Tuesday, April 13, 2010

K for Kicking... a ball

[This story is loosely based on the grandmother of one of the girls on our programme.]

Main buddhi hoon. I am an old woman. Is this the age to be running around in a field kicking a ball?”
“Why Dadi, are you afraid?”
Aree baba. I have never played football in my life. How do you expect me to start playing at this age.”
Dadi, you taught me that unless I tried something, I would never know if I could do it or not. Now, I am telling you the same thing. If you are too scared to try kicking the ball, how will you ever know fi you can play football or not.”
“No buts, Dadi. All my life you have been telling me I should not give up without trying. But when it comes to yourself, you don’t practice what you preach. We are one player short. Are you coming with me to play football or not?”
“If you put it that way, how can I refuse?”

Fatima knew that her grandmother was a formidable woman. She was twenty when she lost her husband. Knowing that she could never bring up two daughters on her own, she had married again. Her second husband had not been as well off as the first, and her life had been a constant struggle to ensure that her family did not go to bed hungry. Though her husband had not wanted his wife to work, she had been forced to take on embroidery work to supplement the family income.
None of her children attended school beyond the fourth grade- the sons had been put to work as soon as they turned ten, and the girls had been kept at home till they could be married off. It was only after her three sons started earning that she knew financial stability for the first time.

Fatima was the first of her grandchildren, and the apple of her eye. When Fatima completed her fourth grade, there was talk of pulling her out of school, but her grandmother would not hear of it.
“My Fatima is the best student in her school”, she declared proudly. “She will study as long as she wants to.”
Nothing could sway her from her decision to ensure her granddaughter stayed in school. Not arguments how it was not necessary for girls to study, and definitely not arguments about what the neighbours would say.
“I don’t care what anyone says, my granddaughter is going to school. Other people are just jealous because my Fatima is a better student than their sons.”

Proposals started trickling around the time Fatima entered the tenth grade. Fatima’s parents almost fomalised a match, but her grandmother turned it down.
“My Fatima is too young to get married. Let her first finish her studies.”
They tried telling her that it was a wonderful match, but she brushed them aside.
“My Fatima is one in a million. If they like her so much, let them wait.”

Fatima passed her Board Exams with distinction, and got a scholarship from the government to continue her studies. Fatima’s grandmother couldn’t contain her excitement. “Nobody in our entire community has done so well in the Exams”, she said. “Ask for anything you want and I’ll give it to you.”
“We are one member short in our team. Come and play football with me”, Fatima replied.

If Fatima's friends were surprised to see her grandmother on the playing field, they did not show it. They even passed the ball to her often, and waited patiently while she tried to kick it. When she finally made contact and the ball soared into the air, the girls from both teams gave her a long ovation.
“I have never played any sport in my life”, she said after the match was over. “Thank you so much for letting me play.”
“We loved having you here, Dadi”, said the girls. “You will come back to play again, wouldn’t you?”
“Of course I will. I will come every day, and Ishallah, someday, I may even score a goal.”
Ishallah, you will”, said Fatima giving her grandmother a big hug. “And one day, I will definitely become a doctor.”

Fatima and her grandmother knew there were only three steps between you and success - the ability to dream; the courage to start and the persistence to keep going.

Main buddhi hoon." - "I am an old woman.
"Dadi" - grandmother
"Aare baba" - "come on child
"Ishallah" - "god willing", literally, "if Allah so wishes"


Elisabeth said...

This is a lovely juxtaposition of two people excelling, the grandmother and her granddaughter. It offers such hope. Challenges to authority and to the status quo often do.

I love the image of the old woman trying to kick the ball.

Thank you.


Wonderful, a most exceptional blog, a joy to read.


Anonymous said...

Fabulously inspiring post! Many thanks.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Great story! I love grandmothers like this one. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

dipali said...

Such a lovely story!

Mason Canyon said...

A wonderful story. Very inspiring. All grandmothers should be like that.

Thoughts in Progress

Watery Tart said...

Oh, that was a BEAUTIFUL story, Natasha! I loved it! (though I have tears dripping in my oatmeal--but that's GOOD!)

Ann Elle Altman said...

I love this: "only three steps between you and success - the ability to dream; the courage to start and the persistence to keep going."

What a strong woman. Thanks for blogging about her, she's a model for us all.


Not enough hours! said...

@ Elisabeth - it is a wonderfully inspiring story, isn't it?
And the grandmother actually got better at it- I played football with her a couple of weeks back, and she was pretty good.

@ Yvonne - thank you so much!

@ Fiona - they are inspiring. I am lucky I get to meet people like them everyday at work. Makes it all seem so worthwhile.

@ Elizabeth - some grandmothers can be the best ever, can't they?

@ dipali - thank you. And you would have caught the hint - they are both Muslim, which makes the lady even more gutsy.

@ Mason - they should, shouldn't they? Mine was.

@ Tami - ouch, tears in oatmeal is not nice. But I am glad it moved you. Knew it would because you have a fabulous grandma yourself.

@ Ann - isn't that true? That was the bit I added (I know it is cheating, but what is the point of being a writer if you can't cheat).

Raquel Byrnes said...

What an amazing woman, that grandmother. I loved the word "formidable" very true.

Thank you so much for your post...I have put a follow gadget under the facbook connect...on the side bar. Hope to see you visit again.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I loved, loved, loved this!! What a wonderful grandmother! Thanks for sharing this great story. :-)

Momo's Ma said...

really beautiful and touching tale. wish there wre more such grand moms who could protect their grand daughters and let them study and fulfill their wishes.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is indeed an inspiring tale!

Marjorie said...

Wow, this was such a great story! That grandmother is the epitome of strength.

Wanda said...

What a great story Rayna. Love those three steps for success. Such great wisdom.

Lisa said...

So much inspiration in this post. I love your writing and am learning lots from you. Thank you. :)


Grammy said...

Hi, A really great story and inspiring to people to never give up, and always to try one's best.
Great post!

Jen said...

I found you thanks to the A to Z Blogging Challenge! It seems we are both partaking in the fun!!! Excellent K!

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is a wonderful story, Rayna. Now that I've just spent two weeks playing grandmother to a one-year-old, I can understand the dream this grandmother had for her Fatima.

Anonymous said...

Hi again. I recommended this post to be featured here at Smitten Image:


So, hopefully, you'll be getting some new visitors here today!

slommler said...

What a wonderful story!! I am in love with your grandmother! She is a true treasure as are you!
Congrats on your POTW!

Daryl said...

Congrats on the POTW mention from Hilary

Jenny said...

Lovely post! I saw your POTW mention from Hilary. I'm a new follower!

Ellie said...

Great story; great grandmother! I love how you
captured the ending, with the 3 wise steps!
Thank you!

Not enough hours! said...

@ Raquel - formidable is the word to describe her, isn't it?

@ Shannon - thank you. And does anything give a writer more pleasure than sharing a story with someone who understands?

@ Momo's Ma - we do need more such grandmothers, don't we?

@ Alex - thank you

@ Marjorie - she is amazing, isn't she? But most grandmothers are.

@ Wanda - thank you.

@ Lisa - you are most welcome, Lisa

@ Ruby - almost inspires you do get up and do something, doesn't it?

@ Jen - it is fun, isn't it? I'll pay you a visit later today.

@ Patricia - any grandchild will be proud to have a grandmother like you

@ Fiona - thank you, so much.

@ SueAnn - thank you.

@ Daryl - thank you, and you too

@ Jenny - welcome, and thank you

@ Ellie - thank you. That is all there is to success, isn't there?


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