54 Ashmin Bhattarai

I was waiting for the power to resume after the power cut.

“If your brother had been here, he would have fixed the power control box but I you are not like him.” That’s what my father said.

Appraisal statements like these occurred frequently in my house whenever I did not clean up my room or complained for food. If I had ever plotted the occurrence of sentences like these, the graph would have been of an exponential function.

My dependency level upon my brother was higher. I could have accomplished no activities without his guidance. There were no project reports for which his backing was not needed. He drew all my biology classes’ diagrams as he was better sketcher than me. Whenever my parents were away, I enticed him by the best means possible to perform even my designed tasks like cleaning the dishes or cutting the lawn. May be it was the reason I was often suggested to be like him – hard working, obedient and a responsible son.

“I am better in studies. I have won more medals from my extra-curricular activities than him. All my teachers are proud of me. What is there left for me to be called a responsible son?” I usually thought. I just never understood that the self-esteem I thought I was filled up with was nothing else than my amateur arrogance.

The story turned around when my brother went abroad for his higher studies and left me all alone to rely on myself.

I still remember the moment my mother said, “As your brother has gone, there are several responsibilities of a son you need to realize. We expect a lot from you.”

Initially it was fun. I was proud that I would now get a chance to prove myself the best. But the journey subsequently wasn’t as easy as I expected.

My father once gave me money and asked me to pay the electricity and telephone bills. I immediately took the money and headed for the task.  As I reached the authority office, I started baffling. I knew the location but had no clue about where to go and whom to pay. Somehow I understood the procedures and managed to pay. But standing on that long tedious queue for payment annoyed me. I then realized how my brother used to do these errands without ever complaining.

Likewise my mom is a patient of low back pain. One day she was in bed rest and unfortunately dad was also away from work. That left me to cook and clean the house. By hook or by crook I managed to prepare the meal. Only disparity by the end of evening was that, I had a wounded finger –while chopping the vegetables –and burnt lentils soup to serve my mom. I perceived how obedient my brother was to the family responsibilities and took care of everything.

I tackled a series of incidents that outlined my laziness and dependency. But with each incident, I learned new lessons. Everyday I missed my brother’s presence and understood why I was compared with him frequently.

It has been around three years since his departure. In this period, I’ve realized the correct definition of responsibility and the cost of dependency. Today my realization and independence have changed my life. As a result, I now lead the “Smart Club” my brother only dreamed of doing. Tasks ranging from assisting my father’s official works to helping my mom in daily chores; actively involving in environment and youth activism to volunteering on anti-corruption campaign and UN consultation programme, I am grasping new things from life and growing progressive with it. I am thankful to my circumstances and realizations that I now find myself –more matured and responsible youth, son and younger brother.

These days I often hear recommendations from my relatives to my cousins, “Look at Ashmin and learn something from him.”


- Ashmin Bhattarai


    Jacobs University,

      Bremen, Germany




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