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As Stars Blossom

Contributor Nesha Sampathkumar shares a personal reflection on childhood and the wisdom she has learned throughout her life that she would share with her younger self.

Dear Nesha, 

It probably hasn’t been too long since you discovered your name is actually pronounced Nae-sha and not Nee-sha. Listen closely; almost everyone will mispronounce it, so don’t be afraid to correct them. Do you know your name has a beautiful meaning? In Russian, it means pure; in Tamil, it means love — pure love. You don’t even know what that is yet, but darling trust me, that day will come. And when it does, the world will seem like it is perfect. You’ll notice all the flowers blooming, their petals bright purple or pink, and the golden pollen sticking to the fuzz of the honeybees. But sometimes, my dear, these flowers fall; they lose their colour, they turn brown, and rot. Just like the jasmine flowers in your hair right now; they too will die in a couple of days. Such is life. 

Right now, you’re on your way to Chennai, and in a few days, you’ll be flying to Australia to start the next chapter in your life. Now I know this isn’t something you’d want to hear, but I will be honest; the next 10 years won’t have only fragrant flowers. There will be quite a few flowers that die, so I need you to promise me that you’ll continue to water the ones that still live. I know Mum’s got the camera out; she’s taking pictures and videos. You’re laughing, she’s smiling, your brother is sitting there blabbering like he does (that never really stops), your grandparents are sitting there, both of them, together. Everyone is happy. Remember these smiles. Remember these laughs. 

As you know you visit India maybe once a year at most, and those few weeks with your grandparents doesn't feel like enough, I know. Just make sure you spend a lot of time with them whenever you can, especially your grandmother. Mum tells people how kind and caring you are, and you may not understand how beautiful a quality like that is in this world right now. But one day you will. As you know, you get this quality from your mum, but what you might not realise is that you also get that from your grandmother. Surrounded by such role models, you too will grow to become a strong woman like them. 

Look outside the window. Do you see the stars? Of course, you’ve seen the stars before, but today you noticed them, didn’t you? Notice the way they glimmer in that dark sky. Aren't they beautiful? However, sometimes they are hidden behind clouds or they are outshone by other bright lights. That doesn't mean they are no longer there, right? People move a lot, and so have you. Australia will be the third country you will live in. You will leave many people behind, and many people may leave you too, but these stars will never leave; they will always be there to guide you, to keep you company. Talk to them, tell them how you feel, and they will listen. 

One day your thoughts may wander to places you don’t want them to, but remember, no matter how dead a garden is, the soil can always be used to grow more plants. If your flower has died, grow a new one. Have the flowers in your hair wilted? Wait for an aunty to walk by with her basket of flowers, ask her for some, and she will give you fresh flowers.  

All of this might be a little confusing for you right now and it might not make a lot of sense. You’ll understand everything I’m saying one day, but until then think of me as one of the stars in the sky; no matter what, I will always be there for you. You are and will always be surrounded by love, Nesha. Remember all the family hugs, and cherish all the roses you recieve from those you love. If you ever see someone selling jasmine flowers on the side of the road in India, buy them, wear them, let the smell carry you off into your curious pleasance – just a fancy word for a garden – of imagination. And whatever happens, trust your gut, even if it says something absurd; I promise it’ll never betray you. 

So, my love, it may be hard, but ignore all the negative things people say about you and all the criticism you receive; they are just words, so don't take them too seriously. You are strong, beautiful and smart, and sometimes people may forget to say it, but you will always be loved, supported, cared for, and appreciated. 

With lots of love,

Your Friend


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