A beautiful child

Amal Chatterjee
7 min readJun 7, 2020

Source : Personal album

Synopsis: A life is so short that it passes like a flash for some people. When someone dear to you passes away, you recall everything about that person if you have spent your lifetime being close to that person. You recall in great detail every incident, every moment, every occasion of joy and excitement probably more so when the person passes away. This is how we miss people we loved and who were a part of our life.

A beautiful child was born in a middle class family that was large by today’s standard. She had many siblings but no one knew what a special child she was and what she would achieve in her life later. Her parents doted on her but she was just another child in a large family where three more kids were added later to this growing brood.

She was dark but pretty and developed an early talent of singing because she had the voice of a nightingale and could dance that attracted a lot of attention in the community where she lived. She was asked by the elders to sing for them or dance that she did without the slightest hesitation because she was not shy. She had by this time three other siblings born after her so she took to baby sitting them even though she was just a child.

Source : Personal album of the beautiful girl and her sickly brother

One of her brothers was born sickly who always cried because he had worms in his stomach that bloated it so she gave him sugar to stop crying but it only fed the worms and made the child very weak and petulant. He refused to walk so she carried him on her. It was a classic picture of a child carrying another child and trying her best to keep him from crying. If the child was not carried, he would often sit on human poops to show his anger so she had to clean him up and get scolded by her parents but carried the little boy as best as she could.

She started to grow up and the little brother also grew up who would bring her lunch to her school that their mother prepared for her everyday. She was very popular in her school because her teachers noticed her talent in singing and dancing. In the community she was sought now for acting in the drama that was presented during the annual festival of Durga Pooja where she was given the lead role. Now she could really bloom to her full potential and show her acting talent as well.

The audience loved her acting and always rewarded her with silver medals at the end of the drama when the whole team took its bows before the applauding audience. She collected many such medals but her family took it for granted and paid scant attention to it. The elder sisters were even jealous of her getting all the attention.

At her very young age of 20 she directed a play called Alibaba with an all female cast that amazed everyone . The play was the most successful that became the talk of the town. She herself appeared in two plays in leading roles that sold out all the tickets and people realized what a wonderful actress she had become. But some people were jealous of her ability and fame so she withdrew from all acting and directing.

Her younger brother walked with her to school everyday and often waited at her school gate to return home with her because his school was just nearby. She used to always talk about her favorite teachers like any teenager and eager to share her school pranks with her siblings. She loved wearing glass bangles that one day caused her a serious injury to her hand when another kid pulled her hand the wrong way. She wore the long scar on her hand cut by the glass bangles the rest of her life.

Her mother worried about her and tried to teach her some culinary arts because she seemed more interested in other things although as a child she played with dolls like other girls and prepared food for her doll’s weddings with her tiny hands. She was preparing herself for a time when she would get married and raise her own family someday.

As a student in the university she was singled out to take part in a dance and drama competition in south India that her parents reluctantly let her attend. She took classical music lessons at home from a tutor as it was her major subject.

After her university education she found a temporary teaching job but soon realized that she needed a professional teaching credential so she got into a teaching college with gusto and got the license. The future looked bright when one day she was invited for a job interview so her brother brought her to the venue and left her there.

She arrived late in the afternoon and told the family that she was kept waiting, missed her lunch and she probably failed her interview for the government job because she was hungry and in a bad mood. Of all candidates she was the only one chosen to her delight and the surprise of her parents but her father refused to let her go to teach in a small town 60 kms from home so she cried and asked him to relent. Her mother then came to her aid and convinced her father to agree. This would bring her self reliance and life time job security with pension and other benefits.

She became immensely popular with her students who loved her. She would bring her girls to compete in state wide competition in songs and dances that won the school many accolades.

Her younger brother had also finished high school so she encouraged him to take agriculture degree because she said that the students of the agricultural college looked so smart and spoke very good English.

But her parent’s efforts to get her married amounted to nothing. The traditional arranged marriage required a suitable groom who would have to be given a hefty dowry but no suitable candidate appeared. She was beautiful, educated and had many talents but her dark skin became the reason she remained single but she did not care and enjoyed her teaching career. She would be transferred to other colleges after she got a Master’s degree and promotion as the reader and then as the vice principal.

One day her brother announced that he was going abroad as a volunteer agronomist so she was thrilled and went to see him off but only his mother and a few other relatives went to the airport while she suffered a terrible stomach problem that day. She regretted that she missed the chance to see off her favorite little brother who was going away but she wrote very frequently to him to keep in touch.

Many years passed and many things happened in the mean time. She followed avidly the progress her brother made abroad and was delighted as a child when he brought her some gifts during his visits home. She was delighted when he one day announced that he was going to marry a foreign girl and convinced the mother and her other siblings to agree to the proposal. She was absolutely thrilled when he returned home one day with his wife and a baby boy who became her instant focus in her life. She could not do enough for the baby and gave him all the love she could muster. She doted on the second baby who was born and lavished all her attention on them.

Many more years passed and she became old, frail and retired. She could no longer sing or dance but never lost her love for music. Her brother too had retired and bought her a house where she could live in comfort. He brought her to his home abroad three times to show the beautiful country where he lived. He brought her to many places in India as well. But her relationship with her family soured for one reason or other. Her distance from her siblings brought her only pain and anguish.

Then one day she was diagnosed with cancer that needed surgery. But the dreaded disease did not leave her even after massive surgery and constant medication so she suffered and fought valiantly only to fail a few days ago when a telephone call came along with several E-mails that brought the dreaded news that she had expired.

He was stunned and imagined her body being burned to reduce it to ashes to be thrown away in the Holy river of Ganga. Her whole life flashed before him since the time he was just a one year old baby and she a 7 year old child herself carrying him and stopping him from crying. She was so beautiful, so full of love for him and his children, so full of energy and ideas who could sing like a nightingale and dance like a professional.

The monks came to pray over her lifeless body, put flowers and burned incense sticks to show respect. She was loved, cared and missed by all who knew her. Her passing away leaves a big hole that can’t be filled but he mourns her silently because he could not be at her side when she took her last breath. He mourns remembering all the years and events that shaped their lives. How fleeting is life after all !

She was my sister I lovingly called Chordi.

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media.

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Anil’s biography in English.

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La biografía de anil en español.

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