For the last few days the budhia situation has grabbed a few headlines. The memory of the average Indian is notoriously short, and I am sure before long it will be relegated to the back pages of the dailies..right next to the apartment listings. This is absolutely normal, who for example remembers the second wife of one Mr. Suryanarayana..to think she dominated the headlines a week or so ago!! I, being an average Indian myself, will also no doubt, forget all about the li l kid in a few days...this post is to ensure that I remember.
Well..so you are born into a family so poor that your mum cannot buy you milk. Your dad s a beggar who dies before you reach your first birthday. Desperate for some cash, your mum sells you for Rs. 800. Sounds like a smashing begining for a Hindi film. You of course grow up to be a coolie who is a revolutionary in his own right, before gettin sucked up into the big bad mumbai underworld, and die a heros death before you reach your 40s.
Or, maybe, as I am sure it happens more often in our country, you somehow manage to reach adulthood through hunger and extortion. You ll be lucky if you can read your alphabet and you will be working as a construction worker, or begging on the streets, or if you are very very lucky (and of course industrious) you ll be able to eke out a respectable living for yourself, as peon in a government office, or maybe a rickshaw puller, or a nightwatchman... Dreaming for you will mean going for a hindi movie, buying the cheapest ticket available, amd staring at the screen for 3 hours. Squashed by life, you ll probably never learn what it is like to be able to dream of something more... a better life... adventure.. This is only to be expected, several men born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths resign themselves to a life of drudgery... life never really gave you a chance.
Wouldnt it be wonderful, if in such a life you discover that there is something that makes you happy, maybe makes you forget how much your life sucks. And what if that something is as simple as running? Not harming anyone, not thieving after food, not he rat race for survival..as simple as running..endlessly...for tens of kilometers. Surely no one should have a problem with that.
Right now Budhia is aged four...I am sure he is hardly capable of a full realization of what is happening around him. But life, that seemed to have given him such a raw deal, also gave him a talent. And it also, quite magically, gave him an oppurtunity to realise that talent. Surely no one should have a problem with this. It seems like a few people do.
The Orissa Government, that benevolent organisation ,is suddenly tripping over itself trying to protect him. It even went on to do the unthinkable and ban Budhia from running. Surely, they have a right to do this, they had after all done everything to ensure Budhia led a comfortable life prior to his attempting to run 65 Kms...of course they can take away someone's fundamental Right to Freedom. They have since then, been rapped on their knuckles. This is India guys..it is a free country.
Ther have been some well founded concerns over the repercussions of a 4 year old running an unimaginable 65 Kms..on his health and on his normal growth. P.T Usha herself has said that this could have adverse effects on the child. It is very obvious to the common sensibility that a 4 year old cannot run 65 Kms without such an exertion affecting him at all.
It seems to me that everybody, right from the courts to the government to the doctors to his beloved coach are fighting for Budhia's well being and his happiness. Then surely, it would make sense, if all of them were to work with and not against one another. The matter needs to be dealt with sensitivity, and not the usual bluster that charecterises that powers that be in our country.
Budhia, I am sure, is blissfully unaware of all the ruckus. He is just happy that the one thing he loves doing, running, has given him a chance to lead a better life, to travel...to allow him a chance to dream.
He just wants to keep running, surely no one should have a problem with that.