Blind teenager's Diwali celebrations go awry

For 19-year-old blind youth Vikas Kumar, Diwali celebrations will be a little subdued this year.

As compared to his over 100 friends at a blind school in central Delhi’s Panchkuian Road, Vikas has been forced to celebrate the festival of lights away from his family staying in Jharkhand.

The teenager told Deccan Herald that despite his best efforts, he failed to get a confirmed railway ticket.

Vikas hails from Jamshedpur in East Singhbhum district and has been staying at Institution For The Blind for past five years. A class 11 student, he prefers staying with family during festivals, and was hoping to burst crackers with family on the occasion of Diwali on Sunday. His plans were, however, hampered.

“I applied for train ticket last month, but it was never confirmed. I even had a week of holidays sanctioned from the school,” Vikas said. He had also bought gifts for his parents, elder brother and younger sisters. The teenager is disappointed, but says he will still have a good time with other friends who have opted to stay back. “There are several students who do not have a family to go back to so I would love to make the festival special for them," Vikas added.

During his non-planned stay in the capital, Vikas is also holding meetings to organise an inter-state blind cricket tournament.

“We have launched a six member club named Blind Cricket Association and will participate in a tournament next month,” he said. At present, he is asking students of other blind schools to support the initiative.

On the other hand, 18-year-old Gopal will celebrate Diwali with his family in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra. “I will take a bus from Sarai Kale Khan ISBT on Friday and reach home in seven hours,” he said.

Gopal highlighted that he will travel alone, and never feels scared of the long journey. He came to the blind school in 2007 and dreams of becoming a teacher. “Teachers here are really supportive and reassure that I can achieve my dream with some years of hard work,” he added.

For those who decide to stay back, the blind school will organise a small get together on Sunday.

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