was truly a learning experience. So sad to read about a child of neglect and total disregard. God bless angels like Project Why for their noble cause and work.
    @KalaRavi16 from

  • dweezer19 says:

    So true as does every experience.

  • whitec1971 says:

    I can’t understand how another human being can be treated this way. This broke my heart. Thank God for Project Why. He deserved so much better than the life that was thrust upon him. No one in a world filled with so many resources should be in want of care and love. The stories you have told during the challenge are a bright light that shine a light on the idea there is still good in the world.

    A to Z challenge.

  • lexacain says:

    That is heartbreaking and I’m in tears. What a miserable life Manu had when all he wanted was to be treated well – as any human has the right to be. Anouradha was the only one to help him, and it’s so sad he only had a short time on this earth to appreciate her kindness.

    • projectwhy says:

      The time we had together was blessed. He completed his mission and left for a better place. He was a beautiful soul

  • What a bright smile, and such a heartbreaking story. Anouradha Bakshi is such an amazing soul, and Manu’s life had a great purpose. God asked of his angels, “who will go to earth to teach humility and life’s purpose? Angel Manu, spoke up and said, “I will go Father. It would fill my soul with joy to teach others of your love.” Anouradha Bakshi recognized the messenger and the message!

  • Arlee Bird says:

    What a story! Every life does have purpose. Sometimes we don’t always see that purpose–not even in our own lives–but that purpose is there. Some who have so much more than others don’t realize how truly fortunate they are and will often complain about the smallest trifles.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    • We believe that every person has a purpose on this earth and Project Why works to help children begin to discover their own. Thank you for your kind comment.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – how very wonderful after such a sad story … he must have been thrilled to have been welcomed and given love … Anouradha has been and is such a blessing to those around her – those in need will find her … and she will give all the help she can …

    Manu’s story will remain in my heart too … Such a happy photo of Manu smiling and laughing … all the best – Hilary

  • Sha'Tara says:

    “On January 7, 2011, Manu tiptoed out of Project Why’s and Anouradha’s life after having had a cup of tea and his favourite biscuits. It is only after his death that the true meaning of Manu’s life emerged.” What a beautiful way to put it… Every life perhaps has a purpose, but how many people discover that purpose?

  • cleemckenzie says:

    Such a story, and you just know there are so many children like Manu out there.

  • projectwhy says:

    I miss him every moment of the day. He was he closest I got to God, a saintly soul.

  • I’m crying, but part of it’s happy this worked out in the end. There is so much in that smile of his.