CHENNAI: “From Kashmir to Kanniyakumari” is an oft-quoted phrase describing the diversity of this country. That diversity often becomes a difficulty for people from these extreme geographies to bond, but not always. All it took for Gawhaar Mir to bond with Major Kamlesh Mani was a chocolate and an exchange of pleasantries.
Major Kamlesh Mani, a native of Tirupattur, was posted in Handwara town of North Kashmir. That is where he met the 16-year-old Gawhaar Mir for the first time, in the beginning of 2020.
“I was patrolling the streets and came across this boy. I offered him a chocolate. Soon, he started following me everywhere,” recalls Kamlesh, who is now settled in Chennai.
“He would visit me in the camp, and wait for me till I returned from duty. His love touched my heart.” Gawhaar comes from a nine-member family, of which four are speech and hearing disabled, including Gawhaar. His father is a tractor driver.
Despite the ongoing tension in the Valley, Gawhaar’s family welcomed Kamlesh with open arms when he promised to help the teenager overcome his disability.
“I took him for medical consultations, but there was only so much that could be done in Kashmir. I have sought permission from the boy’s family to take him to Delhi for better facilities,” says the 29-year-old Major. He has also been helping Gawhaar study further.