I still miss him and his infectious laughter
“While growing up, my elder brother Ranjit was my best friend, so I was very upset when he went to boarding school. I used to cry every time we dropped him there. Once, when I’d gone to meet him, he had chickenpox and I couldn’t be near him, so I sat below his 1st floor window and chatted with him for 4 hours! He was fun-loving and popular so I was always known as Ranjit’s sister… but I loved that identity.
Everything changed in 2005. Ranjit had a motorcycle accident while coming home from Panchgani, just a month before his 24th birthday. When I heard about it, I kept calling his phone, but there was no answer. By the time they got him home it was 11.30 PM – all night I kept stroking his forehead, asking him to wake up, but he never did.
The next day we immersed his ashes – all 6 feet of him in 1 tiny pot. That was the loudest I’ve ever cried out – I felt like someone had ripped my heart open. I didn’t just lose him, I lost all of his future family – the nieces and nephews I could’ve had. I began sleeping during the day and staying awake at night because I couldn’t bear to see my parents cry.
I was lost and disturbed and didn’t leave the house for a year. During this time, a friend told me about some gifts he had bought for his professors – I really needed something to distract myself so I asked him if I could gift-wrap them. Surprisingly, wrapping those gifts gave me a unique creative outlet and I felt at peace for the first time in months.
My friend’s sister thought he’d paid for a gift-wrapping service, and she was so impressed that she said I should do it professionally. And that’s how ‘Wrapistry’ was born – I even included my brother’s initials RPW in the name. With those papers and ribbons, I tried to bring colour back into our lives. No one believed this was a profession and a lot of people laughed at me, but I didn’t care — I was finally feeling like myself again.
It’s been 8 years since then and today I have my own brand of gift wrapping material and I even take workshops. I’m so glad that I could make my parents proud, just like Ranjit used to do.
Even today he’s very much alive in my heart, and in my conversations. The doctor who treated him, later told me that during his last breaths, Ranjit was talking about me. I still miss him and his infectious laughter – you don’t just get over such things no matter how many years have passed. He might have left us, but I think he left some of his strength behind for me.
Sometimes I wonder what he would’ve thought about my unique career – he probably would’ve teased me about wrapping boxes for a living but I know that secretly, he would’ve been proud.”
(collected from Humans of Bombay’s facebook page)