Hero Interview from Faith of Ashish by Kay Marshall Strom

» Posted on Sep 20, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Hero Interview from Faith of Ashish by Kay Marshall Strom

This week I’m hosting Kay Marshall Strom with Faith of Ashish, Adina Senft with The Wounded Heart, and Roger Bruner with Lost in Dreams. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (September 25th) evening.

Interview with the hero from Faith of Ashish by Kay Marshall Strom:

1.  Virat, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Nothing about me is very interesting.  I just live my life and eat my rice and try to keep the gods and goddesses happy.  Even so, I am an outcaste here in India.  I am untouchable.  My life is pretty much limited to work and sleep.  But I am not unhappy. I have a very good wife, Latha, and the most wonderful son anyone could have.  His name is Ashish, which means blessing.  And that is what he is.  My life was happy—before I was forced to sell myself and my family into slavery.

2.  What do you do for fun?

In the cool of the evening, I sit under a tamarind tree and watch the children run and play.  My little Ashish is a very young child, but he runs so fast!  I pray to the gods that he will not grow up to be like me.  Also, I gossip with the other men.  In the cool of the evening, before night comes.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?

When my Ashish was attacked and beaten for drinking water from the high caste well, I tried everything I could think of to get him healthy.  I put off going through the high caste part of the village and begging for a loan from the landlord, because I knew the terrible price we would pay.  But what choice did I have?

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

I am deeply afraid of my next life. How terrible it is to be stuck on the ever turning wheel of life—birth and death and rebirth, death and rebirth and death.  It is never ending.  I try my best to be good and kind and accept my karma, but I do not know what action will offend the gods and goddesses.  If I make too serious a mistake, I might come back in my next life as a rat, or a cockroach.  I might even come back as an untouchable woman!

5.  What do you want out of life?

Peace!  Oh, how wonderful that would be.  But there is no peace in this life, is there?  Or in the next, either, or the one after that.  Not for one like me. 

6.  What is the most important thing to you?

My son, Ashish.  My son, Blessing.  I hope things can be different for him.  The truth is, I no longer believe in karma.  I do not believe in the gods and goddesses, either.  I want something better for my boy.

7.  Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

I do not know anyone who can read books. I certainly cannot.  It would be a sin for one as low as me to read.  But listen to me and I will tell you a secret. Miss Abigail, the English missionary lady, gave my Ashish her Holy book, the Bible.  And she taught my Ashish to read it.  No one must ever know, though.  Oh but he is a smart boy!

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would not be an untouchable any more.  I would be high caste. I would have plenty of food to eat, and a fine house to live in.  For my own happiness, certainly, but even more for my wife Latha.  Most of all, I would change it for my little Ashish.

9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No, no.  Every animal in our village gets cooked and eaten.  I cannot image sharing the small bit of rice I have with an animal.  But maybe in a way, I should say all the sacred cows that roam through our village are pets.  We treat them well, and celebrate their birthdays.  But they are not really pets.  They are someone’s mother.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to my previous life, to the time of my greatest sin.  But I would do things differently.  I would act in a righteous way.  I would do whatever I needed to do to keep from dooming myself to come back as an untouchable.  But I do not know the sin of my last life, so how could I do differently? Maybe I would be better to travel back 3,000 years, before the Aryans came to India and brought their religion of castes.