Growing up is hard, child. Otherwise everyone would do it
! This was his size when he first went to boarding school. He was 4 years and 5 months. Thursday last he set off for his new school with a smile and a spring in his gait. I did not even get my goodbye hug. He was very excited. The admission took a long time and we never knew he had to sit for a test. He did not like that part at all and apparently did not give it his best. But that was a formality. After all formalities and shopping for new uniforms, books and bedding, he was taken away by his hostel warden. What happened next is a mystery that will be revealed when we see him. That won't be long as his Founder's Day is on the 23rd.
This child of God has taken a new step in his life journey. When I look back at his tiny life that extends to just over a decade I am mystified by the number of changes this tiny chap has been made to endure. In the first year of his life I only know that he had to change many homes as no one wanted his dysfunctional parents as tenants. When he moved next to our office just before his accident it would take a few more shifts before I put my foot down and decided to get the family a fixed home. I still remember the day in March 2004 when we found them a home near our office and I was hastily summoned as the women of the family began abusing his mom and saying they did not want their neighbourhood sullied by a woman who drank. I stood by her with the two year old in my arms till an alternative was found. From an array of rather sordid homes Utpal landed in my house as his mom was sent to rehab. Two months later he went to Boarding school. Holidays were again spent in various surroundings: a midway home that accepted kids, our women centre when his mom was there, our women centre with staff, with a sprinkling of short stays in again sordid homes and finally at home with me. It took him time but finally he has accepted this as his home.
Shifting his school was necessary as for reasons beyond our control the old school had stopped being the enabling environment he needed. To fulfil his destiny Utpal needed to broaden his horizons. He needed to learn to communicate in English, widen his social circle and above all find a place where he would understood and nurtured. I hope with all my heart that tis school will be all this and more.
I will be seeing him on the 23rd when his new school celebrates its Annual Day. He will be a little lost I guess but part of the show nevertheless. I will be the proud parent watching with my heart.
Growing up is hard. But Utpal is a survivor and a blessed soul. He will fulfil his destiny.
May God always walk with him.