No Pain No Gain

India does not have much of a claim in the field of sports, except cricket, which is not an Olympic sport, Hima Das, an Indian sprint runner has changed all that. She was born at Kandhulimari village, near the town of Dhing in the state of Assam to parents who are farmers by profession. She is the youngest of five children. She attended the Dhing Public high School and was initially interested in playing football. But bereft of any future prospects, playing football with boys, she upon the advice of her school physical education teacher opted for sprint.

Hima found the going tough and having poor parents exacerbated her sufferings. She ran without running shoes which she could not afford. She ran in borrowed shorts and T-shirts which she took from the boys at her school. Her humble background, inability to communicate in English, all became obstacles in her quest for excellence in sprinting.

Hima Das was born on 9 January 2000, and is nicknamed the Dhing Express. (the name of her village). She holds the current Indian national record in 400 meters with a timing of 50.79 s that she clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She is the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships

At the 2018 Asian Games, Das qualified for the 400 m final, after clocking 51.00 in heat 1 and setting a new Indian national record. On 26 August 2018, she improved the national record to 50.79 s in the 400 m final to win the silver medal. Hima also won a silver medal in the 4×400 m mixed relay, which was held for the first time at Asian Games.

In September 2018, Adidas signed an endorsement deal with Hima Das. Proving the adage, ‘No Pain, No Gain’, the girl who once ran barefoot, today has the world’s largest sports shoe manufacturer name a range of running shoes after her!

In July 2019, she bagged a total of 5 gold medals in a month, indicative of history in the making as India has in her sights, the greatest sprinter ever!

Hima Das has passed 12th grade exam from Assam Higher Secondary Education Council in May 2019, making her our contemporary!

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A Beautiful Life

Emotions. The one thing Alex had prided himself of not having. Yet, here he was. He felt emotional. From inexplicable joy to pangs of sorrow, he knew how they felt. He had experienced all of these in the span of a few years.

He smiled broadly to himself. Sitting in an empty room, he looked quite silly, smiling for no apparent reason. The other Alex would have scoffed at this blatant display of emotions. However, he was long gone. What remained was a side of him that she had brought out. The one who actually displayed emotions. The one who could actually feel. She was the one who had made this happen. His beloved, Jane.

Jane was an extremely spirited girl. She never held any grudges and had a certain charm about her. Anyone who spoke with her was amazed at the amount of happiness and optimism she had in her, considering the fact that she was an orphan. Her parents had abandoned her when she was about 10 years old. She had lived alone for 15 years but that had never made her unhappy. She believed in living life to the fullest and she did just that. She could never bear to see anyone unhappy.

It was this characteristic of hers that led to their first meeting. Despite not knowing him that well, she had spent an entire afternoon with him, comforting him after his break-up with Marissa, a popular yet extremely spoilt girl in the same college. He was touched by the depth of her kindness. In their three years in college, he had never lost an opportunity to try and humiliate her and yet here she was, comforting him. That realization made him feel ashamed of himself and he vowed never to do that with anyone ever again. That had been the start of a beautiful relationship.

They soon became close friends. You could never see one without the other, except maybe during classes. Years passed. They both graduated and had began dating. They had dated for all three years of post graduation and even after they began working. It was only when Alex was offered a promotion and told he would have to move to another city, leaving everything behind, did he realize that he could live without anything, but not without her. That night, he proposed to her in a romantic setting under the stars. To his utmost joy, she accepted.

That had been three months ago. They had moved to the new city and Jane had even found a job there. And today… today they were getting married.

Alex was knocked out of his stupor by his friend poking his head around the door asking him to come to the altar, because it was time.

‘Yes!’ thought Alex. ‘Life is indeed beautiful and it’s just getting better.’

Appreciating Your Parents

I had never imagined that this would happen to us, thought Naman to himself as he sat in the waiting room of the hospital where his mother had been admitted a few days ago. He and his sister, Nisha had been heartbroken when informed of the news by their pseudo-sister, Kavya. Their father was no more and his mother might be going down the same lane. Added to that was the fact that she could not even recognize her own children anymore. Ashamed as they were to admit it, they knew they were solely responsible for that. It had all started seven months ago…

 

Flashback

Naman was waiting for the meeting to begin when his phone rang.  He picked it up and heard his mother’s voice. She seemed happy about something and this brought a smile to his face. She was excited  about something which he couldn’t make head or tail of. This abruptly stopped when his father took the phone and clearly explained everything to him. He was shocked by what he heard. His parents had decided to move into their neighbor Mrs Arora’s house. Mrs Arora lived with her 23 year old granddaughter, Kavya. She was, according to his parents, an extremely kind-hearted and well-mannered girl. He was worried at first, but his father brushed aside his concerns, saying it was 15 years too late to start worrying about them. He was stunned into silence but knew that it was the truth. The phone got disconnected soon after but those words kept reverberating in his ears.  He soon recovered, though, and continued with his meeting. 

 

That evening, he told his wife and his sister everything. They both convinced him to let their parents do as they wished. He accepted their advice and put the topic aside.

 

End Flashback 

 

That had been seven months ago and Naman and Nisha were ashamed to admit that they had never tried to contact their parents again. Their parents always called them, though they never bothered to respond, despite their friends advising them to do so, and now…

 

Looking back on that day, Naman realized that it was then itself that he should have accepted his mistakes. But that was now a thing of the past and both Naman and Nisha were determined to make amends. They had decided that their mother would live with them. The sad part was that it had taken the death of their father and near-death of their mother to make them realize that. Thankfully, the effect of the medication had now worn off and she was able to recognize them. They both tearfully begged for her forgiveness and she, being their mother, could not decline.

 

Three days later, she was discharged from the hospital and went home with her children. The old lady had never been happier than she was at the time, though she did recall and missed her husband at times. During those times, she would sit in her chair by the window and look out for hours on end, absolutely motionless. But as the evening wore off, the children came home and the room rang with mirth and laughter as the pain of all the lost years, gradually melt away with the new times.

A portrait of their father looked down at them as they began a new life afresh with their mother in their midst…

Rejection

Rejection. Nine letters,, yet the most dangerous word. It can lead to two things: either great sorrow or success. In my case, it was a bit of both.

My parents disliked me. Society shunned me and I… I hated myself. Why, someone may ask. The simple answer to that was that I was different. Different from my parents and society, who if they had their way, would rather have me married with five children before I turned 30! I was one, in fact the only one, who wanted to make a life for myself out of this village I called home. But it seemed as though my dream would remain just that, a dream.

Fate, however, had other plans. It gave me the opportunity I needed. I saw a group of children, one day, studying under the shade of a tree in a blazing sun. They too nurtured a dream, one that would take them away from the jaws of poverty and deprivation into a world of livelihood and respect and above all beget them a life of dignity. I got to know all four of them, two boys and two girls.

I had studied hard so far, mostly studying under a street lamp. Now we were five of us with dreams and hoped with the instrument to accomplish them: education!

We spent a year, studying under the street lamp or next to the giant hoarding which reflected neon light, illuminating almost the entire neighborhood. It was here that one night, while we pored over our books, a car pulled up and a middle aged couple got out. They must have been in their fifties and as their driver went about checking what was wrong with the car, they slowly made their way towards us.

They sat next to us and started talking, asking us about our families, their support for us, our dreams and our aspirations. They mingled with us, heard our stories and understood the problems our parents faced in paying our fees because of other priorities in their lives. After an hour and a half, Mr. Mohit and his wife, Shilpa, bade us good buy and left.

Two days later, a car pulled up near our street lamp and a man got down asking for us. As we 5 surrounded him, he asked us to take him to our house. We did. What had happened earlier was that Mr. Mohit was on the board of an education trust which ran many engineering and medical colleges and after hearing our story, he had approached a local collegel where he had spoken to the Principal about our ordeal. Now, the man he had sent to us was from the local college that had come to speak to our parents to inform them that all 5 of us had been offered scholarship as well as hostel facilities in the college in the city.

Today, I am twenty nine year old mother of a daughter and a teacher and a social worker. I work for the upliftment and education of young children, especially those from poor families and the deprived section of the society.

I am happy and satisfied with the course my life has taken. Happily married with a successful husband and a school going daughter, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

I am Vaidehi Malhotra and this is my story…