Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Meera and Maya

Maya and Meera were two chirpy 9 yr olds. They were neighbours in one of the cities in India. Like millions of Indians they lived in a concrete jungle. Unlike, millions of Indians, they were blessed in a way. As their fathers had plush jobs at one of the most prestigious public sector undertakings, located in baroda. Those were not the days of Barbie dolls, burgers, malls n multiplexes, and SRK n ASH!

Those were the early seventies, the days of dev anand, waheeda, vividh bharati, and tons of masti in vacations. The life in the township was fun filled and full of amenities.

Maya and Meera were together right from the moment they left for school till it was time to say goodnite. Completely inseparable. Very similar in their likes and dislikes, yet strikingly different in their nature. Maya was gutsy, with a sort of never-say-die attitude, very generous and protective of her near and dear ones. Meera was softspoken, sweet, and extremely charming. They were probably the closest of friends that I have ever seen. During vacations it was impossible to separate them, even during the nights, which wud be spent at each other’s place alternatively. To the delight of their parents, they excelled at studies too, with the top 2 ranks sort of reserved for them all the time, exam after exam.

One afternoon they were walking back home, from school. The school was centrally located in a way so that almost everyone from the township walked down. Those days the school bags were much lighter, maybe the brains were more full. I am saying this as a few days back I had been invited at my son’s school to assess/judge some projects done by class VII, a science project, and a computers project. In the computers project, the students had prepared websites, with lots of info about themselves. I was shocked to see that almost 100% students had mentioned SRK, hrithik, abhishek, rani, preity, kajol as their idols, and their heroes, while everyone seemed to like pizzas n burgers. Anyways I always feel sad when I see the new generation totally focused on movies, malls, video games etc. it bothers me a lot.

Coming to our story, as meera and maya reached near their home, just about 50 feet from their home, a stray dog, probably rabies infected, which was passing by, suddenly lunged at Meera. Meera let out a terrifying scream. His fangs baring, the dog was about to bite her, when suddenly Maya pulled Meera, with all her strength, and flunged her to one side, and jumped in front to face the dog, trying to scare it away. The dog, not to be scared away, jumped on her and clutched her thigh. All this happened in a couple of seconds. A few vegetable vendors who were resting under a mango tree nearby, rushed to help, shouting at the same time, to scare the dog away. Meera’s mother who was outside near the verandah, also rushed out, and so did a few more neighbors, listening to the commotion.

Fortunately for maya, the dog sensed danger, and let go of her thigh, running away, but not before inflicting a deep wound on maya’s thigh. Maya was rushed to the hospital, was treated there, and subsequently had to take 14 painful injections. Eventually she got well, back in shape. We lived 3 blocks away from maya’s house, that evening we had gone to her place to find out how she was doing. My mother asked maya if she wasn’t scared to face the dog, and mentioned that she was a very brave girl to save her friend meera from a certain dog bite. Maya confidently replied to my mother, that the previous night her granny narrated to her, a story about rani laxmibai, and how courageous she was. Grandma also told her in the end, that in case of danger to one’s family and friends, one should always show the courage to face the danger, and shield and protect the family and friends at all costs. In less than 24 hours, maya had put her granny’s teachings into practice. As maya sat in her grandma’s lap, a proud grandma had tears in her eyes.

Today, dr Meera Mehta teaches laser physics at the university of Wilmington, Delaware, in the US, while dr Maya Ghosh heads SEWA, an NGO from ahmedabad. She was awarded a few years back for the exemplary work that her organization carried out in the wake of the Gujarat earthquake. And today I also take pride in telling people that this brave lady, and a wonderful person, also happens to be my ex-classmate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

a very inspiring article of courage and valor. Hopefully, in this overwhelming times, somehow our youth should take a little time to hit a pause and ponder....how to care for one another.