kapadiaFrom Mumbai, we headed up to Ahmedabad for an unsual event celebrating the unity within diversity. From different places of worship (Hindu Temple, Jain Temple, Muslim Masjid, Christian Church, Sikh Gurudwara, Jewish Synagogue, and Parsi Agyari), kids gathered from various backgrounds. Five massive strips of Hindi text from “The World’s Largest Love Letter” were marched down the congested streets of Ahmedabad in a bold visual display – each strip requiring 60 kids to carry it. The strips all ended up at the Gandhi Ashram, where an event took place, with approximately 1500 kids there to sign the border pieces, read aloud their letters, and join in a dance celebration.

The historic ashram buildings were all wrapped entirely by the massive colorful banners – newly painted by HB Kapadia school as well as the Ashramshala kids of Manav Sadhna.

As always, the ever-giving folks at Manav Sadhna, demonstrated nothing but the humblest of heroism, playing a pivotal role in orchestrating this amazing production in just a matter of days. They even fed the kids!

mahindrajourneyAfter the Ahmedabad event, we all hopped in our bus fully adorned with children’s artwork. This bus was loaned to us by the trucking company Mahindra and Mahindra, along with two trucks, also fully decorated in children’s art.

From Ahmedabad, we drove to Kutch, in Western Gujarat, where we stopped in remote villages along the border route, to collect letters from kids in rural areas. The purpose was both to have a fun road trip and also to demonstrate that this is about all of India – rich, poor, urban, rural – no matter the place or background of a child, they are all included in our project.

kutchIn truth, this whole effort is only superficially about India and Pakistan. It is about recognizing the potential connections inherent between all beings, and taking the necessary steps to develop those connections.

Along the journey, in a remote Muslim village, I was surprised to find the village all lit up with dozens of diyas – a sight very rare in a Muslim village –a surprise for my birthday. It was truly beautiful and something I’ll always remember.

villagediyasWe drove through Rajasthan to Delhi, where we took care of a few more things necessary to make this campaign grow, and then we headed to Haryana and Punjab, where we stopped at more rural schools, including the one next to Loveleen’s family village, where we had the treat of stopping along the way.

With so much activity, there has never been much downtime. It’s amazing we’ve been able to go like this for so long and stay so positive. What we are working on is just so simple and special that it seems to somehow keep us sane and upbeat – despite the challenging conditions. What an amazing trip it’s been.

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