Posted by SMM on 09:31
As those of you who drop by regularly now know that I lost my brother in an accident when I was 16. I don't talk about because I find it very difficult to do so. Maybe its easier when I write about it.
It was the 29th of November 1999. It was a normal day. My IInd semester exams were going on - only 2 papers left. Bhaiya (my elder brother by 4 years and 3 months) had promised to take me for a movie after my exams were over. I had a break that day and woke up a little late. In my school days 7 am was late for me. I was a very early riser then - just couldn't stay in bed after about 5 - 5:30 am (very different now), so I used to be his official alarm clock. He had some class that morning and he got late leaving from home because I didn't wake him up on time. We had a quick two minute fight and he left. I settled down to reading the paper and eating breakfast with Baba (father). Ma was getting ready to leave for office. Someone rang the doorbell and gave us my uncle's driving license which he had found on the road. We got a little worried since they had gone on a family vacation to Digha or somewhere. This was before the days of cell phones. We spoke to my grandmom and she said they had reached there safe and sound and we had a good laugh and my dad was contemplating how to take his younger brother's case that he had lost his driving license. Just then the phone rang and we got a call asking if this was Surojit Maulick's house. My mom had picked up and she replied in the affirmative saying she was his mother. Suddenly she screamed and started crying. My dad and I looked at her wondering what happened and she managed to blabber something about some accident and some boy being found on the road with some notebook that had his name and phone number in it. We rushed around frantically wondering what to do and then decided to go to the concerned police station. The rest of the day went in a haze. We worked on autopilot mode for the following months.
Somehow its not yet sunk in that he's gone. 9 whole long years. I still think that we'l have some miraculous Bollywood ending and we'l meet somewhere suddenly singing 'Yaadon ki baarat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare'. Actually knowing us we'd probably be singing 'Manu bhai motor gaadi chale rum pum pum'. I used to bug him with that song. I used to bug him a lot. I was the quintessential annoying younger sister. I used to boss around him alot and he was so sweet he's let me do it. We fought alot too but dare the parents say anything to any of us. We used to gang up against them. We had also divided the foods between us. He was very fond on chole and I was very fond of rajma. He loved payesh (kheer/ a rice pudding) and I loved ghono doodh (something like rabri/ a milk based pudding). He taught me to keep my arms close to my body when I was jumping off the diving board and also how to ride a cycle. He sat me on the cycle and pushed me down a slope. Onetime it had poured and poured and the area around our house was flooded and I really wanted to go out in the pouring rain which obviously my mom was not very much in favour of, she finally let me go only when he said he'l take me. He bought me a black and blue batik kurta with his first salary from some summer thing he had done, for the Pujas in 1999. I stopped wearing it ages ago, but I still have it in my cupboard. He took me to see my board results. Being a teenage girl and a good Calcuttan, I had to bargain for everything which used to really bug him.
I remember people telling me to be strong for my parents. I tried. Don't know if I was successful. We stopped talking of him at home cuz it upset all of us. One of us would always end up crying and that would start the rest of us as well. We couldn't bear to have a photo of him anywhere so we banished all his stuff, clothes, posters, shoes, photos, any sign of him inside a cupboard.
When I got to college, I had nothing of his to remind me except some photos and my batik kurta, and I put them at the bottom of my huge green suitcase since I didn't want anyone stumbling on it accidentally. I started keeping a fast on 22nd March (his birthday) and 29th November each year which I would then break with something he liked to eat. Those of you who knew I fasted on those days had the courtesy and staunch friendship not to ask why I kept it, but acknowledge and respect the fact that I kept it. Each year one of my friends would cut his cake a few minutes before midnight on 22nd March so that I could eat it. Its only today that we do talk about him a little.
Today its been 9 long years. I missed him terribly when I wanted him to meet Arjun and give his approval. I felt his absence the most when I got married. I know I shall feel his absence when I have children and at every twist and turn of my life. And you know the worst part, I remember his face vividly, but for the life of me I can't remember his voice.