The Red Spike Shoes

The green trunk lay open today. It had been more than a decade, since it saw the light of the day.

As Bindiya moved her hands into it, she felt a dull sting. A smile crossed her face.  She picked it up delicately, as though a tiny infant lay in its folds. The cloth that wrapped it had faded away, what once must have been a colorful piece of apparel. As the layers unfolded, her treasure stood bare in her hands.  It was in perfect condition. Memories of those bygone days came flooding to Bindiya.

The Junior National Athletic Meet in Delhi, 15 years back was Bindiya’s first taste of success. With the prize money of a few hundred Rupees, she purchased a shiny red spike shoes. This was her medal, for winning the 100 meter stretch, leaving almost all her competitor’s way behind. At the age of 19, Bindiya had her goals in place. The Asian Games and the Olympics next. The spike shoes would serve her well.  At their humble home in Dadanpur village, Bindiya announced her future plans to Baba and Amma. The reaction was cold. The doors closed shut for Bindiya.

Three months passed by and Bindiya was married off to Nandkisore, a prosperous farmer from the neighboring village Sabili, in Haryana. For Bindiya, this meant, settling down into matrimony, taking care of home, and producing an offspring for her husband. Her life went behind the veil. And so did her dreams and aspirations. Her spikes lay wrapped and hidden in the green trunk, never to feel the ground beneath, never to see the sky above.

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But today, as she sat on a charpoy, under the tree, Bindiya saw herself in Meera. Her twelve year old daughter was racing through the fields. Having inherited Bindiya’s slender long legs, Meera had the perfect running form. All she needed was encouragement, guidance and training. And Bindiya was going to be there for her. Not as an authoritative person, not as a dominant parent, but as a friend and guide to encourage her to soar to greater heights, and live her dreams

As dawn broke every day, in the lush green fields of Sabili, Bindiya was there for Meera, teaching her the nuances of athletics. For Meera, it was perfect training under her mother. And for Bindiya, it was liberating. She was underrated and fearless once again, as her feet caught up with those of her daughters.

And soon enough the big moment arrived. At the stadium pavilion, sitting with her fingers crossed, Bindiya saw her little princess, with the red spike shoes, whiz past her competitors. A tear dropped down her eye. Meera won her selection into the Junior National Athletic Meet to be held in Delhi. And Bindiya had taken that first step again, towards her dream.

Meera hugged Bindiya. It spoke volumes.

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