I had been planning to buy an apartment which was disabled friendly, one in which my brother could move around in his wheel chair, and feel independent and happy.
I had also been to the Disability Commissioner in New Delhi to petition for my brother’s case. So I worked hard, did extra work for extra income, kept up a straight face despite marital discord and smiled a lot in general. The little girl who was growing up to become an adult was my prime motivation.
Then, it came to me, as a bolt from the blue, my brother is no more! ‘Why??? I knew I could take care of you. I was getting there, I told to myself angrily, why did you have to leave like that???’
But those were just thoughts, my parents were heart broken, as the single earning member, I had no time to grieve. I rushed back to work and work did help, so did the students whose sweet good mornings always cheered me up.
But the pain was excruciating, the feeling of guilt was huge, the disappointment of not being able to be the elder sister I wanted to be was unrelenting, and I wept myself to sleep so many days after.
Work and more work was good to keep the interest in living but then I came across a course from EFLU or English and Foreign Languages University, an online course. I immediately registered for the course, the sheer number of assignments was daunting, yet I knew it was the right medicine to heal my heart.
Soon after, the freshly minted text books arrived, looking rather frail and dainty but heavy on content. Days of reading and making notes followed. As I submitted my assignments, my joy grew many times over. I was already back on track, I sensed an enthusiasm for life in my guts and breathed easy.
When the evaluated sheets came back, I felt overjoyed at the results, they looked good. This positivity that came from learning radiated in the house too. My daughter and I spent some fun times together and I was not giving into the temptation to ask some very pertinent questions to the man and his mother…
I was able to let things go and focus on myself and building a better future for my daughter.
‘You are like a man’, said my husband taunting me, and I looked at him with disinterest. The taunts were not getting to me now. I had noticed that it has been sometime since I smiled happily. I saw that I was unsure of myself in many ways. I saw the anomaly in the taunt that ‘you don’t know to stand up for yourself’ at office versus the silence forced on me at home. I had too much to reflect upon.
I knew I had to be strong for what was coming ahead. I knew my brother’s passing away was a wake up call for me. I had a few people to whom I felt indebted and it was not possible to sit and cry.
I must say that studying has always helped me, to keep my mind clear of negativity, to stay in a bubble of joy despite what was going around, or at least to get back to my cheerful self.
Later, when I registered for PhD, it was the same thought that motivated me, books are great, reading, the best, writing, the exact medicine to overcome hurt or pain, and I immersed myself into the process of learning once again.
As I type out my thesis, I am in a state of exhilaration, a sense of great satisfaction is overwhelming me and I am regaining my ‘devil may care’ attitude.
And I am reminded of Dr. Faustus who traded his soul to Mephistopheles to learn necromancy, that is one work of literature, that I always found deeply interesting. Do I see my soul brother in Dr. Faustus? May be ,maybe not!
And the beloved Ulysses who could travel endlessly to quench his thirst for knowledge….
‘To follow knowledge like a sinking star….’
‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
“I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!” – Ullysses by Tennyson
“So, break my heart,
break as many times as you may
for I find refuge in the books of the world
or in stories waiting to be told
for which hopefully I am the conduit
and the words, let them flow, let them flow…..