Asha, My Inspiration

It is my daily routine to pick my three-year-old son from his play school. We would then shop for groceries and vegetables on the way, in a near-by shop, before heading home. On that day, I noticed a row of hut houses opposite to the grocery shop, next to the ongoing construction work. By the time, I paid the bill and turned to my son, I saw him holding a long branch of a tree. He seemed excited about something on the other side of the road though I couldn’t first spot what it was. I asked him from where he had picked the branch. He pointed towards a little girl who was rolling a dirty torn ball with a similar tree branch, on the other side of the road.

She must be of the same age as my son, wearing a soiled pink dress that was meant for girls much older than her. Her hair was unevenly cut that could not have seen a comb or oil ever. It was obvious now what my son was amused at. The girl turned to our side. With a happy smile, she gestured him to join her in the ball play. Without a thought, my little fellow eagerly moved in her direction. I reacted immediately; held his hand and pulled him towards me. Disappointed by the arrest, he let out a loud barbaric cry. The little girl stopped rolling the ball. The smile on her face slowly faded until she took a glance at me. I must have appeared like a witch to her for I could see the terror at once in those small eyes.

Even a long time after I reached home, the incident disturbed me. All along, I’ve regarded compassion as a great virtue. I had looked at myself as a kind and thoughtful woman. I always made it a point to donate to children homes on birthdays and anniversaries. But was that all my compassion about? Why did I not let my son play with the little girl? Was it because she looked shabby? Was I scared that my son would incur a disease from her? Was I worried that my son could pick up unfavourable habits from her? Or was it because I deem her to be of a lower class in the society? Well then, don’t higher class children go down with fatal diseases? Aren’t street children healthy at all, in spite of never having given vaccination and nutritious food? First of all, does social class really matter for small children to play together? It was a pointless, perturbing conflict of emotions that I encountered that day because I knew I can never allow my son to play with an under-served child.

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The following day, while I was picking up vegetables from the shop, my son was glued to the little girl in the pink dress again. With a closer look, I noticed that she was carefully stepping on dried leaves on the roadside. With every step, the crumbling of the leaves would delight her and she would give out a silly giggle. She soon recognized our presence and once again called out to my son to play with her. By now, my son has realized the ‘NO’ factor and remained still. The little girl kept smiling at him though she didn’t understand why he just can’t simply join her. On the way back home, I was surprised to see my boy tread carefully over dried leaves. He seemed to rejoice the little play, for the giggle that followed told so.

I thought about it a little deeper that night. She’s just a small child as my son. And she wants to play with a fellow kid. How guileless a desire?! For what fault of her is she ostracized by people like me? Does she even understand what social classes are? Again by the end of the battling insights, I knew I can never allow my son to play with her.

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It was raining heavily the next day while we took shelter under the shop’s roof. My eyes scanned for her until I spotted her near a large pool of dirty mud water on the road side. She seemed to be in heightened excitement, leaving paper boats to sail on the pool, her pink dress fully wet by now. It was a sight of intense admiration for how the little girl was celebrating the glory of the moment! She waved her hand to my son in-between her flurry of excitement. In a jiffy, I felt disappointed that my son was missing what she owned – nature! In fact, the longing look on his face revealed what he yearned to do; get wet in the rain and do what she did.

Soon after we reached home, I made paper boats for him. We made them sail in a bucket of water. However, it didn’t seem to fascinate him; needless to say, one would know why.

My heart softened for her that day. Despite the fact that my son doesn’t join her, she continues to call him to play with her every day. Indeed, innocence and children are never apart; at least not yet. But it will not be long before she identifies society’s insensitivity towards children like her. I couldn’t imagine how this would affect such children as they grow up. When people of other strata turn their cold shoulders to them, they might begin to bear the brunt of social arrogance. Perhaps, most criminals and rapists have such stories in their past. For another time, this mental squabble left me in a state of havoc. All may be said well, but it was my family and my child that was important to me. My responsibility towards the society around me certainly seemed a bush-league stuff. I may say this with shame and guilt but to put simply, I am tied.

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As we stopped at the shop the next day, the little girl was seen calm. She was sitting on the road-side, making play dolls with the wet mud softened by the rains of the previous day; her pink dress was almost brown. She made a big ball and a small ball with the mud. She joined the two, attaching mini hands and legs to them. She quietly smiled at my son who was having a banana. Accidentally, the banana fell off from his hand. At once, the girl ran towards us to collect the banana from the ground and quickly ran away.

My son was given a weekend project at his play school to make a clay car at home. As we opened the kit, I explained him how the car would be built. I left him for a while to explore his hands with the clay. When I came back, I was utterly surprised with what he had made out of the clay. He had made a big ball, a small ball and attached mini hands and legs to them. What my son was taught in a play school, children as her learn through nature. What irony, I thought!

The scene of the little girl picking up the sand-clad banana from the ground recapped on my mental screen. My heart went out for her. With no second thoughts, I decided to get bananas and a play ball for her the following Monday. And why not let my son play with her for a little while?! For the first time, I came out of my conventional conditioning. Yes, I wanted to add a little more joy to her already care-free, cheerful days. Why, wouldn’t it be nice to see them walk together?! After the series of troubled nights, my conscience found peace at last.

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I had already bought some fruits and a ball. As we neared the shop street, I noticed that vehicles were blocked to enter the lane. Pedestrians could still proceed. There was a huge crowd for a few feet before the shop. I could not possibly guess what the matter was. We kept passing into the crowd and what I heard just shattered me. A little girl had accidentally fallen off from the being-constructed building and died on the spot. Before I could rush to the spot of the accident, I saw the body of the girl being carried by a man. I couldn’t see the girl’s face but the pink dress with dried mud on it was clearly visible. A thin woman cried her heart out, addressing the little girl as Asha. I could no longer contain my emotion. I dropped the fruits and the ball on the ground that was smeared with blood stains. Dragging my heavy heart and legs, I wearily managed to reach home that day.

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What a little girl had changed in me in four days, I doubt if it could have ever happened to me otherwise. The mother, the writer and most of all, the human in me found a new inspiration in her! As a mother, I’ve begun to let my son dwell with nature whenever possible. I allow him to walk over the road corners so that he can rejoice stamping on dry leaves. I take him onto the road side pools when it rains instead of teaching ‘Rain rain go away’ at home. I occasionally let him explore Mother Earth’s natural clay.  Above all, I make him share his toys with a few underprivileged children near our home with the hope that the seed for social equality and compassion in a real sense gets sown in him. He now discovers new plays with sand, trees and insects such that he is no longer dependent on expensive toys for fun.

As a writer, I now know that it’s just not about what’s being written. Inspiration is when the ‘who’ behind the writing undergoes metamorphosis; that marks a writer’s threshold beyond which there is no control over the flow of the content.

As a human, I’ve realized how important it is to look at every person as a unique being, capable of bringing about positive changes, irrespective of their position in the society, of the place they live in and the dress they wear!

Asha, my inspiration!

This post is part of the #madeofgreat campaign which celebrates the association of the Football legend, Lionel Messi with Tata Motors.

Photo Courtesy

Header Image: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5176/5449513675_ab2e1990f6_b.jpg

Disclaimer: This work was my contribution at Writer’s Ezine

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64 thoughts on “Asha, My Inspiration

    • Thanks for your continued love, Deepika. Don’t worry, the entire story is a fiction. However, it’s a real-life reflection of how underprivileged children are looked down upon. My heart goes out to those small children who sell books, toys and car accessories at traffic signals. I’ve seen people travelling by car treat them like beggars. They don’t realize that these children are making a living and not begging.

      Children are children, irrespective of class. But the inequality in our hearts make us see their status and not the child in them. I hope our government brings in more reforms on healthy childhood. It can certainly bring down crime rates.

      I read your post. Heart touching with interesting twists! Happy writing!

      Like

  1. Very good story. I hope this story wins 🙂

    Destination Infinity
    PS: I feel, religion, politics, wealth, etc. are social systems created by humans. It’s not fair to blame the social structure when it’s people who create and nurture them.

    Like

  2. Believe it or not…this heart rendering story moved me to tears….good writing….keep them coming (BTW.. watch Manjadikuru , a malayalam movie directed by Anjali Menon)

    Like

  3. Amazing story and superb narration Nandhini. I loved the way, inspiration flowed waved over the story. Climax broke my heart badly! I cannot come out of it!

    Touching tale and my best wishes for the contest.

    Like

    • Thanks Gowtham. I’ve actually started feeling guilty for the climax. It isn’t good to hear readers leave my page with a heavy heart. But then, it wasn’t a planned plot. It just flowed a few minutes before the contest deadline. Thanks again for your time here. Please do connect more often.

      ‘Accident’ was a well-thought and well-narrated story. I’ve voted for it! Best wishes to you too!

      Like

  4. we have forgotten to appreciate nature by living in concrete jungle, you have superbly portrayed the inequality in your story but for the contest purpose I think the break up angle is missing or we can say you have shown a different type of break up

    Like

    • Thanks Cifar. If the contest admins are okay with just an inclusion of the ingredients sonewhere, then this story will fit in. Even otherwise, if this could make a few people contemplate about social inequality, it would give me victory.

      Appreciate your time here. Please continue your visits yo pages from serendipity.

      Like

  5. A heart touching tale .
    I agree that sometimes we miss few basic happiness because of fear of so many things .
    Answer to the question asked :

    Tata Motors is a brand which is one of its kind , Trustworthy and innovative .
    Lionel Messi is a Legend and youth icon , a person who is extra ordinary talented ,energetic , confident & dedicated to his profession .
    So association of Tata motors and Lionel Messi is a Great Thing as both of them does not know tiredness and are committed to their brand value .This collaboration would definitely give an edge to Tata Groups over its competitors as the brand ambassador Messi hold the reputation of not letting down his fans as Tata motors has given the best to the world.
    Show less

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  6. This made me break down. Wonderfully written and so, so true. Compassion should not limited to what we think it it – it is important to be human and treat everyone equally. Loved it. Leaving a comment not for the contest, but to tell you that I’m sharing this with my friends. Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Among the contest spree comments, glad to see a genuine word here. Thanks for catching the message. It’s a strong dream from the bottom of my heart, body and soul to witness equality in humans. Thanks a ton for sharing; please do share your best, there could be some who take in the message in a true sense.

      Like

  7. I read this word by word and seldom do I read like this because I am bookworm of bygone era and csn read by glancing but some write ups are so gluing that eyes get stuck and mind moves at the whim of the writer. Rightly my mind stands awed at the skill of writer and heart literally bleeding for Asha. Really #madeofgreat. Kudos and best wishes.

    Lionel Messi question I am strongly convinced that Tata Motors is lucky to have him on board and my opinion is that no other person could have done justice to their brand of real mettle and this man too is the real mettle they have joined hands with. Keep rising and shining.

    Like

  8. Nice Post.. 🙂 Coming to the answer:

    Not all the man are reaching the peak in life. Lionel Messi did it. Not all the companies are attracted by the customers. Tata motors did it. Lionel Messi stood up as youth icon whereas Tata motors stood up as world ranking in the automobile industry. So, how about the collaboration between them? Their match becomes so perfect. How many same characteristics they both share? Perseverance, hard work, simple, gentle and so on. Hence, their team is surely a winning one and both are #madeofgreat.

    Like

  9. Truly inspirational! One can never imagine, who and what may give us valuable lessons in life.
    As far as Tata and Messi are concerned, I just have one thing to say, when Durability meets Excellence, the only way is ‘Forward’!

    Like

  10. What an ending to this heart-touching tale! I literally had water pouring down my cheeks 😦 Simple language but you’ve brought out the confusions of your mind and the emotions of your heart so realistically. That’s what makes a great writer. Good luck to you!

    I don’t know if it’s wise to say that Tata Motors is taking a giant leap with Messi or if Messi is taking a giant leap with Tata; ultimately, it’s a giant leap for India for the creation from this land is made to be witnessed by global audiences!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Nandhini

    Excellent post 🙂

    Tata Motors’ association with Lionel Messi spells a significantly notable alliance that will steer the company towards favourable benefits. I always acknowledge Tata Motors as a distinctive name in Auto industry, which will not let the success ‘larger-than life’ elude from its fate now with a timeless guild with iconic figure Messi. I don’t see this union of Tata Motors as an aspirational effort for garnering some quick publicity and evoke specific reaction from myriad crowd with Celeb branding, but is rightly an embellished handshake for keeping up the pace to get to the pinnacle of success graph. To sum things up, I am joyous to see the brand and the star uniting for ‘One in a Million’ #madeofgreat power-packed drive ahead 🙂

    Do share your views on my post as well http://maliveandkicking.blogspot.in/2015/11/holiness-of-character-is-key-to-be.html

    Shilpa

    Like

  12. wonderful write up.
    Answer to the question :
    Tata Motors has earned the goodwill from giving the best and innovative Automobiles and it is also known as one the best Automobile Manufactures. And if you see the Lionel Messi , his throughout dedication, zeal , targeted goal of life and technically soundness make him big, achiever and remarkable position in the world.
    As per me, the association of Tata Motors and Messi is a grand amalgamation of two legendary entities of the world, and their amalgamation will definitely break down the clutters and affect the cut throat competition of Tata Motors. Tata motors will sure get a huge preference by the fans of Messi. This will sure make a record of Tata motors in the world of production or may be the highest selling automobiles.
    Tata motor’s main target is to give an impression on the large amount of crowd and this can be achieved only through the Messi, because the youth generation is crazy for MESSI and this can be smart move and a great achievement for Tata Motors they positioned MESSI as their BRAND AMBASSADOR .
    In the nutshell, Tata Motors , Messi joining hands will definitely give more soundness in technicality of promotional strategies and Messi’s influence will influence the audience for choosing Tata Motors and expand the business drastically.

    Like

  13. Hi Nandini, can’t express how ecstatic I am feeling after becoming aware of such a splendid personality like this woman of substance from your life. Such a mentor is certainly the ‘gem of a person’ with a ‘heart of gold’. You have portrayed the impact of her on your life so beautifully. Hats off to this rolemodel who has carved an indelible imprint on your life, a master for her noteworthy contribution in giving your life a whole new definition and kudos to you for such a great write-up. 🙂

    Tata motors, the name speaks power, patronage and patriotism to we, the Indians, as this is our very own arena of trust and belief loaded with performance and excellence. When Tata motors got associated with the living legend Lionel Messi, this association has become the merger of Tiitans, the coalition of two power-packed performers.

    • Leo Messi, the football maestro, is the performer par excellence on the football courts while Tata motors is the makers of masterpieces to conquer the roads. This is the one union that is #madeofgreat power and perseverance.
    • While Messi is being counted for his winning stride, Tata Motors is the reason for Indians to feel pride. This is the one alliance that is #madeofgreat quantum and quality.
    • While Leo Messi is the personification of panache, Tata Motors is the portrayal of perfection. This is the one amalgamation that is made of great presentation and practicality.

    So, for The Style Symphony, Tata motor’s association with Lionel Messi is #madeofgreat value that is indeed going to benefit the automotive industry with a new zeal to touch the zenith.

    Like

  14. Your post defines #madeofgreat in a awesome manner.Very well written and interesting post indeed.
    My Answer
    Tata Motors is a brand that makes durable vehicles, with its MADE IN INDIA mark makes every Indian proud. It is a brand seen globally as Trusted, Reliable, Innovative and at the forefront of technology. In its journey since inception it has overcome all odds, competition, and adversities with grit and determination. These same qualities are associated with Lionel Messi who was very talented and hardworking from a very early age. With each game that he played he kept improving his skills and built a career to become one of the best player of professional football. There qualities make both TATA Motors and Lionel Messi giants who perfectly compliment each other and Lionel Messi the right and perfect Ambassador who stands for the same values that TATA Motors does.
    bhuwan198grover@gmail.com

    Like

  15. Hi
    Yours is a very well written post your .Its is a very nice description of #madeofgreat
    TATA Motors is a brand associated with performance, endurance and excellence. These words are also synonymous with Lionel Messi who plays as a forward and weaves his magic on the football field.Just as Lionel Messi is considered the best footballer in the world ,TATA motors which is Indias premier automotive manufacturer gives wheels to the people of India with its wide range of vehicles. Both believe in excelling in whatever they do and set examples for others to follow. They compliment each other as both are reliable trustworthy and leaders thus Lionel Messi is the natural choice as the brand ambassador of TATA Motors
    yagneshbjoshi10099@gmail.com

    Like

  16. Very touching post dear! Wish you all the very best!
    My Answer:
    Tata Motors’ association with Lionel Messi is undoubtedly #madeofgreat! Tata Motors known as a maestro in Auto industry, and it’s not any surprise that they would like to make bound with another maestro, iconic figure Messi! No one can say, it is just for publicity or a trick to attract a particular generation, by teamed with Celeb branding; it is very natural and rightly to make a bond in two great – Tata Motors and Lionel Messi. And, if you ask me; I’m a fan of both, so it’s perfectly #madeofgreat for me!

    Email: koyelishawchakraborty@gmail.com

    Like

  17. Inspiration,
    Dedication,
    Discipline,
    Commitment,
    Trust,
    Loyalty,
    Excellence,
    Legacy,
    Immortality.

    These are not mere words but a part of our soul. Not just the ones that we carry around in our individual bodies but that supreme soul that binds us all together in this universe. That is why we teach our children values and morals so that these little pockets of our souls do not die away. But when we look around at our modern day lifestyle and society,it leaves a lot to be desired, right? Wrong 🙂 I would say,as long as we have even 1 shred of humanity left,there is a ray of sunshine and that is what we see here.

    I am inspired by your story just as I am inspired by the stories of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi. As I said above about humanity and ray of sunshine, it is very few icons left in this world who make me feel that way. Both Tata and Messi definitely make it to this short list.

    When we talk about Tata Motors,we talk about the pride that every Indian feels because this is our truly global brand, a brand with a soul, with every product made to help us fly. This is a corporate behemoth that has not amassed its fortunes at the cost of the little man but by being a part of the very grassroots. The legacy of excellence and giving back to the society selflessly is so ingrained in Tata DNA that it has become part of folklore. Even today,in any Indian home, the moment a son/daughter gains employment in a Tata company, nobody talks about salary or CTC, they just thank their lucky stars that they are a part of Tata family. The very soul of India resides in Tata. Tata Motors has taken these very same values global, making Indians proud of what they represent. ‘Look,we represent excellence, with a dollop of old world values, with love and respect’ !

    When we look at Messi, we see a boy with dreams in his eyes and a man who has put everything he had in making them come true, and he did! With singleminded focus,dedication and hardwork, he has managed to outdo every obstacle he faced since his birth personally, healthwise and family financial situation wise. Every obstacle became just another step for him to grow and reach up the sky. And still, every time he walks out on the field, he plays with the same agility, alarcity and a a hunger to prove himself as if it is his first game! He hasn’t achieved his demi-God status without superhuman efforts.

    When these two demi-Gods of their respective fields come together, there are bound to be fireworks and that is exactly what it is! Purely from a corporate point of view, there are rare instances when we see such a perfect fit form. It can be called a divine sign that a symbol of vibrancy and dynamism like no other has taken shape with the partnership of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi. More than a mere advertising gambit,it is an amalgamation of those perhaps ‘lost’ values that the world needs more of,now more than ever. Maybe the Gods are finally happy!

    Like

  18. Thanks Nandini for leading me into your lovely blog and this post in particular is a masterstroke from a great story teller that kept me engaged and really overawed by thr narration, could really feel the soiled pink dress in front of me! I understand from the comments window that this is a purely fictional one..Thank God for that!

    Like

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