Management student Siddharth Sharma would have been 33 on Sunday. His life cut short in an accident by a 17-year-old in his father’s speeding Mercedes on April 4. The case has brought to spotlight the menace of underage driving in the city. On Saturday, the Juvenile Justice Board passed an order allowing the teenager to be tried as an adult under the amended rules.
As Sharma’s friends, who started a campaign seeking justice, gathered to remember him on his birthday, his sister Shilpa writes to him.
Happy Birthday, my baby brother. You would have been 33 today. It’s been two months that you are gone. The home is silent. I cannot hear your unmelodious singing voices from the bathroom. I cannot scold you to keep your clothes and cricket shoes properly. Life without you has become nothing but silent. Everything is just lying as it was.
I am sorry, I could not pay attention to your small wishes. You kept on screaming for a good quality speaker set for your eventful karaoke. I wanted to gift you that on this birthday.
Your grades have come from college. They are all A’s and A+’s. I see the surprise you were about to give me. I just found your appointment letter from the IT firm you always wanted to join. I keep getting mails from all your Royal Enfield groups asking you about the upcoming Ladakh trip. I wonder how the sky kisses the ground on the plains there and imagine how you would feel with the wind hitting your eyes. My eyes are closed. I see you flying. I hear you laughing, your crazy laugh. But there is nothing when I open my eyes. No wind, no craziness, no laugh. Only rounds to police stations and courts. They stress me. The heat is killing. Yogesh (Shilpa’s husband) has too many things to do and is not around sometimes.
I go to the courts knowing it is going to be another tiring day. I want to ask you to accompany me. And when I go to your room, the reality dawns. You are no more. Siddhi, it becomes difficult not to cry. I am sorry. You told mom that you don’t like people crying. Ask anyone, I am very brave. I am not crying.
I remember how upset you would be during those summer holidays, when no friends could come and visit you home on your birthday. But today, see how many friends have come home. I remember telling you not to make friends with everyone you meet but I was wrong. You have many good friends. They tell me so many things about you. I was wrong. I get it. You don’t need to rub it on me. I have a great support system in all your friends but ek baat bolu, Sab hai lekin tu nahin hai. Please wapas aaja. (But let me tell you one thing. Everyone’s here but you. Please come back)
Getting justice is becoming hard. I know, being from a defence background, you always believed in the course of law but to tell you the truth, initially everyone tried to get the proceedings delayed. But we did not get aggressive, we took the peaceful route. We held a candle march. Even our beloved Benson (pet dog) walked the candle march to show the world that you were brutally killed by a spoilt brat.
There are brats like them, who our system keeps under cover, even after they kill. Initially the police did not let us see the CCTV footage of the accident, but we somehow made it through. It was heart wrenching to see the entire country getting enraged over that footage. Siddhi how did it happen? I hope you did not see your death coming. I hope you did not see the speeding car. My heart sinks and I cannot even imagine how a man would react on seeing death is rushing towards him and that too my own little brother. Mom has gone under depression. I have seen dad crying in solitude. I love you. Everyone loves you. You are needed here not anywhere else.
People around tell me what they saw in the footage. I walk out or scream at them not to tell me. I cannot handle it. I have not seen the footage. I cannot see you dying. I want to remember you the way you are with that loud laugh and a smiling face.
(Coordinated by Prawesh Lama)