My earliest memories are staying with my grandma and brother. My parents had my sister soon after I was born and they went back with her and left their son – who was the darling of my grandma and birth ma with them. I really cannot remember much about those early days. I can’t remember when my birth mom got married; I remember going to their wedding. A little while later I remember writing my name over and over - my new name. I guess it was a novelty for me to have a full name.
I went to stay with my parents at age 3-4 sometime and went to school with my sister, same division same school. Our brother stayed back with Grandma. My sister has inherited our father’s qualities of sincerity and she was a model student while I was the popular one who spent most of her time outside the class. Our parents never ever differentiated between us. Only when someone used to praise me to Mom, she would immediately say – But she is not mine, she is my sister’s. She would feel guilty accepting credit for me. It hurt me to no end and she has stopped doing that now :)
As soon as any vacation would start – summer, Diwali, Christmas, I would be shipped off to my Grandma and our brother would go home. Baba would drop one off and pick the other up. We would write letters to each other and all the three of us siblings are still very close. I struggle to write about my grandma and birth mom because they are good people, they always had my best interests at heart but somehow they ended up hurting me the most.
After my tenth standard exams, my grandma declared that I was to stay with her and attend college there. The night before when my mother and sister were going to leave, leaving me at Grandma's was the first time I spoke up against my Grandma. I said I didn’t want to stay and she never kind of forgave me for it after. Neither did my birthmom in a way.
I was living in two worlds sort of – a normal life when I went back home and when I came to my grandma's, I was expected to feel gratitude and sorry for my birth mom and all the sacrifices that she has done for me etc. For many years I had the tendency to feel lonely when I was tired or sad, I always thought my parents have their family, my birth mom has hers, my birth father has his and I have no one. I think it is the effect of many years of brainwashing by my grandma by telling me how I have no one in the world except God and my birth mom. But now I consciously push away those thoughts and focus on the positives in life – I was lucky to have such an awesome family, I have a good husband, our own children, a loving mother and grandmother and now I am so lucky to find my birth father in my life now.
Maybe because I spent half of my time at home and with my grandma's respectively, I got to see two sets of approaches and attitudes towards life, two sets of issues, I knew how a normal family functioned, I knew what it felt like to be the child of divorced parents...
To be continued