Friday, August 9, 2013

                  Kids never lie because they don’t know to change their words according to circumstances. Kids are honest and they say what they think. They do what they feel like and never flavor it with fakeness; if they are angry they show it directly; if they are sad, they cry; if they are happy they laugh their hearts out without looking at what place they are in. They never see colors, money or power to make friends. We have so much to learn from kids. We were one too but we eventually lose all these good qualities and adapt what suits the circumstance best, be it good or bad. I will never forget what I had learnt from a random kid.

This incident happened when I was in 11th class. That was a day when it was getting extremely late to school and my school suddenly became very strict about timings. The late comers were asked to stand outside, meet the principle, who we would otherwise see only during assemblies at a distance, and only then get back to our classrooms. My cycle was out of air and my mom had left to school already; she works with the school I did my schooling with. I had to walk to school. I used to take the lonely road instead of the main road to avoid traffic, always. I walked, walked fast and ran now and then when no one saw. There was another kid who was walking in parallel with me with her mom. She must have been in 6th class if I had to trust my memory. The mom had the girl’s school bag hung on one shoulder and lunch bag in her hand. They were also walking as fast as they could and matched my speed.

The girl dragged her mom saying ‘Mom if I go late today I need to meet the principal. I don’t like doing that. I will feel ashamed standing out of school in front of my whole class.’

The mom who couldn’t walk any faster, as she was already walking at her best speed, was breathing hard. She was getting too tired and exhaled loudly. The mom said ‘You can be late to school one day, doesn’t matter. I am not able to walk any faster. I will tell your teacher that you got late only because of me.’

The kid did not complain that her mom couldn’t walk fast but she warned now and then that it was getting late. The kid did not want to trouble her mother also. ‘It’s ok mom. Let’s walk as fast as we could, if it gets late even after that I will manage. But from tomorrow let’s start early mom.’
We almost reached the end of the straight road and turned to our left and then right. We had to walk a stretch further to reach the school. Suddenly the girl pulled her mom, who walked a few inches ahead of her. ‘What happened? You said it’s getting late. Come soon.’ He mom walked as the kid held her hand and pulled her.

‘Wait mom. Walk slowly please.’ The girl said.

It was surprising that the kid, who had been pushing her mom to walk fast and worried about reaching late, now asks her to walk slowly. I was curious to know what was wrong with the kid but I had to reach school soon else my mom would be the first person to throw me out of the school. The mom managed to drag the kid to match my speed. We walked a few steps and the kid asked ‘Mom why did you walk so fast?’

Before her mom could answer anything ‘Did you see that sister who was walking along with us?’
I thought she was referring to me and I became more curious to know what she would say next.
‘She can’t walk fast.’ The kid said.

I was little irritated that the kid was talking ill of me and making fun that I couldn’t walk as fast as them. I got mad at the kid and shouted ‘I can walk faster than you. You have no rights to talk about how I walk.’
The kid was surprised that I heard what she said. ‘Sister, I was not talking about you.’
‘I heard you talking. Don’t act smart.’ I said. The mom said ‘Why can’t you come quiet? Shut up now. Don’t talk back at seniors.’
She then said to me ‘Sorry, forgive her for this time. She didn’t say anything wrong right?’
The three of us were standing in a corner of the road and talking.

 ‘I did not talk about you. I was talking about that sister who is walking ahead of us now.’ She pointed at a female who had just walked passed us. She was physically challenged and the handicap was confined to her left leg. She had an artificial leg attached which was seen out of her pant.

‘She can’t walk fast and from how she struggles to walk fast I am sure she is in a hurry. If we walk so fast in front of her, she might feel left alone. She might lose the confidence that she had when she might have chosen to walk to her destination.’ She said.

Maybe what the kid said wasn’t completely correct or practically possible to follow. But the way the kid thought about the feelings of the physically challenged person impressed me a lot. Till then I had never thought about how someone who doesn’t have something that we have would feel if we show them what we have. Specially, I had never given a thought about the feelings of physically challenged and how they long to be treated the same; for the inclusion. Compassion is something I learnt from her. 

I would say that kid was my inspiration to make short films regarding inclusion of physically challenged. I dedicate the awards two of those films won in an international film festival to that girl, whose name I don’t even remember.

              Be good. Do Good. Be compassionate. Respect others feelings.

Girl, if you are reading this and recognize the incident please ping me. I would like to get connected with you.

The short films I dedicate to the little girl who brought a change in me:
Tiny Steps (Best film award in WE CARE Film Festival)
Candles (Special Mention award in WE CARE Film Festival)

All the above are about inclusion of Physically challenged in our world and treating them equally.

 I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

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