This is not a picture of a tsunami hit structure. It is simply our very won Okhla centre after the dust storm that blew over Delhi two mights ago. The figures you see eagerly repairing the tent are our very own students. And this is not the first time they have done this, they do it every time the need arises.
The Okhla centre has known more than its share of problems and has dealt with each of them with rare dignity and courage. They are not ones to be deterred and prove beyond doubt the oft quoted and sated dictum: if there is a will.... The almost apocalyptic site was not enough to wipe off their smiles; they just set out to task determined to have their precious school up and running.
Actually they had come out in the night itself during the storm and seeing the damage guarded the place till the teachers turned up in the morning.
As I watched this unique site many thoughts ran in my mind. I felt a sense of immense pride as in spite of belonging to the poorest of the poor, these children showed much more mettle and grit than their colleagues in other centres. Perhaps it is because most of these kids are survivors in the true sense of the word and know that their morrows depend on their own abilities.
My mind wandered on. I realised that this mild storm that did not make a dent in the lives of millions across the city who did not even suffer the customary power cut, had been enough to blow away one of our oldest centres. Was this yet another proof of the extreme fragility of project why itself that could blow away if we did not anchor it on solid moorings.
And I was reminded of these lines wriietn in the XVII century by William Collins
"But tomorrow, dawn will come the way I picture her,
barefoot and disheveled, standing outside my window
in one of the fragile cotton dresses of the poor.
She will look in at me with her thin arms extended,
offering a handful of birdsong and a small cup of light.”