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I am disturbed tonight

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From the very first day in Kolkata I was disturbed to the maximum extent. Being a Bengali I always thought that it was our home city. I do not know why but it is not suiting us. When I say us I mean me and my wife. To be very frank with my friends we were much much happier in Delhi. Something happened today which has not only disturbed me but the whole family. We belong to a very poor family from East Medinipur. Somehow completed our education as our parents were sure that we could complete our education even with empty stomach. But we were fortunate that our parents and our teachers always reminded us of two things - i) we all are equal before god and ii) eating vegetable is as good a crime as eating a chicken. We have seen from our childhood everyone eating from the same plate. We only knew that we call some one Bhagwan, our Muslim friends call him Allah and our Christian friends call him God. But this evening was a shock for me.

After a stormy day when I came back from office my wife Sutanu complained Sagink has come back with a half eaten chocolate and he was not explaining why. I asked him. He said that it was given by one of his Muslim friend. And his partner from the schools said the Muslims eat cows and the chocolate must have been made of cow meat. So, he decided not to eat the chocolate any more. God... it was such a a shock for me. For last three years he was in Jain School in Delhi where he had so many Muslim Friends. He never said anything about religion. Today when I asked him what all things we eat? He replied - Are you asking about Hindus or Muslims? I am not blaming the Kollkata Schools. I am blaming myself that I could not give him adequate time in this new and alien city where despite 30 years of Marxist rules religion does matter.

But I promise to my parents today that my I will do everything to ensure that for Sagnik so that for him all religion becomes one, so that eating a chicken becomes as big a crime as eating a cow so that tomorrow Selina who gave him the chocolate becomes his best friend.
(I wrote this on Facebook on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 10:35pm)