Sunday, November 15, 2015

The girl in the polka dots

Sometimes, some small acts from people you least expected bring in a whole great act of kindness in your lives. Even if it is just a very small act, which, when seen as a whole picture appears just like a small dot in a huge mural, but that small act from an insignificant looking person turns your life upside down.

The winter season was on its onset, and why wouldn't it be? It was almost late November. The weather was usually colder, and in the mornings, particularly, at the time when I used to go out for the morning walk, it used to be pretty cold. Since it felt colder, I now changed my time to go out for the morning walk.

Now this is where my inspiration came in. The sun was around the horizons, and the skies were shining blue above and when I was about to finish my workout in the park and started moving out towards one of the exits, I saw a small girl. The girl in the polka dots. She must be around 7 or 8 years old, and was wearing a white frock with big polka dots in pink colour. She was picking up something from jogging path, and was putting that in the small bag she was holding. As I reached her, I stopped by to see what she was picking up. The girl noticed me stopping, and turned towards me, and gave a smile, and turned back to pick up the next thing. As she reached and bent down, I saw her picking up the scattered pieces of plastic. It didn't look too unusual to me, as I had seen people, including some children too, picking up plastic and such stuff for a living, but in this instance, the girl I saw looked like one from a well to do family. Anyways, I brushed aside the curiosity and proceeded with my workout, came back home, and then went to office after a while.

The next day too, when I finished my workout and was about to leave the park, I saw the girl, again, and she was again picking up the plastic pieces from the path and from the ground nearby. Something struck me again. Maybe, it was my curiosity from yesterday that again cropped up, but I subdued it and moved over. Again the next day, same thing happened and I did what I did the previous two days. Now my curiosity in that small girl had peaked. I decided to ask her the reason for her picking up the junk from the park. Apparently this girl was probably in some situation which forced her to do this, maybe, for a living. The next day, as I reached the park for the workout session, I reached out for her directly. She was, as usual, picking up the plastic litter people had thrown all over the place. Now, I couldn't resist so I asked her - Beta, kya kar rahe ho? (What are you doing, child?). And to that question, I was expecting an answer that would have given a sense of needfulness, or maybe, proud. The answer came in, and it wasn't even the last thing I had expected. She said, Kuch nahi uncle, bas apni duty poori kar rahi hoon! (Nothing, uncle, just doing my duty!) Duty? I was stunned! All of a sudden it felt like someone had employed such a little kid to clean up the park? My tone now changed when I inquired her about who had asked her to do this (as a duty)?

Her answer was something that somewhat ashamed me. She said, - Kisi ne nahi, meri book me likha hai ki apne surroundings ko clean rakhna hamari duty hai. Mai yahaan khelne aati hoon shaam ko, apne friends ke saath. (No one, a lesson in my book teaches that it's our duty to keep our surroundings clean, and I come here to play in the evening with my friends).  Now, I was feeling ashamed. This was astonishing. A small kid learnt a lesson from her book, and she not only remembered it, but was actually acting on it, and we grown ups did a bit too little on the good things we want our children to learn and act on. I still asked her how much she expected to change alone, to which she replied, Kisi ke kuch naa karne se zyaada. (More than no one doing anything). But this was no time to feel ashamed and again do nothing. I saw her going back to her work, picking up the litter, in her small bag. I felt motivated to follow her. In our interaction of just a couple of minutes, she had become my role model, an inspiration big enough to keep me inspired for rest of my life. She was really #madeofgreat. She inspired me a lot, so much so that I was motivated enough to help her out clean the litter from the park, every morning, spending just around 10 more minutes in the process. For weeks, we worked together, but still today, I don't know her name. If I have to, I refer to her as The Girl in the Polka Dots.


  1. I was thinking some romance related story beginning but later come to know that you made infamous girl to famous one and great. Yes, it is great service indeed for the surrounding and country. We need to learn from her, of course.

    Tata Motors and Lionel Messi: I can only say that both are international well known brands and made for each other. Best wishes for both and their assignments.

  2. Very well written post. You are right. We come across many people who are made of great.

  3. Fantastic post, Lionel Messi is the worlds greatest player in foot ball. Now this association of Tata Motors with Lionel Messi will globally increase the value of Tata Motors. Messi is a youth icon so he will definitely attract many youth towards Tata products.I think Lionel Messi will rock the Tata Motors in coming future.
    Best luck for the contest.

  4. Indeed a nicely written post. I wish you good luck for the contest
    Here is my answer
    The association of Tata Motors with Lionel Messi is that of two greats. Lionel Messi has been exceptionally talented who with his hard work, determination and sacrifices has got better and tougher in his chosen sport so is the Image, reputation and quality of TATA Motors that have transformed brilliant ideas into masterpieces of engineering and created a brand and products that we are so proud of as Indians. Lionel Messi has transformed his body and the mind body co-ordination into a masterpiece of precision and excellence it would not be wrong to say that Lionel Messi is the TATA Motors of sports where as TATA Motors is the Lionel Messi of vehicles both giants in their own spheres driven by the drive to excel and lead by example. So Lionel Messi is the best choice for becoming the brand Ambassador for TATA Motors

  5. Your post describes #madeofgreat so well that it has winner written all over it. Good luck for your entry.
    Here is my answer.
    Like minds think and act alike looking at the track record of TATA Motors it has stood the test of time and built a business that was built using bricks of hard work on a foundation of trust. Authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation are the trademarks of brand TATA Motors. These same qualities are present in Lionel Messi who with his immense talent has made a mark for himself on the international football field .Facing all hardships he has worked hard toiling on the fields and in training sessions facing injuries and pressure to come out trumps and be a winner. Thus these two greats Lionel Messi and TATA Motors are made for each other .There association is a bond of two legends
    In case you pick me a winner my email id is :
    Fingers crossed :)

  6. Your post defines #madeofgreat to the hilt. Goodluck for the contest
    My answer is:
    Authenticity, reliability, simplicity, as well as its commitment to innovation are the pillars of strength on which TATA have built a brand that has put India on the global map. It is a brand that has stood the test of time just like Lionel Messi who tackles opposition on the field with his skill,agility,strategy,brilliance and raw power to reach and score a goal so has been the track record of TATA motors who has become a brand leader and a global giant. These qualities make TATA Motors and Lionel Messi perfect partners who stand for the same set of values thus Lionel Messi is the perfect brand ambassador to represent TATA Motors.
    Hope my best to be a winner here; do contact me for the prize at
    fingers crossed

  7. Your post defines #madeofgreat to the hilt.Very well written and interesting post indeed.
    My Answer
    Tata Motors is a brand that makes durable vehicles, with its MADE IN INDIA mark makes every Indian proud. It is a brand seen globally as Trusted, Reliable, Innovative and at the forefront of technology. In its journey since inception it has overcome all odds, competition, and adversities with grit and determination. These same qualities are associated with Lionel Messi who was very talented and hardworking from a very early age. With each game that he played he kept improving his skills and built a career to become one of the best player of professional football. There qualities make both TATA Motors and Lionel Messi giants who perfectly compliment each other and Lionel Messi the right and perfect Ambassador who stands for the same values that TATA Motors does.

  8. Yours is a very well written post your .Its is a very nice description of #madeofgreat
    TATA Motors is a brand associated with performance, endurance and excellence. These words are also synonymous with Lionel Messi who plays as a forward and weaves his magic on the football field.Just as Lionel Messi is considered the best footballer in the world ,TATA motors which is Indias premier automotive manufacturer gives wheels to the people of India with its wide range of vehicles. Both believe in excelling in whatever they do and set examples for others to follow. They compliment each other as both are reliable trustworthy and leaders thus Lionel Messi is the natural choice as the brand ambassador of TATA Motors

  9. Thanks for this lovely post! When it comes to impact and impacting millions of lives, Yes, we can see both Tata Motors and Lionel Messi being the pioneers here. While the very name Tata is enough to make us go back to all our history books where we have seen there hardly is a comparable name that has contributed so much to the society in such an ethical manner, the very name Messi conjures up images of a boy-man who has turned the world upside down with his talent, determination, discipline and never-give-up spirit. The compatibility between the values they both share is intense and that is the reason this partnership works perfectly.

    With a concern for the society at large,everything that Tata has done has inspired us to dream big, conquer the world and pour all our energy back into the society to do good and inspire good. By facing his demons, Messi has done the same. He enjoys a God-like status in the world today because he dared to dream, achieved the sky and still hasn't lost his humanity a bit. He is still a child at heart and he gives back with his multiple philanthropic activities just like Tata does!

    Talk to any person in India, ask them about the companies they admire the most. Tata is right there at the top. This name is beyond bottomline, spreadsheets, return on investment and share price. It is equivalent to soul of India-soft, kind, diverse, dynamic, eternal. Just like that Messi has emerged as not just another football player but someone whose very life is an inspiration, whose personal struggles are a template for others to emulate and who has morphed into an eternal legend.

    While it would take eons to write about what makes Tata Motors and Messi great, as their list of achievements is too long for us to even skim over, suffice to say that this partnership is for the ages. As they say, some things are made in heaven :)

    Thank you for this opportunity.
    -Richa Shailendra,