01 May Heart of Gold
We have a running group in Lucknow called “Lucknow Gazelles”. It basically intends to promote running as the cheapest, easiest and most effective way to stay fit. My husband is an avid marathoner and we do train people for marathons. The best thing about Gazelles is its family element. Husbands, wives, kids all run together.
My Aaheli, a vociferous five-year-old girl, is the centre of attraction in the group. Many times she is snobbish, angry and stubborn. I however, tune well with her, probably because I can see her sensitive heart underneath. There is only one way to get her to do something – be patient and explain it to her rationally.I hurt my foot recently in an accident so I was forced to walk, while everyone else was running. I took Aaheli’s hand and we started chit-chatting.
We were discussing her friends: Akshita, Navya and Prerna. “Who do you play with?” I asked her. She took altogether a different name and replied, “Aanya Goel”.”Okay, so is she your best friend?” I asked.”No, she isn’t”, she answered.”Then why do you play with her?”, I asked further.”I play with her because no one plays with her,” she said.I got confused. I was throwing questions, one after the other and she was answering each one of those innocently.
After much discussion, I could solve the mystery. Aanya happened to be her friend in preschool. She took too many leaves (medical complications might be the reason, I am not sure). Girls tend to play in groups. Now a frequent absentee found it hard to make a place for herself in a regular bracket. Aaheli sat with her closer friends during class but chose to play with Aanya during the lunch break as no one was ready to play with her. “I should play with the girl no one plays with, am I right?””Of course you are”, I murmured.I was completely touched by the sensitivity of my little princess. Empathy, compassion and sensibility – kids have the potential to teach real life lessons to us ‘pragmatic and mature’ adults.