Sparkles of Joy

Sparkles of Joy

Diwali is positively the most exciting and joyful Indian festival. In cities and towns, the festival of lights is celebrated with a lot of vigour and enthusiasm. Children particularly revel during Diwali time as they wear new clothes, eat oodles of sweets and burst dazzling crackers.

However, not everyone has a bright and colourful Diwali. Most of us are oblivious to the large section of our country’s population who not only don’t celebrate Diwali, but are not even aware of it. As our homes blaze with diyas and fancy lamps, theirs are immersed in darkness. Their children haven’t seen a sparkler in their life, let alone light one. But when such children get an opportunity to celebrate Diwali in its full glory, we cannot even begin to imagine the extent of happiness and satisfaction they experience. It’s a joy to behold.

Thanks to Sagar Oak, a Thane resident, four class VII students from a remote foster home spent their Diwali in Thane and celebrated it just like others. Oak volunteered to bestow this opportunity on these rural boys after he came to understand of such a practice where a few underprivileged students are brought to the city and allowed to spend time with urban families.

For Vikram, Pritam, Amrut and Mahesh, memories of these four days would last a lifetime. Belonging to the Adivasi community (backward class), these boys had never seen Diwali until last Sunday when they were brought to Thane by a social worker, who left them with Oak and his family.

When they first arrived in the city, they were wearing tattered clothes and dilapidated footwear. One of them had actually turned up barefoot.

This was their first visit to a city and, needless to say, they were stunned. The huge crowds, packed suburban trains and people all over the place made them nervous. They were unable to comprehend the fast paced life and the chaos that has become a part of urban life.

As they settled down, the uneasiness paved way for awe. They found themselves wearing new attire and being treated to rich food. Oak said, "These children are not fond of sweets. Though they were impressed with at least one dessert – Ice-Cream! They were pretty curious about how it is made."

In the evening, they gazed in wonder at the Diwali blitz all around. Firecrackers made them edgy initially. But soon they began to enjoy the buzz of activity all around. To them, rockets and other similar sparklers lighting up the sky were particularly delightful.

The host was quite pleased with the discipline of these deprived kids. "They did not create any fuss during their stay. In fact they taught a few good things to me and my family", admits Oak. Like when Oak took them along to visit a friend, these boys behaved like perfect little gentlemen. They even washed their own plates after eating, insisting that they do that back home. This gesture so moved Oak that he too followed the example set by the young boys.

Although extremely thrilled with their four-day stay in Thane, the kids turned down the invitation to visit again next year. They emphasised that they would rather that their fellow mates get an opportunity to experience a few sparkles of joy.

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