More than the story of a brave gutsy fourteen- year- old girl, I Kick and I Fly is a testament of conviction, for both the protagonist of the novel, Heera Kumari and its creator Ruchira Gupta.

The story of Heera Kumari is the story of a girl belonging to the nomadic Nat community kicking her way through life from a dark, dingy lane in Forbesganj in Bihar, bordering Nepal. Girls Bazaar, the name of the locality she lives in, speaks for itself. All around there is only despair, no scope for hope. Right from childhood the constant refrain she hears is “You Nats are thieves and prostitutes. You’ll never change.”

I Kick and I FlyRight from the day Heera turned fourteen, she knows that she is up for sale. There is an annual fair in her town where people assemble to sell their cattle along with other farm products. As in a village fair, the usual jamboree of artisans, travelling circus, etc., assemble each year. But Heera and other young girls from her community know well that they are the biggest attraction of the fair. People from far off indeed come to buy them. And as usual middlemen are there. Sadly, in Heera’s case the biggest middleman is her father.

Her father is helpless. He is caught in a whirlpool of drugs, liquor and the belief that he and his community are destined to live off their women. In this case Heera, his prized property. But young Heera desperately wants to break free from the superstitious beliefs of her community. She simply wants to get out of the vicious circle of life in the Girls Bazaar. A chance encounter with a teacher who helps young girls and boys practice the martial art kung fu helps young Heera dare to dream her dreams.

From then on there is no stopping Heera, the little diamond. Bruce Lee becomes her constant companion and his martial art form, her weapon to fight her way through the labyrinths of day-to-day existence. Her mother, brother and a cousin sister who is victim of societal suicide are all there to help Heera with her struggle. Other than Bruce Lee, there is the kung fu teacher-cum-mentor Rinidi by her side to provide constant mental recharge.

Heera’s story is indeed a story of hope. Right from childhood, Heera has faith in herself and that is why she strives to break the shackles that bound her. Her conviction is deeply embedded within. That is the reason for her to ignore the risks and venture out with two comrades in arms to rescue friend Rosy hailing from native Forbesganj from the clutches of traffickers in their own den in the US.

Ruchira Gupta, a journalist turned activist, has been working among prostituted women for over two decades. It is while on the trail of a story in Nepal that Gupta stumbled upon human trafficking, the ‘second largest organised crime in the world.’ It prompted her to start an NGO Apne Aap to fight for the cause of trafficked women, not only in India but outside too. Her documentary on the plight of such women, The Selling of Innocents, won an Emmy.

Gupta’s years of involvement with destitute women has helped her craft the story in a racy style of reality woven into fiction. She has succeeded in taking her activism one step further. She has made it clear that she has drawn inspiration from real life characters she encountered while growing up in Forbesganj, her native town. There is indeed a Heera in real life and let us hope there will be more Heeras in future. This book is testimony to Gupta’s commitment towards the betterment of innocent, trafficked girls worldwide. Try reading it. A whole new world awaits you.

I Kick and I Fly

By Ruchira Gupta

Rock the Boat

Pp: 336 Rs 499

Santosh Kumar is a political commentator

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Become a Patron at Patreon Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Comments are closed.

Translate »