Readers of Daily (w)rite, if you’re here, please welcome Anouradha Bakshi, my friend, philosopher and touchstone for more than a decade.
She runs Project WHY, a little non-profit with a large heart, in New Delhi. For this whole week, she’s taking over Daily (w)rite.
Please give her all the love and attention you usually give me, because she merits it far more than I ever will.
Today is the last day or the Write Tribe Festival of Words. Today’s prompt is GRIEF.
Grief is often associated to that intense pain often associated with loss. It is a powerful energy that has the ability to destroy you.
It takes over all the space in your life barely allowing you to breathe. And even with time, it remains deep in your heart ready to spring up at the prompt of a word, a smell, a memory…
Being an only child, I was devastated and lost. I was unable to handle the loss and sunk into deep depression. The grief was so intense that I was unable to function. I became agoraphobic and turned into a recluse. Nothing seemed to help.
I was told about a healer who lived in a ‘slum’! My desperation was such that I was willing to try everything under the sun. I did not know that my life was about to change. The person in question was Mataji, a lady about my age who presided over a minuscule temple where Gods and humans lived side by side. The energy she emanated was palpable and simply entering that space lifted my spirits. I felt comfortable after years. She gently asked me what was wrong and the tears I had not shed welled out unabashedly, accompanied by incoherent words. She took me in her arms and calmed me down then told me the words that would change my life forever: take your pain and transform it into something your parents would be proud of.
The rest is history. It is in that street where Mataji lived that Project Why took seed. It is out of my grief that Project Why was born, and I say so with all responsibility as I know that only a quasi-supernatural energy could make me walk the road less travelled and find within me a strength and determination I did not know existed. I was almost possessed.
The energy that had locked me up within myself for years took on a new life. Nothing seemed impossible, every obstacle had to be surmounted, there was no other option. We found the space we needed, and eager children ready to learn English. For the first time in many years I was walking with a spring in my gait and all the phobias and ailments were out of the window.
Today Project Why stands tall, a befitting homage to those I grieved for, for so many years. It is where children and adults dare to dream, a place where only laughter and joy prevails, a place that is an instant feel-good shot! It brims with positive energy and happy occurrences. It is undoubtedly the one achievement I can be proud of, and it was borne out of grief, a grief I was able to transcend.
The Write Tribe festival of Words ends today. I am grateful to Damyanti for giving trusted her blog to me. It has been wonderful to write these posts based on prompts, something I had never done before. What was almost magical was to see how all these words could be so easily linked to what I hold dearest to my heart, Project Why, a journey that has made me who I am today and allowed me to come in contact with such wonderful people.
Thank you for reading my posts, and for your comments. Thank you for coming along on this journey. I hope you will visit Project Why some day, and keep us in your heart.
From next month onwards, Damyanti has invited me to write a post second Friday of each month.
I look forward to it, and hope to see you there.
What role has grief played in your life? How do you deal with grief? What advice would you give to someone paralysed by grief?
What have you thought of this series of posts? Would you like to visit Project WHY?
Anouradha Bakshi is the descendant of an indentured labour and a freedom fighter, and the daughter of a senior diplomat. She travelled the world before settling in India.
A professor in French, an interpreter and a conference organiser, she found her true calling when she set up Project WHY in the year 2000.
She is a wife, and a mother not only to her two girls, but also to the scores of children whose dreams she holds in custody.
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