We went to the same school, Fatema and I, and I remember how tiny she looked walking alongside. She would hold my little finger as we would walk to school together. Even as we grew up, not much changed.
I was a popular kid in school, and she always seemed to be under my shadow. The teachers did not bother to remember her name. She was always referred to as my sister.
“Arwa’s sister, where is your homework?”
“Arwa’s sister, walk out of class!”
“Why aren’t your essays as good as your sister’s?”
She hated not having an identity of her own. I simply told her that these were the side effects of being born with the same surname!
She took the same course as me for graduation, and as luck would have it, she was granted admission into the same college. Here, she was taught by the same professors that had taught me- the very people I shared a great rapport with!
Comparisons continued to happen. Her friends perceived me to be the cooler one because the faculty praised me in her class.
“Why did you have to be so smart?”
“I cannot bunk classes because I’m being compared to your regularity”
“I’m constantly under pressure to do well in my projects. Why did yours always have to be so ‘out of the box’?”
And so her complaints went on.
But let me bring to your notice that in all those exams that matter, she has outperformed me. She was smart enough to devote her efforts in places that matter. Whereas I blindly followed the crowd.
And its not just academics, she is a better person than I am. Tactful, alert, principaled, honest. I wish I could be like you.
Fatema, today as you sit here with your degree in hand, let me tell you that from now on, nobody is going to refer to you as my sister. You step out of these doors to a new world waiting for you. And all I can wish for you is to be such, that from now when people look at me, they should say “SHE is Fatema’s sister!”
We love you, and continue to make us proud, everyday!
Here are a few memories of the day, as promised.
|The Hats Off Ceremony|
|With the proud father|
|Fatema’s “Ting!” expression|