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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on July 3rd, 2018
Preeta Bansal recalls how a neighbor’s kindness, led to a 50-year family friendship

The two families in 1969 in Lawrence, Kansas.
The two families in 1969 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Photo: dailygood.org

In the mid-1960’s, two-year-old Preeta and her mother and brother and sister, ages 4 and 5 came from India to join her father, who was in Kansas working on his Ph.D.

Kansas was far different than India, and its winter snow and icy temperatures were like nothing the family had ever encountered.

And Preeta’s family was among the first families from India, so they had no-one to guide them in their new culture. Then a neighbor, “Val” (Valerie) got involved.

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It was winter, and the family had no winter coats and no car.

In the snow, Preeta’s father walked her older siblings to school, and as the children shivered, Val pulled up in her warm car.

She had similar age children and offered to take Preeta’s siblings to school with them. Preeta’s father gratefully agreed.

This became a daily occurrence.

Then Val began taking Preeta’s mother grocery shopping, and Preeta’s mother began cooking Indian food for her, and their families grew close.

That Christmas, Preeta’s brother was given the class Christmas tree, and being a Hindu family, they didn’t know the customs that went with it.

Yet like Santa, Val arrived with stockings to hang, and gifts to put under the tree, as their family friendship blossomed.

But as the years passed, time and distance separated them, although Preeta’s parents remained friends with Val and her husband.

Last year as Val grew frail, Preeta’s parents visited her and soon afterward she passed away.

But the friendship that began with a simple act of kindness lasted a half-century and its memories still live in the hearts of the two families to this day.

Preeta Bansal shares a laugh with Barack Obama
Preeta Bansal shares a laugh with Barack Obama
Photo: indiacurrents.com

Editor's Note: Preeta graduated from Harvard University in 1986 and from Harvard Law School in 1989. Now in her 50’s, she has held various senior government positions and is a lecturer at MIT.

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In the next KazanToday: A 96-year-old high school student.

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