Kanishka Roy Choudhary
Sunbeam School Lahartara, Varanasi
Kanishka Roy Choudhary is a teacher at Sunbeam School Lahartara, Varanasi. She is a passionate teacher who looks forward to always learn and grow. She believes that teaching has changed her and her perspectives in many ways and is grateful of the decision of choosing to be who she is today.
I woke up one day and heard people screaming at the top of their voices, "Angrezo Bharat Chodo". I jumped out of my bed, ran towards the window, looked out and stood still. Bewildered, my mind could not comprehend what was happening. I was peeking out of the window and saw my father among the crowd and suddenly, I heard the frightened voice of my mother. She shouted, "Why are you standing there?" Walking hurriedly towards me, she pulled me back and shut the window. Curiously, I asked my mother, "What happened? Why does Baba shout?" That I was only 8, stopped my mother from explaining to me on what was happening. So, she simply told me, "Nothing, it's a part of his work, you wouldn't understand. You just listen to me and do not step out of the house without Baba or me." She added, "If you are obedient, I will make your favourite sweet dish tomorrow." Well, what do you expect from a child anyway? Their hearts are too gullible to melt at the thought of their favourite dishes and so I wasn't an exception to it. I got carried away. But, something was weird. Although I was too little to find out the reason, deep in my heart, I knew something was troubling my mother. In the afternoon, while I was playing, there was a knock on the door. I ran towards it, hoping it would be my father. Disappointment struck me when I saw that it was my neighbour, Sharda aunty. She told my mother, from what I recollect from my distorted memory, "He has fallen… in a serious condition… you need to hurry…or else…" My mother ran towards me and hugged me tightly. I asked my mother, "What happened?" She hugged me again, caressed my hair, kissed my forehead and told me, "Remember, I had told you to stay in unless Baba and I are there?" I nodded in affirmation. "Now you have to listen to Sharda aunty and do as she says till I am back with Baba, do you understand?" asked my mother, with her voice breaking. My mother kissed my forehead again and walked towards the door. Just when she was about to step outside,she turned back again, looked back and shouted "Meri Jaan, Meri Shaan…" [My life,My Pride], and I completed the sentence, "Ae Watan,tere Naam!" [Oh Country, For You]. This was something my father made me recite along with him. My mother smiled at me and went. I was obedient as my mother told me to be, as she had bribed me about making my favourite sweet dish the next day. While I was waiting, I asked Sharda aunty, "When are Baba and Maa coming back?" She replied, "Soon Bitiya. They'll be back soon." Days, months and years passed, and Sharda aunty took care of me very well. Every day, my heart would crave for my parents, and I slept in despair every night. All I wanted was them. I wouldn't have asked her for the dish if she was back. I kept asking the whereabouts of my parents to Sharda aunty until one day, when I turned 18, she sat me down and said, "Your father was a freedom fighter. In 1942, there was a crusade between Indians and the Colonials, in which your father fought hard. But he was injuredin the mass lynching and succumbed to his injuries." My heart sank, my ears went numb. I could not collect words and I mumbled somehow, "And…. M.. M..Ma?" She said, "Your mother, on hearing his demise, went to him but she was spotted by the enemy and shot." My world collapsed. All these years, I was waiting for my parents, only to know that they sacrificed their life for the country. I started screaming, crying, cursing this country who took away my parents. It was then that Sharda aunty reminded me of the last words my mother had said to me. She said, "Your parents wanted a future for you and many children like you, to live in free India. You cannot undermine their sacrifice by acting like this. You are the daughter of two freedom fighters. Own it and live your life as they dreamed you would!"
I remembered that smile of my mother when she was leaving, and it filled me with strength and zeal to live. [Present Day] "So did you live your life with content, grandma?" asked Riya, the granddaughter of Bharati. She looked at her, smiled and said, "Yes, my dear… In the Independent India that your great grandparents once imagined."