2012 ISV Magazine Scholarship Finalist: Neeti Thakral

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At the age of 16, I was a very strong girl when I took the responsibility of my house and the family, being in a situation that totally shattered me. Broken into pieces, I never knew if I would be ever back to normal.

Ever since childhood I heard that, “God can’t be with us at every place, so he sends a replacement for everyone.” That was the moment when I lost that replacement in my life. She meant the world to me, she could get me before I even said something. She helped me through my tough times, when I had doubt in my own faith. Now everything around me seemed to be so dull.

It was an afternoon of a hot summer day, when I came back from school. Just like other days, my mom made me lunch, it was cottage cheese with chapatti (bread). Just then the next thing I heard was the cracking sound of the main door of my house. It was normal for my mom to go to the grocery store without informing anyone at home. After I finished eating lunch with my grandma, I was interrupted by a phone call: it was my mom who called.  That was my last conversation with her. The only thing she was asking me was, “Do you love me?” My answer to it was, “ Yes mom. How could I not love you?” I didn’t knew that the best times were changing to the worst times. For me the world was full of happiness, until I heard my mom saying, “This is the last time I would be able to talk to you, and I am going somewhere from where I couldn’t return back.”

The only thing she was asking me was, “Do you love me?” My answer to it was, “ Yes mom. How could I not love you?”

Her words hit me like a rock and knocked my soul off the body. For me it was the time when the world collapsed on me. First it took me a moment to realize what actually happened to me. I was popping my knuckles, trying to call my dad. That was a point of time when I never realized what my thoughts were dragging me into. Even after trying to get myself out of all those thoughts, my mind was struck to think in a negative way. Until my dad got home, I was in a state of shock. I was looking at my dad; he was on the phone trying to find out what happened. My brother could hardly speak to anyone without breaking down. All our relatives were over at our place now. I was sitting in a corner with water dripping down my eyes. My own house seemed like a ghost that haunted me. After all that negativity that was going through our minds, no one was ready to accept the reality until someone had proof of what actually happened. That was the moment when my hope was hanging by a thread. Everyone’s solemn faces around me showed the lack of faith. Pins and needles were poking my body. Cold sweat was dripping over my face. The emotional turmoil accompanied me as tense emotions and a dark atmosphere surrounded me. I was cold feet, biting off my nails. In heart of hearts I was waiting for a angel who could take away our uneasiness. The constriction made me feel stiff. Still I was trying to overcome that adverse situation.

The day changed from dawn to dusk. Everyone was still drowned in thoughts. There was no sign of hope. Just then one of my uncle’s said, “No news is a good news, have faith in God.”  Now nothing could put me together. Her absence had become a mystery that was overpowering everyone’s mind. The dead silence was broken. Somebody found her car in middle of nowhere, a place that no one would have wanted to go alone. But she wasn’t there. After a couple of days, we found out that she didn’t survive. No one knew the reason why she wasn’t among us anymore. After the long deadly silence, I cried out uncontrollably. I felt like I was paralyzed. I had been so quiet that only the ticking of the clock could break the silence.  The news made me feel like someone choked me. Now I could feel the commotion around myself. The loud noise of crying filled the place all over. My mind was a million miles apart from all those people around me. All that I could see was her pretty face that was always delighted. It won’t take someone more than a minute to know how graceful she was. I told myself, “If I am out of my mind, that’s right for me.” “Is there anything else to lose?” I half asked and half told myself. I couldn’t see my dad with his face buried in his hands. My heart even started pounding fast when I saw my brother trapped in a group of people. It looked like he was stuck in a spider’s web from where he could never get out. Next I looked at his face, his eyes were blood shot red. I had never seen him like that before. The realization that I could never see her again struck me. The open air was suffocating me. I wanted to knock off all the thoughts that flooded my mind. I realized that this is the reality that I have to accept. And even after I used to wake up with tears dripping down my eyes. But the truth sat there, burning a hole in me.

After a couple of days, we found out that she didn’t survive. No one knew the reason why she wasn’t among us anymore.

This incident took away my adolescence and made me a sophisticated person. I think this was what the time demanded from me. The world turned upside down for me. It just took a few seconds for this whole changeover to happen. I can say that it was a great turning point in my life. Where on one hand l became emotionally weak and the situations were pushing me into a depressive state. I felt like someone has abducted me and put me behind the bars, from where I could never escape. Even a little ill temper of someone towards me would make me feel down. Every little thing started bothering me. Each time I thought about my mom, made me feel like someone is stabbing my heart.

On the other hand I had to take care of my family, which made me really strong in the worst times. I realized that how everything works in a family. I felt like I grew ten times faster than the normal people, because I had to be mature. I was burdened with the responsibility of my family, my relatives, my studies, and my own social life. All that scraped off my childhood and immaturity and made me a grown up girl full of responsibilities. Today I think ten times ahead of people who are the same age as me, as I experienced all those hardships. I started taking mature and wise decisions, as I knew that the world is not going to treat me the way I want it. I have to shape myself according to my surroundings if I have to be a successful person. All that made me ready to face the big bad world with no one around me to support or understand me. My heart and my brain always conflicted, but I knew that I can’t be emotional and take decisions of my life. I had to act as a fully-grown person to be successful in life.

Neeti Thakral is one of ten finalists for the International Student Voice Magazine scholarship sponsored by International Student Protection. She is from India studying at the University of Alabama.

View our scholarship winner and the 10 finalists


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