It's that time of the year when the days are shorter and the nights longer. Naturally you get into bed earlier, gazing at the cracks in the ceiling struggling to fall asleep, at other times you are knocked out at touch-down…As I go through these autumn nights awaiting the preparatory period of advent and the culmination of festivities that surround the birthday of this little baby…Jesus, at Christmas, I have these zillion thoughts zipping thru my grey cells.
Hanging right opposite my bed, is the Don Bosco calendar, I pinch myself hard…no am not dreaming…it is the end of the 11th month of the year. One more to go and the year 2010, yet another year draws to an end..At the start of the month of November I had my annual leave to coincide with Dad's departure from this world WE call home, for his heavenly home. It adds to the melancholy of the time of the year. I then think of the list I drew up at the start of the year...my resolution list. Ashamed I have to admit that I have not achieved any of them in totality, but am consoled at the many attempts I made…I tried.
"Failures are the pillars of success" my dad would often say…and it rings loud and clear in my head..FAILURE!!!
When mum passed away dad had already retired, and so we three sisters grew up having to fend for ourselves. This is where I now see the initial cracks began to form. In trying to fend and provide for oneself is also probably what distanced us from each other. We three siblings never grew up closely bonded to each other. Each one of us led separate lives living under the same roof.
Jyotsna, the eldest of us three was in college and so the automatic responsibility of being the "bread winner" fell on her at least till such time that Shranima would be able to assist. As for me, four and half years later after mum's passing away, I went to the mission state of Manipur, where I earned and learned simultaneously for a while and then returned to Bombay where I stuck my finger in every pie possible, up until I landed myself..no..BLESSED with my dream job.
During the years that I was away, Jyotsna and I would communicate often. When direct dialing facilities were made available, she sometimes managed to smuggle a call thru to me, to this remote far north-eastern state which often bridged the distance of what would normally take a 5day journey to travel to this part of the country. I have not the faintest idea of what our conversations were about…
Shranima, I do not recall receiving mail from or even speaking…I could be wrong, but I would assume that her intense Secretarial course would have kept her pre-occupied, besides the fact that she and Jyotsna could not see eye to eye and so she would spend very little time at home. That she spent very little time at home was something my father could not tolerate.
Time passed by and each of us grew up to be self-made women, the distance between us only widened. At no point in time did either of us really pause and see this as an issue because each of us were so busy building our own lives, dealing with our own issues. Maybe dad did see it, but his authority sort of diminished as our earning power increased. If there were problems and issues, we hardly ever attempted resolving them and this continues till date. We try to bury the hatchet without ever trying to sorting things out.
It is now years since I have had a conversation with Jyotsna and Shranima. There used to be a time when I would be the bridge between the two of them, as the situation only got worse with Jyotsna's secretive way of going about things…but not anymore, not since…ahhh well..I've lost count of the years…And so we three siblings continue to live our separate lives.
The one thing in life that I am most passionate about is the ONLY thing I do not have…Family! Is that failure? For if it is then the institution of The Family that I so strongly propagate is the only thing that evades me. And yet…"Friends are the only family members that one can choose." I am grateful for the many friends I have all over the world. I thank God for each and every one of you, my friends, so many of you who treat me and consider me as part of your very own Family.