Sunday, June 26, 2005

National Integration

When I was in school, I practised National Integration, and Cohesive Unity between Communities.

Conrad Gonsalves, a Goan Roman Catholic, who regularly referred to all boys, girls, and adults as "hi men, kaisa hai?".Pratik Bali, a semi spoilt Punjabi with a penchant for older women's bosoms, and younger women's pigtails. Gitesh Kambli, a self confessed vernac, who regularly laboured through special after school sessions with Navneet Guide to English to pass muster in class. Mohammedi Lakdawalla, whose mom sat us down on their earthen floor in their house in Dharavi and fed us sevaiyan 1 month before some very inconsiderate people burnt their house down because they were on the wrong side of the road. Richie Matthew, a Keralite Christian who stole Lego figurines and Hot wheels cars from me when he came over, because he couldnt afford them. Dhruv Patel who was a pint sized runt, a precocious upstart who liked to pick fights just because he could. Sharad Sankaran, who was picked on in Scouts Camp because he wore a white thread around his torso. Hozefa Poonawalla, who was suspended for shaving his head on purpose. Esmero Figuerado Jr, who thought he was the next best thing to Larry Bird (this was at a time when I did not know who Larry Bird was - for the best part of my life, I thought it was Larry Boyd). Farah Siddiqui who shared the last bench with me in 6th standard, and taught me that there were 2 types of Muslims - a Sunni and a Shia. Vikrant Dukande, who wore his Marathi heritage on his sleeve, and showed that a man with conviction can get through life with conviction and determination alone. Stanley Louis, whose family was a complete study in how to bring a Goan family into a Railway Quarters room.

And I didnt need an NGO. Or a political platform. Or Riots. Or a natural calamity. Or a bomb blast. Or a Rath yatra. It just happened. And thats how it should be.



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