The most inspiring people I have ever known, have been very simple and focused souls. There was that nun in a off-brownish sari; who got into the first train to an extremely cold border area. It had been rocked by a devastating earthquake.
” So, I was stepping into the train and someone asked me whether I had packed a sweater and a proper pair of shoes. I had not! It did not matter to me,” she said,” I just wanted to reach there and help.”
And help, she did. Trekking across the hilly terrains, she and her colleagues discovered many injured and dead, and literally heaved off heavy broken pieces of wood and iron to pull out people from beneath.
” And in one of the huts, was a cry from a baby- in the last moment, seeing the roof collapse, the mother had instinctively turned her body over the baby’s- protecting him. She was dead and he was alive , beneath her. I will never forget that scene,” she told me, eyes wet with tears.
I could just catch hold of her hands in awe!
Then there is the young woman who runs a beauty parlour. She is a single mother of two sons and also works as an anganwadi worker.
” I wake up at five every morning. House work done, kids sent off to school, I attend to my work at the anganwadi taking care of my duties. On returning, there is the parlour work where I also train girls at a discounted fee , art and craft classes that I give, jewellery making and instrumental music classes. I do not have a minute to waste,” she laughed, ” I sleep like a log.”
I looked at the award that she received the previous month, for exemplary work.
A vernacular story from a retelling of the Mahabharatha, which I had read some time ago, rekindled in my mind.
Bhima and Duryodhana, in a never ending competition about their individual strength wanted to know who was the strongest! They were advised to ask a woman who was walking at a great stride ahead of them.
She had a basket of food balanced on her head, a small baby on her hips, another clinging to her sari and she carried some vessels too.
Her pace was so fast that the princes struggled to keep up with her.
They only managed to gasp, and could not find the energy to raise their doubt.
By that time, she had reached the farmlands where her partner was toiling in the hot sun with the bullocks and plough. After she had served food, she cut grass for the bullocks, fed the kids, cleaned the vessels and started back for home to prepare for the evening chores.
The princes who were watching, again followed her.
When they , albeit shamefacedly this time, asked her for a solution to their question, the woman replied thus:
” I will carry you in my arms since I have not a minute to waste and I will answer your questions as I walk. What was the question about?”
End of story.
I will end by quoting Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes on the spirit of such wonderful souls.
” She is ideas, feelings, urges, and memory. She has been lost and half forgotten for a long, long time. She is the source, the light, the night, the dark, and day break. She is the smell of good mud and the back leg of a fox. The birds which tell us secrets belong to her. She is the voice that says, ‘this way, this way’…”