Written by- Mohit Dudeja
Remember those days, it was a routine for both of us to buy milk together from the Dairy? Back then you were taller than I was. I asked you for a guava that was hanging from a tree of a stranger’s house. You never said ‘no’ to whatever I asked. While trying to pluck the fruit from the tree, the owner of the house noticed you. I scooted as soon as I saw her, but didn’t give you a hint about it. She embarrassed you and scolded you badly. I, as a responsible brother, must have stood by your side. Instead, I chose to be sadistic. I laughed at you and humiliated you. In spite of you telling me not to disclose this incident to anyone, I made fun of you by revealing it to everybody. Today, I feel abashed and apologetic for my deeds on that day. I never bothered to apologize until now. I begin this piece by begging your pardon for being a pain in your neck.
I reminisce those days when you were adamant to discontinue your studies. You were still 10 years old, studying in your 5th grade. I used to flaunt with your first ranker’s badge. You were an epitome of a perfect student that every parent would want their child to be. You weren’t even able to share with us what drove you to take such a decision. You hid yourself under your cot and wept for days together. Our parents took you to temples and priests to get you cured but in vain. Someone suggested that our parents take you to a psychiatrist. The Doctor informed us that you were suffering from depression right from the time when you were a fetus. They cited domestic violence endured by our Mum as the causal factor. Those used to be the sombre days of our life. Dad didn’t have a permanent job. Mum used to work as a teacher and also did tailoring job to meet the expenditure of the entire family of five members. In order to take care of you, she left her teacher’s job.
But you were robust and resilient. You did not succumb to your depression and won over it after a two long years’ battle with it, and emerged victorious. You were back to school, a government school, a hindi medium school. You always said that you wanted to fulfill our Mum’s desire of becoming a doctor. But, God seemed to have set a trajectory, for you, filled with thorns. But, you were an alchemist who converted all thornes into petals of roses and made a cake walk in all those tiring situations. Our Mum’s wages from tailoring couldn’t suffice to meet the needs of our family. When still in your pre-university, you started earning by taking tuition for school children. I feel the difficulties you underwent in preparing for medical entrance exams with no one’s aid. You proved to be no burden for our parents.
I rekindle the period when you were affected by dengue. I took you to the nearby nursing home where the doctor told us that your platelet count was just 25,000 and that you must be hospitalized. We didn’t have any money with us to admit you to the hospital. I brought you back home as I didn’t know whether government hospitals admit patients free of cost. Moreover, our dad was also suffering from dengue then. I remember feeding you boiled water with holy basil(Tulsi). The very next day when we went to the clinic, it was miraculous to know that your platelet count rose to 70,000, and you were fine within a week’s time. I felt as if I’ve made an atonement for all the burden that I caused you.
I won’t forget the day when a bus ran over your chest. I was in my hostel at that time. As if we had a telepathic kinship, I could feel that there was something bad that had happened to you. But, none of our family members informed me about it. I called one of your friends only to know the heart wrenching news which made me unnerved. I wanted to immediately come to the ICU where you were admitted in, but you didn’t let me to, since I had my exams. That was your final year of study, but you were not able to take your final exams and had to wait for one more year to graduate. When we filed a case against the bus driver, your advocate didn’t turn up to the court most of the time and you successfully pleaded on your own.
You are a person who doesn’t give up even after the last moment. After graduation you applied for B.Ed from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU). You cleared the exam but your result for extended final year from graduation was still pending. It was the last day of counseling, you had to submit the documents but we didn’t have the result in hand. Without knowing whether you could really do something about it or not, you left home and went to your college in Moti Nagar, Delhi. From there you got to know that you’ve to go to the university north campus to get a blind result card which you can submit to GGSIPU. It was already 3pm by that time and 5pm was the deadline. You told me to go to the GGSIPU campus in Dwarka and request them to wait for you. And I was like, “seriously? How can I go and tell them to wait for my sister :D” . Anyhow, I actually went there to find out the place to submit the docs so that I could take you to that place straight away as soon as you arrived. You took an auto from Moti Nagar but there was a jam. You went to the Mobile Recharge Shop near your college where you used to get your mobile recharged during college days and asked him to drop you in the north campus on his bike. Being really sweet, that shopkeeper dropped you in the university. They asked you to come the next day but you became adamant to get the result right then. It was already 5pm by that time, I saw the person leaving the cabin who was collecting documents. You called me at 5 that you have already got the documents, and left but it would at least take about 50 minutes for you to reach GGSIPU dwarka campus. I couldn’t really go and ask them to wait for my sister but I kept an eye on the person who collected documents from others. It was 5:55 pm when you reached and I showed you the place where the officials were sitting but it was a restricted entry area. Students were not allowed to enter. I noted the name of the concerned official. You told the security guard that you wanted to meet Mr. (concerned official) and luckily he did let us enter. Ofcourse, the concerned person denied to take the documents but you convinced him by telling the entire struggle you had to undergo to get the blind result card. This was how you achieved success in everything you desired for by not giving up till the very last moment.
You gave me so much importance that you wanted me to choose the person whom you were to marry, though you were in love with him. Once you left our home, after marriage, the charm of our home was also gone. You are undoubtedly lucky for having gotten such a loving and caring husband and Ravya who is the most important and loving person of my life. I remember what your in-laws said to you when you begot Ravya. “Don’t worry. Next time, God will surely give you a male child.” I was shocked to notice that the dogma to have a male child is still dogged in our society and I am sure that Sakshi will prove that she is more than happy to have begotten a female child.
Last year, I decided to quit my job to pursue further education. Being the meal ticket for my family, that was a difficult decision to make. It was you who assured me that you’ll take care of the finances of the family. Whatever I am today, it is because of you and whatever I will be tomorrow, it will all be due to you.
You are an exquisite mother, an elegant wife, a responsible daughter, and most importantly an infuriatingly magnanimous sister.
With immense elation and exhilaration, I greet you for your 29th Birthday, Sakshi.