I wrote about this little red bag many moons ago! After delivering its contents to Utpal’s dorm in school, it returned empty and sat in the linen cupboard waiting for its next mission. A few days back I retrieved it from the top shelf .

Om march 17th it will set off again to Uptal’s school and for there will accompany him to Karam Marg where little Mr p will spend a whole week with his mom and his sister. I have been filling the little bag with many things: clothes for him, and some for his mom and sis’, a pot of his favourite chocolate spread, and a few toys as it is his birthday on the 20th, one we will all be celebrating with him at K marg.

What an incredible journey this five year old has made in one year. His last birthday was celebrated in his home with his parents and some of us and I still remember how happy he was with the battery operated motorbike he rode with glee. A few days later his crestfallen face said it all: his bike had been sold for a few pegs of hooch. A week later hell broke loose as his mom sunk as low as one can imagine and he watched helpless from the arms of an unknown man.
In one day he lost everything his home, the presence of his mom and the man who he called papa.

But Utpal is one of a kind and he bore it all with dignity well beyond his age. He spent time at home and then on a fateful July day his bag and him walked through the gates of his new school where he walked into every one’s heart.

Nest week after a long long year utpal will sleep in his Mommy’s arms. For me it is probably one of the best moments of my life as I see this little family scattered helter skelter for reasons beyond any one’s control reunite amidst the greenery and the ducks of karm gaon.

I have filled his little bag with surprises and hope that he will be reminded of his maam’ji who loves him so desperately till I can hold him and whisper words of love in his ears.

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