Aarika is a courageous soul who is battling with a genetic disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. Here’s her journey of inspiration & courage, shared by her courageous mother – Ritika.
The most popular Janmashtmi song plays in the background as I try to explain to Aarika why do we celebrate Janmashtmi, who was Krishnaji and who was Radhaji?
She listened to all the details very carefully. But, her excitement was unbound when I started showing her the dresses of Radhaji and Kaanhaji and started telling her how kids dress up as Krishnaji and Radhaji to seek their blessings.
And, as I started talking about how we will dress her as Radha, she hugged me and picked up the bansuri, leaving the bangles behind and said – Kanha Ji
Her innocence and her simple words drilled deep in my heart.
So this year, I quit the idea of dressing her as Radha as I was doing it for the last two years when Aarika wasn’t able to express herself.
But this year, as she showed her inclination towards bansuri more than the lehenga, I thought it was a great idea to dress her up like Kanhaji. And, as I thought more and more about her activities, I could find her connection with Krishnaji.
Most of the times, we forget that Janmashtami is not only about celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna but also about celebrating the values and qualities that we can learn from Him.
So, my husband & I decided to let Aarika dress up as Krishnaji. To which, some people raised concerns and some gave me unsolicited suggestions.
But my daughter’s desire made me the proudest mother in this universe. She had just taken another step to break the stereotypes of this society.
And, believe me, Aarika is actually the best Kaanha ever. There might be better dressed Kaanha, but no one can model Krishna’s qualities better than her.
Though there is no end to the list what we can learn from Bhagwaan Krishna, these 5 qualities are closest to my heart and I can see Aarika showcasing them every day.
#1 Be A Lifelong Dependable Friend
As a dependable friend, Bhagwan Krishna helped his friend Sudama to overcome his poverty and helped Draupadi to save her dignity and respect.
In the same way, I have seen the early signs of Aarika being a strong and dependable friend. Despite her limitations, she pushes herself out of her comfort zone to make new friends, and more importantly, helps out her friends whenever she can.
#2 Never Shy Away From Your Duties
One important quality that Lord Krishna taught us is how important it is to perform our duties. When Arjuna developed cold feet during the Mahabharata battle, Krishnaji helped him understand his duties & Kartavya as a Kshatriya. Arjuna understood and performed his duties. And the rest is history!
In the same way, Aarika never shies away from performing her duties. Even though she is too young to understand what her duties are. But, she understands that if mummy-papa expect something from her, she has to do it.
She understands it’s her duty to learn new things every day and respect people around her. She is respectful not only to us but also to our maid and the guard bhaiyas.
#3 Focus On Work, Not The Results
Lord Krishna taught us “Karma Kar, Phal Ki Iccha Mat Kar”. He taught us to always complete our duty with sincerity and let the universe decide about the results.
There has been not even a single day when Aarika showed any distress or sadness about her life. She has never been sad about how other kids of her age can run, while she struggles to take her baby steps. Also, she just stays focused on her walking and tries her level best to complete her therapy sessions. She is very positive and optimistic about her life.
But, there are moments when I focus on the end results and get stressed out. During those tough moments, Aarika hugs me and tells me to smile. This is her way of telling me – Karma Kar, Phal Ki Iccha Mat Kar
#4 Always Stand For The Right Thing
Lord Krishna always stood with the Pandavas in the Mahabharata, not because they were relatives, but because they were on the side of the Dharma.
And, that’s so true for Aarika too. Irrespective of how much she loves me and her father, she raises her concerns when she feels what we are doing is not the right thing to do.
She tells us openly when she doesn’t like me scolding my tuition kids or anyone else. Also, she believes in her values so much that even if she gets a chance to cheat in a game – she doesn’t. She follows the actual way I taught her to play with a particular toy. But, she is smart as she finds other creative ways to perform that particular task. And, I must say she is gifted.
#5 To Shower Pure & Unconditional Love
Bhagwaan Krishnaji is the fountain of unconditional and eternal love. His relationship with Radhaji is symbolic of true love not just between a man and a woman, but also between God and his devotee.
Aarika has taught us what true love is in reality. During the toughest of days, she hugs me and her eyes would say, don’t worry, Mom. Whatever it is, we will fight it together as a family and make it happen.
I can’t convince the world that I can’t find a better Kaanha than Aarika. But as her mother, who sees her struggle every day with her life, I see Bhagwaan Krishna in her – in her pain, in her tears, and in her unbreakable soul.
If you would like to support Aarika and her mom in their battle against Brittle Bone Disease, please connect with them on the facebook page – Mighty Aarika.
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