On Tuesday 5th of May, 2006, Buddhia ran 65 kms from Puri to Bhubaneswar in 7.02 hours. All the news channels were full of Buddhia and with reason. He is four and a half years old.
When his father, a beggar, died, his mother sold him for 800 Rupees to a hawker. But he was rescued by his coach. He runs 50kms twice daily. And has run from Bhubaneswar to Puri more than once before. The CRPF who sponsored this last run, wants to adopt him.
He is the new “wonder child”. Now, which bit of this statement should I wonder at? That 4 year old Buddhia ran from Puri to Bhubaneswar? Or that it took him only 7.02 hours? Or he ran in the blistering summer heat of Orissa? Or that he is the youngest marathon runner in the world? Or that he made it to the Limca book of records? Or at all of these put together?
I am sure his coach is taking good care of him. But to me, childhood (and Buddhia is a child) is for other things. He probably is made of sterner stuff. But having seen the talent in him, he should be given a chance at a normal paced childhood, keeping the training for an age more acceptable. Four and a half means he is not in Class I.
I am wondering. But not in awe. I am wondering at the sadness of it all.