Year 2009 and I was 21 year old then.
Even at that age, whenever I share my story about 7th grade to 10th grade of my school days, I used to feel the pain of the powerful slaps I used to get from my elder sister (well deserving due to my actions).
It definitely left a mark on my face whenever she slapped, but more than my face it certainly did leave mark in my heart at that age.
After I joined the college, I had a change in environment and with good professors and mentors around, i realized all the good things that had happend due to those slaps. Those slaps were full of love. Without those slaps I wont be me today. I thank those hands.
I started noticing everything between us. Whole family shifted with me to a different city, I used to work in rotating shifts, sometimes I come home late, there wasnt a common pattern, even if it is 4 am in the morning, everyone will be sleeping but she somehow gets to know that im here and wakes up to open the door for me before i ring the door bell. She will ask ‘Do you want food? Are you hungry?’ If I say yes, she will feed me with the same hands that used to slap me. If I say no, she will get me something to drink and will go sleep.
(This happened several times, not due to any noise i may be making, it is the amazing bond we had between me and my sister.)
I start to forget the pain those hands caused.
It is so silent, everyone is sleeping, room is so dark but there are lots of low level beep sounds from the machines, ‘only one attendant per patient’ says the nurse. So my mom asks me to be with my sister and pray for her as she is unconscious since two days, hasnt spoken a word to anyone.
With heavy heart I hold her hand and cry standing there, asking the god to cure her from the deadly cancer. I cry uncontrollably as i was sure no one is watching me. My tears fell on her hand. ‘Ameenu, dont cry. I will be fine’ she said in a painful voice and she held my hand so tight.
I feed her some light foods after discussing with nurse and i leave home after kissing her hands.
She is a fighter, she fought and won the cancer once in the past so we were confident she will win it again. But her health detorriated and when she has to be admitted for long days, she says ‘Hold my hands, i think i go home soon whenever you do so’. So i hold her hand at every chance i get.
Early morning, dad calls me and asks me to come to hospital as early we can. I wake up and prepare to leave, he calls me again crying, probably the first time i see my dad crying and said ‘ She is no more ‘. Everything in the world seemed meaningless at that point.
She did not give up, she never would have, the doctors gave up. I wasnt near when my sister soul departed her. It hurted me more but i started preparing for the final rites.
I make sure she goes down with ultimate respect and so I take part in each of the small activities related to her last rites.
They are shrouding her and im supporting and supervising it all and her right hand fell towards me, i kiss those hands and keep it inside again.
We are now putting her in the vehicle to take her to the grave yard, again the knot loosened and i see her hand. So i stop, kiss her hand and put the hand inside and secure the knot on the shroud.
We reach the graveyard. Me, along with my father get down the pit and place her. I help my father go out safely and I am taking a long final look at my sister for one last time.
……… ‘Is that her hand?’ I ask myself inside my mind, i go close as if adjusting the shroud, yes I see her hand again. There is no way it could come out, she definitely wanted me to hold her hand so she can come home soon but it was over.
Just when I was forgetting the pain those hands caused due to the slaps, it left me a life long pain, an everlasting pain.
Its been years since she is gone, but the pain is fresh. This last scene is all that is left for the remainder of my life.
If you got elder sisters, you got more than one mother. Their care and love is no less than a mother does.
Be kind. Be there for them. And hold their hands.
They may not share anything but you holding their hands will solve everything for them.