Our senior staff meets once a week, almost religiously, almost like clock-work. We call ourselves the Core Group and we've been doing this for the past fifteen years. This week, we met at the construction site for the new Early Intervention Centre at the Doon Hospital and while we didn't exactly get our hands dirty, standing there in the middle of the sky, with open windows looking out toward the Himalayas, walls going up before our eyes and decisions being taken with rapid-fire and immediate effect (These guys have a DEADLINE. They are working FAST.) was almost painfully exciting.
So many dreams and hopes have come together in this project. It's difficult to believe it is actually taking shape. When we started Karuna Vihar 16 years ago, we talked in lofty terms about our vision for the future but I don't think any of us really believed it would come to pass. The problems were so enormous and we were so young and small and inexperienced. We wanted it to be true, but we knew in our hearts that it was unlikely.
But just as we asked our children with disability to take things one tiny step at a time, just as we counseled their parents not to expect overnight miracles, we did the same. We took our own advice. We kept our heads down and went on putting one foot in front of the other.We worked on the moments and the years took care of themselves.
Miracle followed miracle and wonders never ceased.
And now, here we are. In a joint venture with the government of Uttarakhand, building a state-of-the-art centre for our youngest citizens with disability - an EIC for babies from birth to five, proving that the most vulnerable among us are every bit as important and precious as anyone else.
But let's not get carried away.
We had requested the use of a conference room at the hospital so that we could complete our Core Group meeting after the inspection of the construction site. Well, the conference room wasn't available, but would this room in the private ward do?
All squished together with several of us perched on the bed (luckily there was no patient in it at the moment), it was a good way to get over ourselves, to remember how we started and to remind ourselves that that big or small, it's still heads down, one foot in front of the other. We are learning all the time, we are so grateful we could sing, we are amazed that we are here, that this is happening, that the babies we want to reach have actually been given a centre all their own and that we are the ones who get to open the door for them.