Hundreds marched on the street, some with crutches, some on wheelchairs as the scorching curtain of the blazing sun scorned the rain of August and drenched Kolkata in the ballad of protest with each and every one of us demanding a clean corruption free Paralympics Committee in India. I agree with some people who claim that Civilian Welfare Foundation has changed ‘me’ for I have learned to look at how things work, how people break through the impediments and come together for a cause; the blindfold of lame excuses of ‘not being able to work’ slips into the dustbin as I woke up to the harmonica of selfless love and responsibility. From photographers to jobless writers like me: we all had our share of work, and learnt to do things beyond our forte. That is perhaps the joy of working in a non hierarchical organization, and as Shuvojit says, ‘it’s all about chaos’. Even the universe originated from the Big Bang, as per the claim of the scientists. In the same way, Shuvojit ( founder of CWF), Suchandra ( co founder of CWF) and all the members, Abhirupa, Souvik, Harsh, Dhimoyee, Indrani di , Avik, Rupanjan, Sourav, Malavika, Dipabali, Aratrika, Hatim, Dhruv, Afshaan and the newbies like Divaa, Aindrisha and others ( sorry if I have missed out anyone) have created this universe where all of us learn , grow and discover ourselves each and every moment. With Gautam da, kakima ( Shuvojit’s mother ), kaku ( Shuvojit’s father ) and many others protecting the integrity in diverse ways, CWF organized its 4th edition of Paralympics Walk on 28th of August 2015. Like my other blog posts, this one too will not be a report for the newspapers have acted fast and I would rather try to bring to you a different side of the event, which touched my heart, which inspired me and which gave me one more reason to be a part of CWF.
Paralympics Walk, the only one of its kind in this world is a signature event of CWF organized on 28th of August. While Paralympics athletes marched with us to show their support, the scene of kakima walking, bearing a placard with Shuvojit’s picture on it brought out the ethos of the walk, the ethos of CWF which binds us together. The lights of Northern Europe passed on the spirit of support and it shined in the sparkle of his mother’s eyes, in the hope of the Para athletes and in the hard work of the members who created Shuvojit’s presence in their deeds. Their days and nights have been devoted as their passion for arranging the event was brushed with their love for CWF. From inviting schools to making posters and arranging the press meet, everything was done with delicate hands. As Sobhan, my brother and friend helped me climb up the matador, I could not help feeling grateful to Dipabali and Rupanjan who managed the vehicle and microphone for us within a very short span of time; the city of Kolkata heard us as we addressed the cheering crowd but amidst all the applause, shone the intricate coordination of Rupanjan and Dipabali. I can’t help but saluting the duo without whom we ( me and Sobhan) would have remained unnoticed.
The wheel chairs thundered along with Wheeling Happiness, Devika Malik’s NGO as various football clubs, my FIIOB family, my CISC-K brothers, Die Hard East Bengal Fans and others accepted our invitation and participated. The disability schools too marked their presence; the gesture showed by Tamas Sinha, Viv Sarkar and Krishanu Chanda of my FIIOB family instilled the sense of familial relationship I share with FIIOB. Standing on the matador, addressing the city, I was beaming with the surprising enthusiasm of all the participants and I completely felt I have been transformed into a different realm where stars of energy filled up the void of physical strength. Claps and roars were all we could hear as the long trail of crowds went beyond our view, the Kolkata police actively forming the human barricade, to avoid any accident in the middle of the day. And when it came to anchoring, I would never need anyone else other than my brother and friend, Sobhan who promptly picked up my cues and delivered an exceptional oration continuously pushing himself further towards perfection with his creativity.
Some amazing photographs (thanks to Krishanu , Souvik, Rupanjan and Sourav) have become replica of the memorable day in our lives. And then there are some moments which have been cherished in silly jokes, in sharing cupcake, in a random text, a little wink, a whole lot of laughter and above all, in giving and taking responsibilities. Shuvojit, Abhirupa, Sobhan, Dipabali, Aratrika, Malavika, Souvik, Rupanjan, Sourav, Suchandra and others: I can still hear them in the silence of Wichita and the water of the clear lake brings back memories of the times spent together and times waiting for us. Paralympics Walk.. well… it was just one family event !!