Siva is a timid school girl, but she is also a talented champion in silambam, a popular martial art in southern India. Siva is also one of the most refreshing personalities you could come across.
When Selvi and Kalimuthu gave birth to little Siva at Sandhapettai in Madurai, the odds were stacked against the girl. She was born into a family living in abject poverty. Her two brothers discontinued their studies at a young age because there was no money. In a family of eight with little resources, life seemed hard for little Siva.
Siva’s parents are uneducated. Her mother is a housewife. Her father works at construction sites, earning around $4 per day. They have two sheep and a cow. They sell the milk.
Fortunately, Siva was registered in Compassion and now she is in 10th grade in the Diocese of Madurai and Ramnad Girls’ High School. She has begun to set an example for others. She mingles well with the other children. She is responsible in her work and also very obedient.
She is especially known for time management. She completes all work on time. She is very disciplined in all that she does. She always stands first in her class. In fact, she even gets first place in general knowledge.
Siva prays and reads the Bible regularly. She always gets first in the Bible quiz. She participates in youth camps, youth meetings and games. She loves to be a part of all spiritual meetings. She shares about the Lord to her friends. She is a humble girl and loved by all.
Indeed, Siva wears many crowns. And this young girl has yet another talent given by the Almighty.
She is extremely good at silambam. Silambam is stick fighting, a traditional south Indian martial art. This style is supposed to have originated from Kerala, a coastal south Indian state. Natives used bamboo staves to defend themselves against wild animals. The techniques were perfected into the art of silambam.
The stick used in silambam is 1.68 meters long (5.5 feet), and its diameter is between 1.5 and 2 inches. Its weight ranges from 1 to 1.5 pounds. For training and sparring, a rattan staff is used since it is supple and does not break easily. But a hardwood staff can also be used to gain strength. At times, a little blade is added, acting like a short spear, with the same technique.
As a matter of pride for the CSI Christian Mission Child Development Center, Siva mastered this art of silambam at the center. The center coordinator Puspharaj attended a function where he saw children performing silambam. He thought it would be good to introduce this traditional art in the center, and selected the children who were interested.
You can also view this silambam video on YouTube.
“We conducted multiple intelligence tests — visual spatial intelligence, bodily kinesthetic intelligence, etc. Thereby, we found out the specific areas of our children’s interest,” says Pushparaj. “Now, looking at our children, several such clubs have been started all over the state,” he adds.
Siva has many awards.
- First place in Barathiar Republic Day in Madurai Division in 2009
- First in the Madurai District Silambam Competition conducted by Silambam Association in 2009
- Participated in Commonwealth Games rally — Queen Baton’s relay conducted by Sport Development Authority of Tamilnadu in 2010
- First place in Usilampatti Divisional Silambam meet conducted this year (2010)
- Stood first in Kadular District Silbam Competition
- National award in State Silambam Competition 2010
She is always invited to perform at local festivals and holidays. Recently she has been selected to participate in international games, which will be conducted next year in Malaysia.
When asked about her hobbies and dreams, Siva says, “I want to scale greater heights in silambam. I love playing with my friends and watching TV. I go for computer classes, spoken English courses and Bible classes. My dream is to participate in international silambam competition and become a champion.” Siva also aspires to become a software engineer in the future.
Her parents, no wonder, feel proud of their daughter. “My eldest son withdrew from his studies from 5th grade and another son studied only till 10th grade due to lack of proper guidance and financial crisis. But thanks to Compassion, my daughter Siva is studying well.”
“I call my sponsor Mummy. Like a loving mother, she is so concerned of my future.” Yes indeed, Siva feels deeply indebted to her sponsor.
The future burns bright for this humble girl.