Reesa: An Indomitable Spirit of Hope

Reesa lives her life vivaciously. On the frayed end of a small fishing town in Gujarat, she lives in a thatched hut with her beady-eyed grandfather.
Her smile can light up the moon. A bounce is her every step; she goes through life with effortless ease. She is hardly seven years of age and has seen a degree of devastation that even adults often cannot comprehend, let alone move past.
Her father lives but 400 meters from her, yet she cannot see him without bars obstructing her vision and guards impeding and weary of her every movement.
The local jail is a menacing building, whose better days are behind it. An imposing structure, with broken tiles and rusted bars, it is a mighty edifice that predominates the lane that is otherwise filled with neglected run-down houses made in a hurry.
Reesa and her father roamed the country together for several years until his crimes caught up to him. Bereft of a mother, 6-year old Reesa had her father snatched away from her, leaving her clueless and very much alone.
Her grandfather is a drunkard, whom I wouldn’t trust with a glass, let alone a child. With one room between the two of them and a tea stall that attracts the lowest rung of even construction workers, it is safe to say that Reesa would be better off anywhere else in the world.
Yet, her unbroken spirit wouldn’t let her stay anywhere else. If you thought girls mature fast, Reesa matured even faster. I don’t know if I would dread her maturity or celebrate it.
Anywhere else in the world, she could have lived, prospered, and made a breakthrough in whatever she set her mind to, but she didn’t. She valued her time with her father too much.
Imagine a 7-year old with an unbroken visceral spirit (I repeat unbroken since life and her femininity have thrown some disastrous curveballs at her). Imagine yourself at 7.Every day at 12:30 sharp, she partook a journey similar to Odyssey’s descent into the Underworld; she packed her father his lunch. A lunch made with umpteen effort and the begrudging help of her grandfather. A meal packed lovingly; to be delivered across the border. The border that decided whether you were a good Samaritan or not.
No, it was a border that separated the few unlucky, poor men from their families (the broken-down huts outside).
An arduous life, an almost-orphan, and laughing in the face of adversity, Reesa is the definition of resilient.
Never again; let it be said that lotuses are the only flowers that bloom in murky, muddy waters. Reesa is the flower that blooms in the darkest waters, the enchanting light at the end of the tunnel everyone should be blindsided by.
In an alternate world, she would have been a beacon of hope; in our world, her plight is common (if not the norm). She has found happiness in giving her all.
Her spirit is indomitable.

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