When: 1986 to 2014
Where: Hyderabad to America
A very few people know that I have a twin sibling. After all these years why should I write about the ‘twin’ factor. One of the first things people say when they know I have a twin is, “Wow! it must have been great growing up as twins right?” Record this now and remember it forever. That is one thing you never want to say to one of the twins or both the twins in any conversation with you. It was never easy growing up together as twins. We had our share of happy moments. We still laugh at the mischievous things we did and got ourselves into troubles. But to be in the same learning environment, always subject to constant comparison in performances and achievements was a pain. So we both went through our phases of running away from each other in two opposite directions. It is like this gap of years where there are barely any photographs of him and me in one frame. Even the sight of one another was unbearable to both of us. There were times we wanted the other person to vanish so that the pressure of comparison and constant performance analysis would cease to exist.
Moving to the United States gave us the space we badly needed to discover ourselves. Who we are. What was the purpose of our existence. After all the years of growing up in India moving to live in a country like US , was like a blessing in disguise right at the time when we beginning to get lost in the vicious cycle that was engulfing us. Living here allowed us the liberty to focus on ourselves about how to become better humans and professionals. Back home that space and liberty of thought to assess oneself was difficult to achieve without being judged by everyone around us. I always said it and will never forget the help that my family is providing me in pursuing education in a field like APE. Without the luxury of being provided housing and food along with a safe place to live, I would not be able to perform at even 1/10th of what I am able to accomplish now. My brother paid for me to go to graduate school and tells me that it is his way of contributing to the cause of education for children with disabilities. Some time ago I was trying to ‘brain wash’ him about how he should let me start paying him back in small amounts. He sternly said to me,
“Padmini, you should understand that I am inside a lab like place almost all my waking hours. I work with machines that do not show any human emotions or interaction. I always wanted to be directly involved in service to society at sometime in my life. If I had the money, I would have definitely invested it somewhere if the money didn’t go to your tuition. I am doing the same right now. I am investing in you and your future. So in future when you service individuals with disabilities I will begin to see the returns of my investment.”
Those were probably the best words anyone ever said to me with regards to me choosing this career.
Not everyone tells you I love you everyday. But one action or decision they take will just give you a faith in their love for you eternally. There are no doubts that we hated each other equally, shared extreme dosage of fights and disagreements while we were growing up. But when people you care about go out of their way to help you realize your dreams, you are humbled beyond any limits in a human’s life.
Thank you Nani. I dedicate my Masters Degree to you my brother. I love you.