Utpal got a new bicycle for Xmas. He was thrilled and rode it all day with a huge smile on his face and proud to show off that he could ride a cycle without trainer wheels. The same evening he took it to the nearby park to show it to all his friends. The next day when it was park time again he came into my office and asked me softly whether he could give is old cycle to Amit. Amit it transpired was his special park friend and the son of a daily wage labourer. Of course you can
were my words! I gave him a big hug and off he went both cycles in tow.
After he left I sat in my office for a long time, my thoughts going back in time to the day when I first held this very special child in my arms. What a long way he had come. He had been born on the wrong side of the fence and suffered unbelievable pain at an age where children should know only love. From the excruciating pain of third degree burns to the agonizing pain of seeing his mom simply vanish, he had seen it all. At the tender age of four he was sent to a boarding school where he cried himself to sleep night after night his head filled with questions that he could barely articulate let at all convey. He slowly adapted to his new life and healed somewhat when he was again faced with court appearances and tough decisions he had to take. The questions multiplied, the answers were still not forthcoming. That is when he almost broke down and we had to seek medical help. The smile that once was his trademark had simply disappeared to be replaced by anger and rage.
In the last months Utpal has slowly accepted to come out of his shell and voice his fears and we have tried to assuage them gently. The smile has come back and with it a new found confidence. Today his simple request was a true gift not just to his little park pal but to his Ma'amji. His gesture was proof that he was finally feeling secure and protected. It was also proof that over the years he had imbibed values dear to me and understood the true meaning of the art of giving. May God always bless him.