As one fares through different phases of life with countless faces walking in and out of it, many would agree that some of the best people who have remained constant throughout their lives are the friends they have made during their school days.
Maybe those were the days of innocence and carefree times when friendships were yet to be tainted with selfish and conniving pursuits.
The friendship of 12-year-olds Anugrah M M and Fathima Bismi from Kozhikode, Kerala is significant in its rarity. Formed at a tender age, it goes beyond what we may have seen, heard or even read.
Anugrah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the time of his birth and had been grappling with the condition ever since. A debilitating neurological condition that affects one’s movements, the little boy couldn’t walk, hold a pencil or even feed himself until one of his classmates stepped in as his guardian angel six years, who would go on to quite literally, change his life forever.
A student of MAM upper-primary school at Parambilkkadavu near Kunnamangalam, Anugrah would be accompanied to school by his mother, Sudha. She would wait for him at the premises all day. But this provision was disrupted by the second pregnancy, and Anugrah was severely suffering.
When almost everyone had given up hope on him, it was Fathima who went out of her way to assist him in every possible manner— in studies and mobility, even feeding him food.
“I would drop him at school, but he couldn’t walk, write or even have food on his own. We were thinking of stopping his studies. But Fathima arrived like an angel. On hearing the sound of my bike, she would come running and lift him up. She would feed him, take him to (the) toilet and help him with his notes in class,” Anugrah’s father, Manikandan told The Times of India.
This was when they were studying in class one. Six years later, they are not just classmates, but best friends as well, their friendship is renowned, not just in their town but the whole of the state.
“Support and motivation by Fathima helped Anugrah to walk on his own. When other students were busy playing, Fathima would sit with Anugrah and help him read and write since he had serious learning difficulties. Last year, Anugrah even participated in a play staged during the school anniversary,” said Rajeesh Kumar P, a teacher at the school.
You may also like: Once Denied Adoption, Kerala Couple Now Shelters 90 Orphans & Abused Women!
Touched by this gallant friendship, the Orthodox Syrian Christian Church came forward and bestowed them with cash awards of ₹2.5 lakh each at a felicitation programme at their regional headquarters on Tuesday, May 15.
Their rare friendship will continue its timeless journey, as Anugrah and Fathima would together head to pursue their higher secondary education at the government school in Payambra for the next academic year.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)