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  • Writer's picturegauri nadkarni choudhary

That Little Girl

If you ask me what I envy the most in life I would probably say the little girl I saw. I have seen her many times and each time I envy her more and more. Each time I have so much to learn from her.

The first time I saw her, she was playing hide and seek with her own shadow. She would jump out in the sun and squeal when she saw the shadow and run back in the shade and squeal again when it disappeared. All the while smiling hugely. She did not bother about the hot sun or the science and the logic behind this. She just enjoyed the sun and the shade. How I envied her. If only I could learn from her. To enjoy the sunny days and the shadows in my life with equal enthusiasm. To not complain about the sun and to accept the shadows. To not just wish for one over the other. They were both part of me. They were both in my hands I just had to jump one way or the other.

I saw her next, on the swings. Pushing with her little feet to go higher and higher. She said she wanted to touch the clouds. She laughed as she reached the top and laughed as the swing came down. Every time she pushed the swings a little harder with all her strength. It did not matter that she was no where close to the clouds. Finally I told her that she could not reach the clouds on her swings and that they were too far. She smiled at me dimples and all and said I know but I like swinging. How I envied her. I wish I could learn to enjoy the journey to my goal with this much enthusiasm. No matter how improbable to goal I could push myself a little more each time without wondering whether it will take me closer to my goal.

Then I saw her on a see-saw with her friend. Both laughing as they went up and down on the see-saw. I asked her which part she enjoyed the most? When she is up or down. Cheerfully she said both. "When I am up I can see so much and when I am down my friend can see all that". How I envied her. I wish I could be like her. I could help my friends rise high and show them success. I wish I could not be envious when they were up and I was down knowing that I played a part in their success. I wish I could take delight in seeing my friends happy. I wish I could always be aware of the part my friends played in taking me on the high side. I wish I could learn how to not ignore them when they were down but just try to push them back up.

Once I saw her sprawled on the floor surrounded by crayons. Some broken, some sharpened and some unused. I asked her why she had kept the broken ones. "Well they still colour and complete the set", was the matter of fact reply. How I envied her. I wish I could be like her. Accept the broken in my life with equal love. The broken relations, the broken memories, the broken pieces of me because yes they still colour who I am and complete me as a person.

I saw her with a bright pink raincoat jumping into all puddles getting her shoes and uniform dirty. Would her mother not scold her, I asked. With a huge grin she said "yes! But it's ok, she will be angry for some time but I know how to make her alright again. She will just wash my uniform and forget about it being dirty". How I envied her. I wish I could stop thinking about what people would say and do things that could affect my image. I wish I could look at my relationships with that much of confidence. I wish I could understand that conflict and anger is temporary and I know how to make it alright again.

Next I met her at a party. She was wearing an assortment of colourful bangles and clips. None matched her dress. Her mother tried her best to explain that to her. "But I like them, I am not asking you to wear and I will still get the cake even if I wear them". How I envied her. I wish I could be this confident about myself. I wish I could accept myself wholeheartedly and not care about others' opinion. Life would still give me my share of cake no matter how I looked.

I saw her studying the other day. Carefully copying words in her notebook. I asked her if she liked studying. She said no but I have to do it anyway so I am doing it. How I envied her. I wish I could accept as easily the demands of life. I wish I could accept that not everything in life is what I want to do but I have to do it anyways. Perhaps for a better future or as a part of a bigger picture.

Today I saw her sleeping, curled up in her mother's lap, a picture of innocence. And I have never envied her more. To sleep without a worry in the world knowing someone would protect you. Understanding that I don't have to look after myself all the time because there are people around me to take care of me. I just have to surrender myself in their arms.

Where did I see her next? In the mirror, in the reflection of my eyes every time I smiled.

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