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Holding my grandson for the first time was my happiest moment

Be true to yourself and write simply, just as you would speak.


My name is Anouradha Bakshi and I blog at projectwhy.org. I am 57 years old and would be called a social activist for want of a better name. Yet, I am simply trying to pay back a debt I believe I owe for all the privileges that were handed out to me throughout my life. I do it by trying to make a difference in the lives of the less privileged souls and by trying to answer all the deafening whys that we come across each day and often turn away from. I have been doing this for the last 10 years and still have a long way to go.

For Life Less Ordinary, Asian edition. Anouradha Bakshi, 51, a South Delhi resident with a heart of gold, has rescued 600 slum children from the inevitable fate of being a part of the uneducated millions in India.

For Life Less Ordinary, Asian edition. Anouradha Bakshi, 51, a South Delhi resident with a heart of gold, has rescued 600 slum children from the inevitable fate of being a part of the uneducated millions in India.


Q1: Welcome to Speakbindas. Tell us since when blogging has been a part of your life? Was there any motive or inspiration as a backbone of it?

  • I began blogging in April 2005 thanks to a virtual friend who took pity on me. Actually prior to that I use to send weekly emails to hundreds of people to share the on goings of our work at project why. He suggested that I blog instead and held my hand through the initial stages as I discovered the ways of blogging.

Q2: What is your blog all about? Which topics you cover there? Is that you alone running/maintaining the blog, or have a team?

  • My blog is simply what it states to be: a window into the reality that is India! Though it began as simple posts that shared the day-to-day activities of our organization, it soon became I place where I could also share my inner feelings on issues that disturbed or elated me. The topics are varied from children and education to social ills and stark realities that often go unnoticed. I run and maintain my blog alone.

Q3: What are the present statistics for your blog, i.e. number of daily visitors, visitors geographical status etc.?

  • We have about 60 followers and about 100 visits per day. Our readers come from the world over.

Q4: Is blogging for you just a passion or a medium for earning too? Does it help you to earn enough cash to quit a 9 to 5 day job?

  • It began as a communication tool and slowly became a passion. And yes I must say it is a medium of earning for our project as we have many readers who have become donors.

Q5: Who are your favorite bloggers, whom you read frequently?

  • Too many to name

Q6: From the secret bucket of your blogging experiences, what tips you would like to share with the fellow bloggers?

  • Be true to yourself and write simply, just as you would speak.

Q7: Do you believe that blogging completes you? If yes, tell us how?

  • Yes as for many years I had a secret desire: to write a book. Blogging gave me the confidence that I lacked and the book was not only written (Dear Popples) but even made it to the long list of the Golden Quill 2009!

Q8: What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

  • Holding my grandson for the first time; losing my father.

Q9: Say, you are sponsored to travel to 3 world destinations, where you need not to worry about costs for food, hotel or anything. Which destinations would you pick up, and why? Would you like to take someone along with you? If yes, whom?

  • None. I have traveled the world over since I was a little girl and seen all my eyes could see. What I would like is to spend as much time as possible with my kids in the slums as that is where I found what I had been seeking for my whole life.. and learnt the art of looking and seeing with my heart. As for traveling it is now best done alone, in an armchair a book in hand.

Q10: Are you into watching movies? If yes, which fills your list of favorite ones?

  • No. I rather read books. My favourite: The Little prince by St Exupery

Q11: How has blogging helped you other than money?

  • Over and above the support we have got for project why, blogging has helped in creating new friends the world over, notwithstanding age or distance, making me feel years younger than I actually am.

Q12: What would be the one thing you’d change about yourself?

  • None. I will quote Oriana Fallaci and say: I always introduce myself as an encyclopedia of defects, which I do not deny. Why should I? It took me a whole life to build myself as I am.

Q13: What is your deepest fear?

  • To die before project why becomes self-sustainable and my 800 kids’ future is secured.

Q14: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

  • No one in particular

Q15: Which is your favorite television show? Favorite songs?

  • None. I watch TV when I need to deaden my senses. I have many favourite songs but I guess the one that still moves me each time I hear it is Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row

Q16: How much money do you have in your purse/wallet right now (including change)?

  • 600 Rs

Q17: What is your favorite food? Any particular dislikes?

  • Prawn Curry and Rice. No dislikes

Q18: What’s your take on the technological advancement these days? Does it make people’s life simple or complicated?

  • Technology like all else is wonderful if not used in excess. If used in moderation it makes life much simpler, in excess it can get disastrous.

Q19: List out the 10 bloggers you believe should be interviewed by Speakbindas.com.

  • Ammani (http://jikku.blogspot.com/), Annie Zaidi (http://www.anniezaidi.com/),

Q20: Any special message you would like to share with your blog readers as well with everyone else?

  • I would like to share the fox’s secret from the Little Prince: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Special questionnaire for a Social Activist

Q.: What inspired you to initiate projectwhy?

  • A visit to the village my ancestor migrated from in the late XIX century as an indentured labour, a mother who decided she would not bring a slave child into this world and thus got married in her thirties after Independence, growing up in faraway lands as a diplomat’s daughter but being lulled to sleep each night with stories of lauding India set the stage for what was to be project why my swan song. The catalyst was the demise of both my parents in the span of a year and the feeling that there was a debt to pay. Thus began a journey. The many deafening whys that came along the way and the need to find answers brought project why to life.

Q.: Have you watched the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”? What’s your take on it?

  • It is a brilliantly executed movie though I preferred the story line of the book. I think it made my own peers look at what they had never bothered to see till then, and just for that it was worth it.

Q.: According to you, what actions should be taken to provide education to kids of slum areas?

  • I am a bit radical on this issue. Having been the product of common schools as my parents shunned diplomatic or international schools, I am convinced that India will change the day ALL the children walk to the same neighborhood school which provides quality education, the day my child and the child of my driver sit side by side and learn to discover and respect each other. Education should take precedence on everything. There should be an IES (Indian Education Service) on the lines of the IAS. But that is a long way coming.

Q.: What is your greatest appreciation as a social activist?

  • To see a child who never walked take his first steps, to see a child who always failed top her class, to see hope in eyes that never hoped before.

Q.: What melts your heart?

  • My heart melts very easily. A child begging on the street, a person is distress, just anything …

Q.: In INDIA, we feel that two worlds are living. A kid of rich parents throws 100 rs. worth chocolate on floor if he/she gets angry, where as at the other side, a slum-dog rarely eats nutritious food. What’s your take on this entire scenario? What kind of support you feel the society should provide to balance the situation?

  • I have blogged often about what I call the two Indias and the invisible yet impregnable line that divides them. No matter how many laws or policies are drafted and implemented, things will only change when each one of changes, as I said earlier when we can accept that our kid studies in the same classroom as the kid of those who work for us.

Q.: Brief the Speakbindas readers about various activities taken over by Projectwhy. And if they wish to, how can they support your mission?

  • Project Why is a New Delhi (India) based non-profit organisation engaged in education support and life skill enhancement of slum children and their families. We opened our first education center in 2000 and now, thanks to the generous support of friends and well-wishers, have expanded our activities.

Our programmes includes:

  • Education Centers: teaching more than 800 children in 7 locations throughout New Delhi.
  • Special Education: day care centre for 20 special need children and young adults with disabilities
  • Heart Fix Hotel: sponsoring heart surgeries for those most in need.
  • Women Center, nurturing and supporting disadvantaged local women.
  • Planet Why, our newest and most ambitious project yet, that we believe will give our work the sustainability we seek.
  • Project why has over the years grown organically as and when new challenges came our way. We are supported by a network of friends and well-wishers and need all the support and help we can get.

You can learn more about us by visiting our site: http://projectwhy.org

And our planet why blog: http://planetwhy.blogspot.com

To donate please visit: http://projectwhy.org/Donate.html


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

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