In March 2003, the day after Holi, we learnt that the ‘little boy next door’ had fallen in a boiling pot and, was believed to be dead. We barely knew him, as the family had shifted to Giri Nagar a few days earlier. We felt sorry for the baby, and went on with our lives

A few days later, we heard that the baby was not dead, and was back from hospital. When we saw him, we were shocked. A little bundle swathed in bandages, a bewildered look in his little eyes. The hospital had sent him back, telling the mother that he would not survive. We thought otherwise. With the help of Sophie a young nurse from Belgium and Rani we fought day and night… And six weeks later, Utpal smiled and we knew we had won.

Utpal is a lovely fellow, endearing in his ways, bright and intelligent. We discovered that his mother was bipolar and alcoholic and tried our best to have her ‘dry’ up but to no avail. At the tender age of 4, Utpal went to a boarding school.

We continued to try and rehabilitate the mother but one fine day she vanished. Utpal was shattered and had to go for counselling. We obtained his guardianship from the Child Welfare Committee.

There were some hurdles along the way but we overcame them all as Utpal the brave heart is a survivor. And as he grew up, we saw him transform into a lovely teenager with a heart of gold. He is always willing to help others and never shirks away from any responsibility given to him. He is not your straight A kid but a wonderful all rounder who is a born artist, a mean skater and an incredible dancer.

He cleared his class X and chose to take on humanities as science was not his subject! He is in Class XI and is a Delegate Appointee of his school. During his breaks he volunteers at the Khader centre, his first home. He teaches the children dance and art and has walked into the heart of every child he reaches out. Utpal Bhaiya is a very special person.

We hope and pray that he will shine and live the life God has destined him to. We tend to spoil him a little, but as was said by a specialist in children’s trauma: “Never forget that there was a time when Utpal spent one third of his life in pain”

Think about it and then like us, you will agree that Utpal needs all the love he can get.

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