Rachna Vinod
It wasn’t easy for Gouri to accept Rani’s presence in her life. For twelve years she was the undisputed princess for her parents who were blessed with second daughter after a long gap of twelve years. Gouri could not bear the divided attention of her parents. Her parents were worried.The sudden burst in her temper very obviously made her parents concerned about change in her hitherto docile behaviour. All the time she was throwing tentarums to seek their attention. More they tried to be extra careful and loving to her, more she resorted to unpleasant, disruptive behaviour resulting in emotional outbursts. Gouri was on threshold of her teens. She had already started noticing changes in her body and mind. Her parents were well aware of her delicate transitional period. They had started preparing her well in advance, for acceptance of a sibling of her own whom though she had accepted mentally but had not realised that she would have to share her parents’ hitherto undivided love and attention.
The younger second daughter Rani blissfully ignorant to all the upheaval caused in the family because of her birth, kept growing up under constant loving care of her parents. In her innocent world, oblivious to the feelings of hatred, she had taken to Gouri as dear as her parents who were as dotting to her as to Gouri. She took Gouri’s repulsion towards her as part of Gouri’s nature who in her innocent world, was as much part of her family as her parents whereas Gouri could not accept Rani as part of the family. She would spare no opportunity to be aggressive with Rani who was a happy child enjoying tremendous care of her parents.
Both siblings of the same parents were poles apart in their looks. Gauri was extremely good looking and attractive with fair complexion. Moreover in her teens she was well aware of her beauty and took pride also in that. Rani with her sharp clear cut features was extremely dark complexioned. Now in a society where fairness of skin is multi-billion currency buisness because measure of beauty is fair complexion, Rani with her dark complexion was labelled as an ugly child whose naive mind couldn’t understand the sarcastic remarks passed over her looks. Her impeccable eyes were always full of trusting expression. Her mother would feel hurt and over the years, she became more protective for Rani whom she would try her best to shield from sneering, jeering of others. There was no use of getting into arguments with any such person. She vehemently disliked any comment on her daughter’s looks and like any other mother, for her, her daughter was the most beautiful and precious daughter in the world. That’s why she had named her Rani, the queen.
Both the siblings were as different in nature as in their looks. Gauri always gave the natural impression of ever in airs and ever easily in command of her surroundings. She was quite choosy about the kind of persons she would like to interact. There was no dearth of persons drawn to her impressive personality and wanting to be closer to her and she too thrived in such attention. Winning many beauty contests, she had landed into roaring modelling career. With passing years, after having established herself as a successful model, she had opened a modelling school where she was now training and grooming others desirous of choosing this as a career. Inspite of a successful career combined with eventually a successful marriage, she could never overcome her indifferent attitude for Rani who was always in awe of her elder sister. Rani growing up under immense parental care, could neither comprehend nor take Gauri’s indifferent attitude to her heart. She was engrossed in studies where she excelled. Her intelligence combined with modest sweet behaviour had made her a favourite with teachers as well as classmates. Caustic comments were still made at Rani’s dark complexion but she chose not to react to such comments though feeling hurt. Now grownup adult, she could know the mindset of such people and had realised that she would have to change her mindset of feeling low at their hurting remarks because she can’t change others’ mindset.
Now, what was this measurement of beauty? Shouldn’t everyone be thankful to God for sound body in sound mind… Rani often wondered. Was such segregation based on colour of skin anytime not apartheid, a term often used for defining racial discrimination? Wasn’t this aparthied within the family, the society, the circle of closely related people? Does anyone realise the extent of mental agony a person undergoes by the sardonic remarks over a phenomenon beyond one’s power? Apartheid is a society where white people are considered superior and people of other races are mistreated. But what about this kind of apartheid within the same family belonging to the same race? What about mental apartheid ? Does anyone practising it even realise the mental blockade in children developing their thought process ? A child takes birth unaware of any notion of any discrimination but his/her mind is imprinted with arrogant scars with no fault of his/her. No body takes the responsibility of such inhumane act of polluting a child’s mind rather it is brushed aside and many a time laughed away treating it part of growing up in natural way without bothering to become an instrument for contaminating clean mind of child hitherto unknown sentiments of supressed anger and hared. Luckily at no stage of her life, Rani felt any discrimination from her dotting parents who although tried their best not to let her feel the passionless attitude of her sibling yet they could not stop her sulking over her sister’s indifference.
Rani didn’t let these imprints of unpleasantness with her sibling stop her pursuing her career as child psychologist. Her parents were always convinced and confident of their both daughters’ intelligence but they were always perturbed over elder daughter Gauri’s indifference towards her much younger sister Rani. Inspite of their best efforts to bring around Gauri to be kinder towards Rani, they couldn’t convince her. It had taken Gauri’s experiences in life dealing with people from different races making her realise her glaring mistake of running down her own sister for all those years and nurturing mental aparthied in her own home turf. Taking full responsibility of being mean and self centred, apologizing profusely, she asked to be forgiven and hugged Rani warmly, affectionately. Overwhelmed with joy by this change in Gauri’s attitude, Rani reciprocated lovingly. Their parents too were happy to see their children doing away with attitudinal aparthied.