Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sangita Sinha

     We were introduced 14 years ago, I am sure we were.  I don’t remember our first meeting; she was one among dozens of new relatives and 100s of guests at my wedding reception in New Delhi.  In all these years added together we have spent just a couple of months together, and even then it was in a houseful of in-laws.   In English she is simply my sister-in-law.  In Indian English she is my co-sister.  In Hindi she is my jethani, which means she married the elder and I the younger son of the Sinha family.  Sangita Sinha is loyal, tenacious and warm hearted.
     Sangita Sinha is the friend we all wish for, a loyal friend.  She is a reserved person, but once she welcomes you into her heart she won’t let you leave easily.  She rejoices in the highs and mourns the lows, but she always rises above the coolness to bring back the warmth to her friendships.  When her longtime friend lost her husband, Sangita Sinha was right there to help her through this difficult time.  Her friend was fortunate and had many friends to help her.  But years later, she continued to use her tragedy to squeeze sympathy and manipulate her friends.  Sangita Sinha decided to step away from this toxic relationship.  It took a while, and even though Sangita Sinha had let the fires burn out, she reminded herself of all the wonderful qualities that had made them friends in the first place and she took the initiative to reach out and rekindled the flames of their friendship.  Now years later they remain friends.    
     Sangita Sinha is just as tenacious in her life as she is loyal to her friends.  Growing up she was a shy girl with a passion for Indian music and movies.  She will tell you that as a child she had no ambitions in life, but when she got the chance to work in a radio station, just a toehold into that world she clung on with all her might.  Even though she was a daughter-in-law, a wife and a young mother, she eked out time to take care of her baby and to take care of her infant career.  Her passion for music and movies gave her the motivation to hang on and build her career one hand hold at a time.  All it took to climb the mountain, she says, is overcome her shyness.  It took years, but today she is a well-known radio personality.  
     Sangita Sinha is loyal, tenacious and warm hearted.  She lives in a house, but isn’t the mistress of the house, that would be our mother-in-law.  She never seeks the spotlight; she works quietly to make the house a home.  She makes New Delhi a home for me and to all our family near and far.  If all of us in the family are the spokes of a wheel, she is the hub that holds us together even as all of us travel through our lives going separate ways.  If home is where the heart is, her heart is what makes it a home.
     In the years since I met her, we have shared a few laughs, we have shed a few tears, and we have had a few misunderstandings.  Sangita Sinha has been a loyal friend to me, has tenaciously brought closeness to our relationship even though we live half a world away from each other and with her warm heart has made her home, my home.  Today, I can sincerely say that she is not just my sister-in-law, but a sister to me.

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