Be your own #RoleModel
I met this young girl in the morning. She was vibrant and full of life. I handed her a chocolate from the box I was carrying. She stretched her hand and took the chocolate from me and softly said- Thank you. I noticed her looking at the entire box and looking innocently wondering what else could be there. I was smitten by her innocence and handed that entire box to her. It made her very happy and with great glee she held my hand, looked at me and said- I Love you!
I love you to, I told her and got down from the lift and moved towards my flat. I could not help but remember her sweet smiling face and innocent glance. I wondered - Kids taught us so many things. Above all they teach us to be honest and innocent. However there was something different, something special in that kid that I noticed. I felt that she is different from various other kids. I was curious and wanted to meet here again but forgot to ask here where she stays and who her parents were.
Next day while on my return from office, I saw few kids running towards me. They were this two little tots who stayed in apartment below my floor. They seem to have come back from their Nani's house. They shouted "Didi..Hiiiiii how are you". I smiled back at them and started exchanging the camaraderie. We were joined by few more children and amid them I found this lovely young child that I met a day before. I found her looking at me continuously. I asked her name. Asmara, such a beautiful name. I asked her if she knew the meaning of this name. She said no and ran away.
It was Sunday morning. I was lazying at my house when I heard the doorbell ring. "It must be the Kachrawalla. I am in shower can you open the door and give him the dustbin beta? Also tell him to broom the stairs as it is very dusty there" My mom shouted from the washroom.
I half of halfheartedly opened the door and peeped out to hand over the garbage bin to "Kachrawalla", thinking that why do we call them "Kachrawala" while in reality it is "our kachra" that they help clean. I thoughts were bowled over by a pair of little hands that came forth to pick that basket from me. When I looked at the face, I was stumped to see Little Asmaara standing in dirty cloths picking dustbins from door to door, emptying them with help of other kids [older than her] in a big vessel of open dustbin that smelled rotten. It was rot of the rotten. generally I would have puked at that sight but seeing little kids including Asmara go through this, broke my heart. She looked at me, smiled and then quickly rushed away collecting garbages from other house. All I could say was- Asmaara? What are you doing here?
My heart filled with grief and sadness thinking about her whole day. I decided to get down and look for in evening. I asked my little friends from a floor below to take me to her. She was playing with kids in garden. When she looked at me, she felt kind of embarrassed and tried to hide away. I went near her and told that I want to talk to her.
Asmara is a poor girl that hailed from the slum nearby. She would assist her parents in garbage work in day time and study in a local school. She seems to be a bright student as I could see her speaking simple but clean English. I told her that I know the meaning of her name. She asked what is it? Asmaara means a beautiful butterfly, I told her. Me and beautiful? She laughed.. But didi I pick kachra and stay in kachra. That moment my heart came to my mouth and I was almost in tears. I pushed myself and told her that even "Lotus" flower originates and buds in mud but still is considered to be purest most for worship. She was amused and smiled. It is then I decided to encourage her little mind with goodness ahead. I told her few cases of exemplary achievers who in spite of their humble backgrounds have rise to name, fame and wealth. I told them to find a "role model" in them, their story and accordingly strive to find a better way for her own life. I told her about some popular examples like actors, businessman etc who could fit the bill. I asked her if any of these inspire her and who will she call her role model so that I can help her with story of their life.
She told me- you know didi, I really like you. Instead I love you. You are like an "image" to me. Whenever, I am in pain or feel bad, I think about you. I think, if that didi can manage so many things on her one leg, alone, staying away from her family, why can't I do? Allah had given me both the legs and hands. So didi, you are my "role model".
I was moved by the child's interpretation of things and thinking. In our busy life, we struggle to make both ends meet, little do we realize that a lot of people especially the new generation watching us. Little did I ever realized that a person like me, who is full of her own flaws, could be seen as someone's "example of an image". I never thought of being anyone's role model [guess that's the word, the little child wanted to say]. All I was entangled in my own web of life. That moment taught me lot of things. I looked at Asmaara and said- Be your own role model Beta.
She was amused and with her little twinkling eyes, she asked- My own role model? How didi? I told her this with a little "point system" that I often use to explain a concept to kids. I tried to teach her certain things that I learnt in my life and how I picked good things from people and modeled on it. She asked me if I have a role model? Oh I have just too may. I said and told about few of them, hoping that it should inspire her to et up from her current condition and aim to scale towards a better life. "Education" I told her. "Let Education and tenacity for results be your goal and let your goal be your role model." Pucca didi, said the little Asmaara before going to play with friends, promising me that she will give her best to studies and ensure that will study at least till her graduation which is class 12th plus class 13th, class 14th and class 15th, that I told her :)
Well that was little Asmaara and her role model. Before I sign off, I want to reiterate that while we have plenty of examples nearby to look upon, we must also aim to up our ante and push our bar higher to become a role model for self and others. Life is full of struggle I agree. But again life is beautiful too. The hardships should not reduce us but they should serve as an opportunity to build us and build us better. I request that when you look at mirror, do not turn your back on self. Rather face it, face to face. Look into your own eyes and ask what have you done today to make that yourself face yourself. The mirror will not show you the same image that it has shown ages before but the image that it shows you today, should be better than what was ages before. I am not talking mere about physical beauty but also austerity and accountability. Be accountable of your own life. Be your own role model. You will love life and the life will love you back.