I do not know much about her. She is Ganesh mama's (my mother's elder brother) daughter. If I can call my memory eidetic, I remember her as a very pale thin girl,always wearing a loose salwar kameez and calling me "Viththiya". Was not an introvert exactly, she spoke well when asked to answer my usual questions like "Why the hell are you so thin,do you ever eat?" or observations like "you need a better tailor..". I'd rather say she would argue well. The replies would be quite sharp and to the point as opposed to that frail voice of hers.
Ganesh mama passed away when she was 2, I suppose. I cannot recollect for sure because the blog writer herself was 4 or 5 at that time. It was late in the evening when we got the news that he had a heart attack. My mother was crying, dad rushed us to thatha's place and Deepa was playing on the hall oonjal (swing) is all I remember. Her struggle started at the age of two.
Childhood and adolescence without a father and life with a naive mother and a paltry family income is challenging. You often become the topic of concern or some useless discussion at every family gathering or function. You must tolerate the 'pitiful' looks of others. You always have to ask someone in the family to do this or that for you. When it comes to money matters like school or college fees or books, you have to make frequent visits to a relative's place. From a geometry box to a scientific calculator, from a bicycle to a dress, you get what your cousins had used before. Your tomorrow often looks uncertain. You spend half your life asking,contemplating, expecting and waiting.
Just as I convinced myself a few days back that we cannot call anyone 'self made' because we all owe our successes and accomplishments to others in some way, I heard my mom telling about Deepa's new job in Airtel. She has become a Team leader now and is getting appreciated by everyone at work. The non-complacent girl is also giving many bank examinations and thats where she wants to ideally 'settle' down. I couldn't think of a better example for self made.
Most of us who have had the luxury of a nice home,sets of parents to take care of us, good food on time,a set of new clothes every month have had it very easy. Be it a TCS or a Microsoft, a MS degree or a PhD, America or Australia - we made it because of our parents. We slept peacefully at night knowing that everything was definitely going to be taken care of. People like Deepa were destined to do it all by themselves.
I do not know what Deepa went through exactly or what she felt all these years growing up. I did not spend quality time with her. But I had always liked her. Underneath that gaunt haggard stature, I knew there was a will million times stronger. The will to confront and fight the unfair trials of life.
I dedicate this post to my wonder-cousin Deepa. Way to go, gal :-)