Thank you India, says French family


The French tourist family stuck in Mumbai floods on Tuesday went to three hotels in Dadar looking for a safe place before being directed to the Gurudwara.

“One of our worst experiences in India turned (out) to (be) one of our best and we learnt a lot from you,” read the thank you postcard, written by Arie and Sophie Boleswaski and their three daughters to Dadar Gurudwara.

The French tourist family stuck in Mumbai floods on Tuesday went to three hotels in Dadar looking for a safe place before being directed to the Gurudwara. “We were lost in the rain, and your Gurudwara appeared like a lighthouse in the dark. Not only you provided us with a shelter, but you welcomed us with extreme kindness,” said Boleswaskis in the thank you note.

The family was offered dal khichadi for dinner and a small room by the Gurudwara officials as they were concerned about their safety.

“They were one of 750 victims of Mumbai floods who came to the Gurudwara in need of shelter and food. Considering their concerns and the fact that they are our guests, we ensured they are not inconvenienced in any way,” said Kulwant Singh, vice-president of Dadar Singh Sabha.

Singh said the family was extremely worried after the transportation system of the city collapsed and couldn’t find a safe place to spend the night. “They went about one hotel to another, but couldn’t find a suitable place. That’s when one of the hotel owners, directed them towards us,” said Manpreet Singh, one of the volunteers.

While the family refused any other special arrangement and chose to sleep on floor after seeing the condition of their fellow victims of the deluge, in the morning they said it was the best night of their life, Kulwant said.

As the family returned to their home town Paris, France, on Wednesday morning after the roads were cleared and transportation was resumed, but not without donating towards the cause of public welfare.

“Please accept this small contribution to everything you do for the souls in need. If you happen to come to Paris, please let us know,” said Arie and Sophie Boleswaski in the postcard.


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  1. What a wonderful, heart worming story. Out of our all religious places, Hare Krishna, Swaminarayan and Jain temples, Gurudwaras top the list when it comes to be charitable, helping the needy. This is a feather in the cap of our devoted Sikh community. I have been in this country for more than 50 years and I can see how low we have sunk during the last five decades. When we first landed on these shores or rather landed at the airport, our first home was in East London. There were hardly any brown faces seen and when we see some one like us, we go and talk to them. Celebrating Navratri was a pleasure, as we know every one, as Hindu community was so small, tiny, friendly and helpful. Traveling late at night, even for ladies was safe, people hardly locked their doors in a way we do today. Hardly any one had telephone and waiting time for it was at least a year, although in an emergency, we could have it within week or two, as it happened to us. Telephone kiosks were every where and there was no vandalism. Couple of times, I forget my diary in the booth, once with the wallet, although with little money. Both the time the finder delivered it personally to my home, as we were more or less neighbors. How the world has changed. People do not hesitate to cheat us, even our own community members who do not hesitate to take advantage of the weak, elderly and kind heart people. At one time silver, grey hair was a sigh of wisdom, respected and admired, now it is an open invitation to be mugged, robbed and cheated. It is time our temples preach good manners, humanity, love and brotherhood, visit the sick in hospitals as priests from Churches, mosques and other religions do. Recently I was in hospital for a month. While Christian, Muslim and Jewish patients were regularly visited by their priests, I never so a single person, a priest from any of our religious sects, ISKCON, Swaminarayan, Jain or any other sect. Fortunately in the next bed, there was a Jewish patient who was daily visited by a padre who had come here from Germany to learn English. After some hesitation, he approached me and gave me comfort, hope and strength to navigate this very tricky time in my life. I turned this episode into a wonderful heart-warming story, “To Hell and Back” published in various magazines and in one of my published books “Ivory Tower.”