At a time when Ghar Wapsi programmes by Sangh affiliates have created a raging controversy over religious conversions in the country, here is a heart-warming story of a family that has not allowed faith to come in the way of true love.Christmas has a special meaning in the home of Lavi Kalyan, 52, in-charge of the Ludhiana civil hospital nursery . She is a Christian by religion who is married to a Hindu, 62-year-old lawyer Ashok Kumar Upadhyay . Their daughter Shilpa is married to Manpinder Singh Mand, a Sikh, and is now settled in Australia.

Sitting at her home in Lud hiana’s Mohar Nagar, Lavi says, “We decorate our home on Diwali and keep the glitter till New Year. On Diwali, we perform all rituals according to the Hindu tradition. For us, love is above all the religions.“

On Diwali, the family performs traditional Hindu rituals at Upadhyay’s office at the new court complex while on Christmas, they visit the church. Their neighbours fondly address Upadhyay as Christian and Lavi as a Hindu. Now that their daughter is married to a Sikh, Guruparb is also a part of their list of festivals which are celebrated with gusto.

Lavi jokingly asks her son Anurag to bring home a Muslim daughter-in-law so that they have all religions under one roof. “If we are celebrating all festivals, a Muslim in the family would complete the cir cle. I always ask my son if he has a girlfriend. Unfortunately he hasn’t yet,“ she laughs.

Anurag, a first-year MBBS student at Christian Medical College in Ludhiana seems more focused on his studies for the time being.

On Christmas eve, the family had a bonfire with all their friends and family together. On Christmas, they give donations to needy people.

“It’s all about spreading love wherever you go. There is no power which can defeat love.Different people have different opinions about different religions, but we ignore them.We would not hesitate to stay anywhere, whether it is temple, a mosque, gurudwara or church,“ adds Upadhyay .