Featured picture courtesy of St. Lawrence University

By Saanya Pherwani (’18)

My best friend would often tell me stories about how it felt like to live with divorced parents. Harsh, a seven year old protagonist, is my best friend’s best impression.


“But Harsh, listen to..”


Seven-year-old Harsh stumbled across the room, his hands holding the Diwali lights tight and his oversized shorts hanging low. He fumbled across the room carrying a makeshift cardboard box full of Diwali festivities. With one hand, he tried to pull up his shorts, giving way to drop the festivities he was guarding so close.

“Fine,” said Ma. “Where do you want me to keep these?” Ma caught up with him. Harsh ignored her and wobbled over to his room. He emptied the contents of his cardboard box, shoved the lights inside, and sat atop.

“Harsh, what have you done!” Ma looked at the Pokemon cards, pebbles, temporary tattoos, and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles on the floor. Exhausted, she started picking them up.  

“Ma, will you take me to Papa’s house tonight?”

“Tomorrow is Diwali. I will take you tomorrow,” Ma said, unflinching.

A night of squabbles, fights, and hair-pulling later, Ma agreed that she could drop him off at her ex husband’s house if he would come back the next day.

Elated, Harsh stuffed his make-shift cardboard box in the backseat. The contents spilled out of the box just like his excitement that he could no longer hold within.

The ride was quick. As his mom rang the doorbell, Harsh ran inside, past Dad’s outstretched arms to his room. He was quick to realize that his tiny hands could not reach the window grills. So he waited patiently for his superhero to come to his rescue. Together, Dad and Harsh taped the lights, string by string, smile by smile.

The lights hesitated, flickered for a second until they came on. He wasted not a second to take a photo with the polaroid camera that he had made Ma carry. He ticked off his mental checklist, secret scheme playing along.

On reaching home the next day, he sped to his room, wobbling with the weight of the box, and stood outside hand on hips. He pasted the photo on his bedroom wall. From his pocket came another one, almost the same but not quite. Fiddling, he managed to put them right next to each other.

In the Diwali light, the picture was complete. Ma and Dad’s houses decorated with the same lights.

He laughed at the naivety of adults.

It only took a wall to bring them together.

And some duct tape.

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