Updated: Jul 6, 2021
The biggest and most significant experience in my life was the birth of my little sister, Trisha with a birth condition of Down’s syndrome.
It was difficult growing up with a special child – the age gap between my sister and I is just five years. I was not mature enough to understand the situation or the need for my parents to give special attention to her. I was very jealous of the extra attention she garnered from my parents and everyone else. My mother would spend many eveningstravelling half way around the city, due to lack of specialized centers cateringto the needs of such children and to make suremy sister got all the education she required, whileI would be at home impatiently waiting for my mother and for her attention .
My possessiveness and jealousy would only end up making the situation more difficult at home. As a young boy, I was embarrassed to introduce Trisha to my friends. What changed my attitude slowly but steadily was her sweet disposition. Despite her many handicaps, my sister is a happy person and very compassionate. Her love for me was beyond my comprehension. Her eyes would light up every time I returned from school or from the outdoors. She expected people to be happy and would go to extreme lengths, given her limited understanding of the situation, to cheer up a sad person. Gradually I began to understand her needs and her qualities which truly made her ‘’special’’.I realized that if I respected her, my friends and extended family would respect her too.
Trisha is a dreamer, she dreams about having a different career path every day. Some days, she wants to be a dancer or an actress, on good days, she seems content with her current line of work that of an assistant teacher for kindergarten grade in a regular school. She is an extremely lovable person with an ability to uninhibitedly express her joy and her anger. She also has the ability to forgive and forget, to be absolutely pure at heart and in her actions while being full of energy. On a personal front, we share a great bonding. Our maximum time is spent discussing moments related to family incidents, our cousins and her friends.However, my sibling inclination to correct on many issues such as her clothes, correct TV shows or a proper diet often leads us into arguments and she throwing temper tantrums.It is usually me who ends up cajoling and saying sorry first and face the triumphant look on her face!
Trisha is independent, confident and very soft hearted. But at the same time she isn’t the one to be pushed around or spoon-fed .I however, have often been at the wrong end of this emerging personality of her. My continuous attempts at convincing her to ‘sleep early’ have mostly met with a growl ‘’Bhaiya, relax,I can handle’’
She has taught me compassion, patience, empathy, being at peace with oneself, counting my blessings, accepting rather than being judgmental among many other things. Today I believe that it is my patient and non-judgmental attitude which help me do well in people-intensive activities. When I meet a differently-abled person, I am empathetic, not sympathetic. Every time I see them struggle with simple tasks, I realize and appreciate the continuous and untiring effort put in by the person to be able to do so. I have learned to appreciate the small things in life which can bring us joy.
Living with my sister is like having a new and exciting experience every day.
Written By : Tushar Khandelwel, Son of Sangeeta Khandelwal, Co-ordinator, Awareness & Advocacy