Her incredulity about the fact was astonishing for everyone, but I wasn’t surprised by it at all.
After all a girl who had lived every second of her life as if it was the last had no reason to think that this frantic approach to life could become true someday.
Such an epoch, no matter the degree of its benefit or loss, brings with itself an anaphora of mixed emotions, which are hard to deal with.
Death is a physical norm, but who had the sheer willingness to address this to a 12 year old girl whose world was torn apart by it?
The hurricane that whizzed from door to door now shouted to the top of her voice, staring at the ceiling, silently.
The first splash of rain that capriciously wetted everyone with joy, now hoisted in a cave within itself, debilitated like a furious hailstorm.
And what was I doing for her? - Being a silent spectator of her silent cries, just like the millions around me.
I never thought I could become such a loner, who would nonchalantly ignore those cries, but the fact was I had become that person somewhere & somehow.
Was it due to the blindfold of love on my eyes for her?
Was I ready to accept her fate?
She meant the whole world to me & now she won’t be around & that thought shattered me, consciously.
The anaphora of mixed emotions caught me like a snake in its key locking embodiment.
How was I going to come out of it? Was I doing the right thing? Was I being a good brother to my dying sister?
Numerous questions to answer. Numerous emotions to rumble. But there was something me that kept me going… something that made me think of better ways to make her happy…Hope!
Hope gives us infinite reasons to live & love what we have in the palm of our hands right now!
But was ‘being hopeful’ the solution?
She knew she was going to die. Doctors had confirmed it & miracles were better suited to movies. Then what was she going to be hope for? A better death? A painless one? A better afterlife? Or a better chance next time?
Whatever it may be, but it surely wasn’t some mere hopefulness.
Since the news, she was deprived of love. Those ugly inquiries for health were masked inquisitions for a funeral date & her own family was busy explaining her bad fate to every single person on the planet. So being hungry for love was more than expected from a 12 year old girl.
Love is a basic necessity. Everyone wants it & is always in search of it. And since when has gathering more love been a bad thing?
But how do you ‘love’ someone?
How do you ‘show’ them that you love them dearly?
Being in love is meaningless, if you can’t articulate it to that special someone accurately.
For me, as 14 year old, who grew up watching SRK films, expressing your love meant either writing a love letter or proposing the girl leaning on one leg with split hands, artfully.
But both were impossible for me as you cannot propose your own sister & writing a love letter to her was more embarrassing than that, so what can I do?
It took me a couple of weeks to understand that her significance in my life was 100 times greater than the embarrassment I may face due to it, so I finally decided to write a love letter to my dying sister!
Meanwhile, her condition deteriorated & she was hospitalized immediately.
My English was good, at that time, so I had to struggle with the letter for a couple of days only & when it was finally ready, I visited her at the hospital along with my maternal uncle.
On the white bed sheet, she was laying still, staring out of the window in fount of her.
The pillow beneath her head was white, too & was soft like a cloud.
There were two tubes on her – one on her left hand for providing Glucose & one on her nose for supplying air.
It was painful seeing her like this, but I sat beside her. My hand went on her hand as she held tightly. I immediately felt in it the urge of a longing for years.
“Don’t touch anything!” uncle instructed me & went out, leaving the both of us alone in the room.
I looked at her. The positivity that always energized me in pain was missing from her face. Why life had become so difficult for her?
“I have written something for you. Should I read it now?” I asked her.
She nodded her head, deftly, in assertion & I started reading.
You’re mature than me & can understand that love is not only for lovers. It is also for the bond that you & I share, so I want you to know that I love you.
I’m not saying this because you’re going to die. I’m saying this because I mean it & ought it to you.
I still remember the day, 14th Feb. 2002, when Papa introduced me to you.
You were small & your hands were smaller than Papa’s fingers.
He must’ve told you how I used to stare at your small hands with astonishment, just because Mom told me that they will grow bigger every day, bit by bit & how I did crazy things just to see a smile on your face.
I remember Papa's face when he learnt that I had broken 4 flower vases, one ours & others collected from our helpful neighbors, just because you smiled at their creaking sound.
You were cute, I was crazy & our parents were scary; making us a deadly combination for doing unimaginable crimes.
You were fair & never like my dusky complexion due to which you nourished my face with 2 face creams & a powder bottle, one afternoon, when you were 5.
I always thought that our lives were shared secrets, but when you will enter the boundaries of school life & create your own friend circles, leaving me behind, our bond may not be the same anymore. I was selfish & possessive about you, but you made me the centre of all your social circles & I really want to thank you for that because our vow for sharing ‘everything’ stayed forever due to you.
You were the only person to know about my aspirations for becoming a film maker, which I always jeopardized over academics, just for our parents to brag about it to people and you knew it well.
I wasn’t clear about my aspirations like you, but you helped me pave my way through it.
Without you, I lose not only my sister, but also my teacher, my lawyer, my partner in crime, my midnight companion and also my only best friend.
I promise that I will never forget you. I will keep on reading your favorite crime writer & journalists. I will follow my passion as well as my academics, to keep our parents & myself happy. I will, someday, create you as a character of my story to keep you alive because people die, stories & their characters are immortal.
You’re crazy brother,
I lifted my head from the page to look at her, tears rolled down her face. I was almost on tears by looking at it when she gestured me to come near her.
“I will always be with you, bhai!”She said in my ears.
Silence followed, as I kissed on her forehead. She pinched my nose, playfully, smiling.
“I love you, bhai.”