It was on her 13th birthday that Geetha Bakshi lost her father. It was also the day she lost another person close to her. Her elder sister Smita Bakshi, the one who mattered so much to her, the one who made her Mumbai vacations so memorable. That fateful day, everything just vanished.
Born in Aurangabad and brought up in Mumbai to Dr Madhav Rao Bakshi and Kottayam based KR Pankajakshikuttiyamma, for the young Geetha it was not easy to live in a world without her sister. As she grew older, she tried hard to put the past behind her— “Sometimes we will bury those hot coals in our path or else it will be difficult to move forward,” as she likes to put it. Though she showed a brave and happy face to the world, there was a part of her which hoped that her sister would come in search of her.
Her stepsister, Smitha Bakshi (from her father’s first marriage), the one who always spent the summer vacations with her in Mumbai. And just like that she left. Geetha frantically wrote letters in broken English but never got any response to any of them. Even after marriage and three kids, Geetha missed her sister badly, hoping and praying that one day, her sister will knock at her doorstep. She retained her maiden name, just so that there were no hurdles in finding her after all her ‘Thayi’ (elder sister in Marathi) knew her address. That is when Geetha decides to go in search of her.
Finally, she finds her sister after 32 years but that is a chapter in her life she wants to forget. What awaits them after this reunion? That forms the crux of her book Thayi. According to Geetha, the book which tells a story that sounds stranger than fiction is about her life— “It’s also the life of KR Pankajakshikuttiyamma who migrated from a small town to the maximum city in search of a job. It is about a union between two contrastingly different individuals and how they made a nest of love with care and how a storm ruined it. It is a story of two sisters who part ways and meet at the crossroads in their life. It is mine as well as my thayi’s story. I have not really written anything in here, merely recorded. I never showed my tears, just wept inwardly.”
Though she wrote the biography in one sitting, Geetha does not have the courage to read it again. It is too painful, too personal a journey to go through all over again. “I have not even proofread the second part of the biography, for fear of revisiting the demons again,” admits the author. The book published by Manorama books will be out this month.