During my second and third years at Birmingham University I lived in a student house in Selly Oak with three other girls. Two doors down lived an indian family, the youngest of whom was called Amit, and was around eight years old. Amit had a giant tumour that disfigured one side of his face, but he was one of the most confident, friendly and articulate children I have ever known.
My household befriended him (or he befriended us), and he would pay us frequent visits, after which our sitting room would reek of curry for several hours! He would enliven our study breaks with recitatiions of his poetry, stories about his cricketing exploits and explations of Hinduism. I used to spend time in his home too, feeling I had crossed continents to get there- I was always fed royally, and entertained with the wall to wall Bollywood movies they watched.
Two nights ago, I was looking for something interesting to watch on 4od, and found a documentary series called Katie: My Beautiful Friends. And one of her beautiful friends was Amit. You can watch it here:
Amit is still brave, funny and interesting, and I found it so moving to see him all grown up and making his way in the world. I found him on facebook and sent him a message- and he replied!
It is so easy to lose perspective on your troubles in life. I found myself caught up short watching Amit as he started university, all too aware of the first impression he was making, and as he looked with his doctor at X-rays of his wonky spine, and as he spoke of his loss of his amazing father. I OFTEN feel sorry for myself for the most ridiculous reasons, but Amit just sets his eyes on the horizon and keeps going. And I think you’ll agree if you watch this episode, he really does challenge the definition of beauty, because he is gorgeous, tumour and all.