Extraordinary lessons from an ordinary life
Keeping her personal tragedies under the wrap, Kiran is an ordinary Indian who energises her environment in a way that inspires many.
What was special about Kiran?
A bright young mother of two, an "ordinary" executive assistant I met professionally. Her strength being her bright eyes and a ready smile. Nothing in life starts without showing up.
Kiran wouldn't just show up, she'd show up on time. No sooner she had, she'd rush into her to-do work list as if it were a hobby she was lucky to be paid for. On the way to her desk she would have greeted everyone, even if they're peons and drivers. Indeed, Kiran never rationed her initiative.
Give her a minute extra in your chamber and the unruly pile up of paper would transform into a neat stack! Empower her, she'd go fetch the ball even on her bike. Bully her, and she'll refuse the mission point blank. She had "fauji" blood, after all. Also, traces of a young Amitabh Bachchan in Trishul. The meek got her support more readily than the mighty.
But beneath this bundle of energy and EQ, what a hand life had dealt to her. Ten years back, her brother and a friend were hit by a bus. The friend died immediately but not before trying to push Kiran's brother away. As fate would have it, the brother crashed on a sto#8800 a broken rib puncturing his heart. He escaped the bus but had to die in greater pain.
When they had met last, after studying their sleeping pattern, the naughty Kiran had tied up the legs of the entire family. The brother had promised to get back at her in the next family holiday.
"I'll never give you a chance," the sister had taunted. Little did she know that God would ensure that. Kiran didn't have a chance to cry. A lawyer made a sales call even as the body was being lifted. Pay me, and I'll slam a case against the bus company, he said. She didn't bang the phone on him.
The parents were less equanimous. The loss of their son left them dazed. One day, the father had a fall at the Ballia railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
For three hours bystanders failed to rescue him. Finally, someone connected through the address book in the father's mobile phone. By then, the brain had suffered serious damage. Memory had been totally erased. Far from blaming anyone, Kiran tells everyone that her God has been kind. "I can see my father...what more can I want?"
A high caste Brahmin by birth, some years back, Kiran ended up doing a nikah. Her husband expected her to know the Quran. So she spent these years mastering finer precepts of the Holy Book. Today, her knowledge is at a higher plane than anyone in her new family.
Muslim girls come to her for direction. But the husband has moved on. He's "married" a born Muslim, for her fairer complexion. Recently, that girl called up wanting to shift into Kiran's home. Kiran empathized and didn't bar her way. But as I write this, the husband today has sent her a divorce notice.
And what's Kiran doing? Smiling a lot and re-entering the job market. She's also scouring the Internet for a weekend camp in Corbett National Park!
My wager: here's an Indian whose time will come. So, will anyone's who has a "kiran" inside her.
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The author Rahul Bansal is CEO and co-founder,Hammurabi & Solomon Consulting LLP
Photographs: Rediff Archives