In a world where every excuse is used and abused to create chasms between people, where religion creates walls built by politicians and others comes a heart touching story I experienced today.
On the spur of the moment I decided to go and wish Utpal a happy Diwali as he had decided to stay in school with his new friends. I bought some sweets and goodies and a few board games that he has asked for. It was a delight to see him run to us with a broad smile and a happy gait, something I had not seen for long. He was all excited and could barely express his thoughts as he told us everything that had been happening. You could feel his happiness. He then wanted us to meet his best friend. So we all marched in search of the best friend who turned out to be a delightful boy from Afghanistan. His Altaf if I recollect correctly. The two boys share a dorm and are in the same class and are both skaters. They showed us their bruises.
After some time Utpal asked us to buy him some crackers are a small stall of Diwali items had been opened in the school for the staff. We did not quite know if we were breaking rules but the boys' enthusiasm was irresistible and we gave in. Both the lads chose their crackers as they made plans about how they would celebrate Diwali in the evening. It did not matter what religion they were, all barriers are conquered when you are best friends!
We left them both plotting about how they would light the crackers as matches are only allowed for class XI and XII kids but then Altaf's brother is in class XII!
We tiptoed out of a world that was not to be disturbed with moist eyes and a happy smile.