A walk to remember

The sun was shining bright in the sky, even the month of October felt like as if it is June. I was in the middle of the street trying to find my way out. I was once again deceived by Google maps, and now I was lost. I tried to ask local people. Some didn’t knew and some were not even interested. These client meetings can be awful at times, specially when you are not into your job willingly. I was new to the place and was trying to know it a little better. I somehow managed to find a place near to mine on the maps which was about 3 Km away. I was not having any vehicle and also public transport was not available for that particular area. So without any option I had to walk.

I was already cursing the situation I was in, and was blaming myself for the decisions I have made. I took the road and started to walk. There were some shops on the roadside but none of the people knew about the place. I was walking just when I saw two school kids walking the same direction I was going. Their same uniform was indicating that they were from the same school. Their torn dress and no school shoes could tell that they were not from a economically stable background. They were teasing each other and were laughing loudly in the middle of the road. For a moment I was jealous of the fact how free and happy they were. Just when I crossed them I decided to ask them my place. To my surprise they somehow knew the place. They told me they were going in the same direction and I can join them. I agreed to this. We three started walking on the road in the middle of nothing.

They were both talking to each other, just when I decided to pick up a conversation. I asked them in which class do they study. They told me that one was in fourth class and one was in sixth. I started asking them about what subjects do they study in school. The younger one told me, “They teach us Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit and English.” I asked him don’t they teach mathematics and science in school. To which the elder one gently slapped the younger one and laughed “Don’t they teach maths to you.”

The sight of them enjoying each other’s company was amusing. I again asked them, “What do you want to do in future”. The younger one immediately replied I want to be a hockey player. At this I asked him in a sarcastic way, “But what would you do for money” and he again replied with the same excitement “who wants money, I just want to represent my country.” Then I asked the elder one and he said he wants to be a doctor. To which he said, “I just want to make sure no one in my neighbourhood dies just because we cannot afford a doctor.” He further told me how one amma lost her life because they couldn’t take her to the a doctor for treatment.

I was just amazed by the the thinking capabilities of such young kids, and was wondering how lost are we all that we cannot even ponder over such thoughts. Just then the younger one said “we will take a turn from here, you just keep going straight and take the first left, you will find your place.”

I realised that I haven’t asked their names, so I said, “What are your names?” The younger one said, “He is Deepak and I am Ali”.

I waived at both of them and started to walk on my way. It was just so inspiring that such young kids can think at this level and we being the responsible adults our running away from our duties. Our duties towards the nation, towards the society and towards the people we live with. And somehow I realised we all have a kid deep inside who is living with such dreams and aspirations, it’s just that we don’t listen to it much, and It is time now to let that kid make the decisions.

I remember the words by Robert Frost:

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

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Veracious Independence

Cool zephyr, swaying trees, moist soil, and majestic rain that is the beauty of monsoon season. And if you finally decide to travel in such a weather, then that’s the perfect icing on the cake.

Travelling gives you a whole new level of optimism, fresh thoughts to live by and of course a positive attitude to deal with life. Nature has this unlike allure of inspiring people and that’s what the beauty of nature is all about. But like all the others, this beautiful journey was also coming to an end.

I was on my bus back to my place, recalling all the wonderful moments and beautiful places I had been to, this weekend. As the bus was crossing the streets of the city, it was easy to make out that Independence day was around the corner. Everyone was busy in the preparation of 15 August.

The streets were filled with the tricolour, our national flag. Shops were selling stuffs and flowers all made in three colours, the saffron, white and green. The eyes of people were filled with pride of being free.

A sense of patriotism arose in my heart and I started thinking about how long we have come, defying all the odds. The struggle of freedom has been a hard one and is worth remembering. All our heroes who have participated in the freedom struggle must be honoured and respected.

The bus then stopped at the signal and the approaching Independence day could be felt there also. The people, instead of the usual things, were selling small hand made tricolours. But amidst all of this something caught my eye. A small girl of about 6 years was selling tricolours going from vehicle to vehicle. She held a bunch of flags in one hand and was rushing through the streets bare feet.

Her eyes were glooming with innocence and I suppose she didn’t even knew what actually this Independence day was about, what actually happened on 15 August, because she never went to a school to learn all this. Her beautiful tiny hands which were supposed to hold books, were holding the burden of poverty. For her, even at this tender age, getting some money was far more important then being free.

All those inspirational thoughts inside me were shattered. Many questions came to my mind. Why is she supposed to do this? Who is making her do all this? Can something be done regarding this?

But the question I have been thinking about the most and will leave you all with that.

Are we really free? Can we call this Independence?