24th July 2013
“NO DAD NO! Enough is enough!! I’m not willing to listen to you. All I have done till this day is listen to you and mom, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t say this, don’t say that, try and understand your sister. Have you ever thought about me, and what may be going on in my mind” I am done, no more! I want to live a life with no more compromise”
Michelle’s dad listened with patient ears, he knew in his heart of hearts what his younger daughter said was true, yet he hoped that she would still try to understand the family situation. It was hard enough taking care of Maria for the last 13 years. She needed all the care that her parents could give her.
“Darling, you are my daughter as much as she is, and I love both of you equally”
“It’s been 13 years dad, 13 years!! 13 years is a long time, I am 26 now. I have literally lost out on my youth days to sacrifice, compromise and what not else. I cannot call my friends home, I cannot stay out for late parties, being the younger daughter – I have acted out to be the older daughter, shouldering responsibility to otherwise what would have been Maria’s”
This was a normal scene to take place in the D’Souza household, every week. A family of 4, Jane and John parents to Maria and Michelle, living in the interiors of the village of Bicholim, North Goa, the D’Souza family were well known for their closely knit bond, happy and content with whatever they had.
1st May 2010
Jules: “Guess what? The college is organising a trip to Delhi, and most importantly the college is funding half the trip…that means we only have to pay 50% of the total cost. How cool is that?”
Sam: “that is so cool dude! By what date do we need to submit our names?”
Rohan: “tomorrow” no probs, my dad should be cool with it. I am IN, what about you guys and you Michelle?’
Michelle: no ya, don’t think I would be able to make it. I need more time to complete my project work and besides I have 2 projects back-to-back”
Jules: not again Michelle, you are always making some excuse or the other. You have got to make it this time, it is just not fair!
Michelle: love to make it, but surely next time (smiles)
22nd April 2011
“Tomorrow is somebody’s birthday, what plans mich?”
“rohan, at the cafeteria-the treat’s on me”
“and the party to follow later, am sure you are having a big bash at home”
“nopes, actually dad has some clients coming over for an official meeting, so that would not be possible”
(the next day at the cafeteria)
(Singing in unison) Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you….happy birthday dear Michelle………
(as she cuts the cake) thank you guys, you all have made my birthday so memorable.
With light music being played in the background of the college cafeteria, Sam asks Michelle for a dance and she complies.
Dancing came very naturally to Michelle, but of late there had been a distinct change to Michelle’s attitude to dancing, it was more of a ‘dance to be finished’ rather than a ‘dance to be enjoyed’. Going by the number of trophies she won at school level for dancing competitions, she wasn’t even close to what she was capable of.
“What happened Mich? Am I that bad a partner? that you are not enjoying yourself?”
“Sameer, I am nowhere close to the brilliant dancer you are” (Sameer was delighted hearing that comment; he loved it when his friends commented him on his dancing skills. He wasn’t the best, but he was a keen learner.
The everyday pressures of going back home and facing a new day would get to Michelle, for she slowly slowed down on all the things she loved to do, travelling, dancing, taking part in competitions and quizzing. Despite her waning interests in activities in college, she loved to sit on her laptop and chat with a few close friends of hers. They were only 2 other friends other than her family who knew her well to see through Michelle’s very strange behaviour.
She logged on to Facebook, she knew Derick would understand what she was going through. It was like any other day at home and she needed to talk to someone, she scrolled down her chat list…Derick wasn’t online…shittt! Now what!!!?? She shot him a quick message on whatsapp, the message was delivered but not received on the other side. She waited for the grey ticks to turn to blue…but Alas! He must be busy… “Derick, I so need to talk to you….” Where are you” she muttered to herself. It was 11.30 at night, Michelle slowly drifted off to sleep.
When she awoke next morning, she found 10 messages and 5 missed calls from Derick.