जीवन में कभी भी मतलब कभी भी मैंने राजनीति में रूचि नहीं ली… लेकिन देश प्रेम बचपन से ही ऐसे कूट कूटकर भरा था मुझमें कि स्कूल में चाहे किसी प्रतियोगिता में भाग न लूं लेकिन राष्ट्रभक्ति गीत प्रतियोगिता में ज़रूर भाग लेती थी और हर साल एक ही गाना गाती थी…
छोड़ो कल की बातें कल की बात पुरानी … नए दौर में लिखेंगे मिलकर नई कहानी… हम हिन्दुस्तानी…. हम हिन्दुस्तानी…
फिर एक समय ऐसा भी आया कि दो बड़े भाइयों को अमेरिका में शादी करवा कर भेज देने के बाद और वहां की नागरिकता प्राप्त करवा लेने के बाद मुझ पर दबाव डाला जाने लगा कि मैं भी अमेरिका या लन्दन में पसंद किए लड़के से विवाह कर वहीं सेटल हो जाऊं….
हम गुजरातियों में अमेरिका, लंदन या विदेश में घर बसाने का इतना आकर्षण होता है कि वहां पहुँचने के लिए कोई कुंवारा या कुंवारी लड़की किसी तलाकशुदा से शादी कर लेने के लिए भी तैयार रहते हैं.. बस कैसे भी वहां पहुँच जाए…
तो मेरे मना कर देने के बावजूद भी जब माता पिता का दबाव कम नहीं हुआ और उस ज़माने के तथाकथित प्रेमी भी मुझ जैसी बाग़ी लड़की की ज़िम्मेदारी लेने से मुकर गए तो देश छोड़ने की नौबत आने से पहले मैंने माता पिता का घर छोड़ दिया…
जीवन में दो बार ऐसे मौके आए जब शरीर पर पहने कपड़े और जेब में चंद रुपयों के साथ घर से निकल पड़ी बिना ये सोचे विचारे कि इतनी बड़ी दुनिया में जाऊंगी कहाँ… लेकिन मैं इस बात से निश्चिंत थी कम से कम भारत माँ की धरती पर हूँ, तो वो मुझे अपने आँचल में कहीं न कहीं जगह दे ही देगी….
तब जानती नहीं थी कि नियति कोई खेल खेल रही है मेरे साथ…. फिर 35 साल के अनवरत संघर्ष के बाद मेरे फ़कीर स्वामी ध्यान विनय का जीवन में आगमन हुआ जिनके किस्से कई बार सुना चुकी हूँ..
जो महत्वपूर्ण घटना जीवन में घटित हुई वो यह कि 39 वसंत देख लेने के बाद जीवन में एक ऐसा व्यक्ति आया जिससे इतनी प्रभावित हुई कि राजनीति के कीचड़ में पैर डाल दिया ताकि कमल को खिलता हुआ देख सकूं.. और वो व्यक्ति है हमारे देश के प्रधानमंत्री श्री Narendra Modi…
सुनयना, यह सिर्फ भूमिका है अपना छोटा सा परिचय देने के लिए इसलिए कि आप मुझे नहीं जानती… मुझे जानने वाले मेरे अतीत के संघर्ष के दिनों से लेकर आज राष्ट्रहित में चलाये जा रहे मेरे ऑनलाइन अखबार मेकिंग इंडिया की यात्रा के बारे में बहुत अच्छे से जानते हैं…
आज सुबह आँख खुलते से ही आपका यह पत्र मेरे सामने खुला पड़ा था… सच कहूं पूरा पढ़ भी नहीं सकी… लगा कि तुम्हें गले लगा लूं और कहूं कि आजा उमर बहुत है छोटी, अपने घर में भी है रोटी…
आपने नरेन्द्र मोदी, सुषमा स्वराज, अमिताभ बच्चन, शाहरुख खान, अर्णव गोस्वामी और बहुत सारे लोगों को टैग करते हुए यह फेसबुक पोस्ट लिखी है ताकि विदेशों में भारतीयों की सुरक्षा को लेकर नियम और कड़े किये जाए.
सुनयना, आपके स्वर्गीय पति की दिनचर्या के बारे में बताकर आपने खुद दर्शा दिया कि उनके ह्रदय में अपनी मातृभूमि और मातृभूमि के लिए समर्पित लोगों के प्रति कितना आदर और सम्मान था…
मैं नहीं जानती आप लोगों के क्या सपने थे या क्या मजबूरी कि मातृभूमि के लिए इतना प्रेम होने के बावजूद आप इसके सुरक्षित आँचल को छोड़ पराई कोख में प्रेम खोज रहे थे.
सुनयना, माना हमारे देश में अलग अलग विचारधाराओं के लोग हैं, अलग-अलग राजनीतिक दल हैं, उनकी अपनी महत्वाकांक्षाएं हैं, उनके अपने स्वार्थ और अपने उद्देश्य हैं, कुछ राष्ट्र को समर्पित भी हैं, कुछ राष्ट्र विरोधी भी हैं… किसी के नाम का उल्लेख यहाँ करना मेरा उद्देश्य नहीं.
माना यहाँ विरोधी विचारधारा के लोग कभी भारत माँ के टुकड़े के नारे लगाते हैं, कभी किसी गुरमेहर को मोहरा बनाकर राजनीति की बिसात पर दांव पेंच खेलते हैं, कभी भारत की जनता और सेना के बीच फूट डालने की कोशिश करते हैं, कभी हिन्दू-मुस्लिम के बीच नफ़रत का बीज बोने की कोशिश करते हैं.
लेकिन सुनयना ये सिर्फ खेल का हिस्सा है ये ऐसे ही है जैसे माँ भारती की संतानें आपस में लड़ पड़ती हैं उनकी गोद में बैठकर सबसे अधिक प्यार पाने के लिए…
कभी माँ उस बच्चे को गले लगा लेती है जो वास्तव में उससे प्यार करता है, तो कभी उस बच्चे को भी गले लगा लेती है जो थोड़ा-सा शरारती है, तो उस बच्चे को भी अपने प्यार से वंचित नहीं करती जो थोड़ा सा भटक गया है…
लेकिन इस पुण्यभूमि पर कोई त्वचा के रंग का भेदभाव कर एक-दूसरे के खून के प्यासे नहीं हो जाते, एक-दो किस्सों को छोड़ दें जो किसी विदेशी षडयंत्र के तहत घटित हुए लेकिन हम सामान्यत: बहुत सहिष्णु लोग हैं… हमारा दिल बहुत बड़ा है..
सुनयना, आपने इतिहास तो पढ़ा ही होगा तो आप जानती ही होंगी कि कैसे गांधीजी को ‘कुली’ कहते हुए उस पराई धरती पर अपमान सहन करना पड़ा, लेकिन हमारे देश में लोगों ने उन्हें महात्मा बनाकर पूजा.
आपको यह भी मालूम होगा कि कैसे मोदीजी को उस पराई धरती ने वीज़ा देने से मना कर दिया था और आज वही मोदी जी विदेशों में भी सबके आदर्श बने हुए हैं…
तो चाहे गांधीजी हो या मोदी जी… देश ने इन दो शख्सियतों के बीच जो यात्रा की है.. उस यात्रा का गौर से अध्ययन करेंगी तो आप पाएंगी कि मेहनत, लगन और अपने सनातनी आदर्शों के बल पर उन्होंने यह सम्मान अर्जित किया है…
सुनयना, जो हो चुका उसे ‘अनकिया’ (Undo) तो नहीं किया जा सकता लेकिन मैं, आप से और विदेश की पराई धरती पर रहने वालों से हाथ जोड़कर यही अपील करूंगी… पैसे, ओहदे की कुछ दिनों की चमक के पीछे अपनी माँ को छोड़कर मत जाओ.
विदेश जाओ, खूब पैसा कमाओ, अपने देश का खूब नाम रोशन करो लेकिन फिर लौटकर वापस अपने घर आ जाओ… माँ संतानों की आपस की लड़ाई तो सुलझा सकती है, लेकिन जब कोई संतान किसी पराई धरती पर इस तरह मृत्यु को प्राप्त होती है तो सच में सुनयना उसके ह्रदय की पीड़ा कोई नहीं समझ सकता…
कभी मिलोगी तो बताऊंगी… इस भारत माँ के आँचल में सुरक्षित रह सकूं इसलिए मैंने अपनी जन्म देने वाली माँ को बहुत तकलीफ दी है… लेकिन मेरी उस जन्म-देने वाली माँ की दुआएं ही हैं जो मैं माँ भारती की सेवा कर पा रही हूँ. यदि मैं भी उन दिनों उनके कहने पर विवाह करके विदेश चली गयी होती तो शायद तुम्हारी तरह…
सुनयना… आ जाओ लौटकर माँ भारती के सुरक्षित आँचल में.. आजा उम्र बहुत है छोटी, अपने घर में भी है रोटी..
– माँ जीवन शैफाली
सुनयना का फेसबुक पोस्ट नीचे दिया गया है-
This is my first official blog post on Facebook, and it is with a heavy heart that I am writing these words. On the dreadful night of Wednesday February 22nd 2017, I lost my husband — my soul mate — my friend and my confidante Srinu Kuchibhotla. He was a source of inspiration, a support system not just to me but to any and all he got to know. He always had a smile for every one, respected all especially his elders. We met in August 2006 through common friends then connected on an online portal called Orkut – not a usual face to face introduction- and started liking each other instantly. He was so charming that I could not resist.
I am the baby of my house, being the youngest with two elder sisters. I grew up to be a carefree child. It was Srinivas who gave me the courage to pursue my dream of coming to the USA and studying, which made me the person I am today — an independent, self-sufficient and strong woman. I started working only recently, May 2016. He’d played a major role in me attaining a job, always encouraging and working with me though my disappointments, especially as I was starting back again after 4 years of a career break.
His passion was to constantly innovate in the the aviation industry. Here in America, he commenced is his career at Rockwell Collins, and he worked On Flight Control System especially on Primary Flight Control Computer that would change the way flights work with improved performances. He dedicated his life to this development. There were days he used to come home to have only dinner and leave for work again – only return around 2 or 3 in the morning. He was very happy at Rockwell and liked living in a small town like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. But we decided to move from there to a bigger city so that I could get a job and be able to pursue my dreams, as he was able to do for himself. Kansas was our instant choice, and we moved here with a lot of dreams. We built our dream home, which he painted, and installed the garage door. Doing any kind of work on his home gave him immense joy. This was the home that he had built to – for us and any kids we would have- was our first step to starting our family. It’s so unfortunate that this dream of ours is now shattered. All of this, because of one person, who did not think of the impact his deed would have on the victim’s family. When police came to our house that night and gave me the news of my husband’s life being taken away by a random shooter, I could not believe their words, it was so surreal. I asked them repeatedly, “Are you sure?”, “Are you telling the truth?”, “Did you see the man you are talking about?”, “Can you show me a picture to identify?”, “Is the man that you are talking about 6’ 2’’?” They were just nodding their heads saying yes. With no family here in Kansas and his brother in Dallas, my immediate reaction was to call his brother. When I called him to say what the police had just told me, he thought I was joking.
My friends were by my side and did not leave me for even a second. Friends drove from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Minnesota, and St. Louis. Many flew from Denver, California, and New Jersey to say a final goodbye to their beloved and dearest friend, who was always only kind to them. Both his aunts from NJ and NY came to take care of me and him.
He would have turned 33 on March 9th, and we were planning to fly to NJ for his cousin’s engagement. He was excited and eagerly waiting for the event, and we had plans to shop this past weekend for the trip. Things turned out differently, I was on my way to India with him in a coffin.
We got married after 6 years of close friendship, and it was not an easy process. He had to convince not only his parents but also mine. He met my family multiple times to convince them that he was capable and suitable for their beloved daughter. He answered all their questions with a smile on his face. His charm was such that he instantly became one of the members of my family and became their favorite son-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle. It is still unbelievable that he is not here.
He found happiness in simple things. One of his most favorite pastimes was watching TV, which he watched with so much passion and intensity. His favorite shows lately were Person of Interest and Indian Idol. He was a family man and liked to eat home-cooked meals. Every night, I used to pack lunch for him and myself. He used to hate packing for himself and used to give me the funniest explanations for not doing so. He would say, “If I pack my lunch, I would know what I would eat later on. But if you pack it, I will have that surprise element.” If anyone gave him a heartful meal, he would bless that person by saying, “Anna datha sukkhi bhava” (a saying in Telugu that translates to, “You made my heart happy with the food, so may God bless you”). This was something many of his friends picked up from him.
He really enjoyed Arnab Goswami during his lunch at work and was eagerly waiting for him to come on.
He loved kids and was an instant favorite of any kid. We were planning to expand our own family and had had a doctor’s appointment just a few weeks ago. One of the last thoughts that he shared with me were “Nani (his nickname for me), we need to save money if we have to end up going for in-vitro to conceive.” I am writing this as it sinks in to me that this dream of ours is now shattered. I really wish we had a child of our own in whom I could at least see Srinivas and make him like Srinu.
He always cared about what was happening around him, and he was very proud of Mr. Narendra Modi ji and India. He was sure that India had finally found the leader that could make India shine. This might seem unreal, but I know because there wasn’t a day that ended without him watching the news or reading multiple newspapers before going to bed.
Srinu was the epitome of optimism. That was his motto. I remember asking him why he’d chosen to pursue digital signal processing and electrical engineering for his master’s degree. He said, “I scored less in that subject in Bachelors of Technology and wanted to explore why I received a lower score.” That was his optimism.
He was really happy to see Sushma Swaraj as the external affairs minister — such a brave and courageous woman, and how quick she reacted for those in need. He must have never thought that he would be one among them one day. But knowing my Srinu, he would have felt very proud of you for helping us and his family in crisis. Thanks again, Madam. I wish I could meet both you and Mr. Modi ji and share his joy posthumously.
He was always worried about immigration and its laws. He followed them very closely over the internet. There were days when he used to talk about how it’s been quite a few years since we applied for our permanent residency card, and he didn’t know how much longer we have to wait for it. He used to say having one would give him the chance to explore even more his passion for the aviation industry. He very closely monitored the H4 EAD rule and did whatever he could do in his capacity for the rule to be passed – not just for me, but for every woman and for those who deserve a career and a chance to fulfill their dreams. He was filled with joy when the rule passed and was so happy that he said, “Nani, now you can work. It is not that we need the money, but it’s so that you can follow your own dreams and make your parents proud.”
His father had a very low-income job, and Srinivas was the middle son of three sons. There wasn’t a day that went by without him mentioning how hard his father worked to make his sons the way they are today, and that he would have to do a lot for his parents. I’m sure, Srinu, that you made them proud, and I wish you didn’t have to leave us. He was a loving brother to both his siblings, especially the younger one, whom he treated like his own son more than a brother. He was elated when the youngest got married back in November 2015.
From what I know or heard from his parents, himself, and his brothers, all three brothers were very naughty. I remember him saying that when the three started to laugh, they would be panicked that in next 5 minutes there would be a fight and something would be broken in the house. As their father was very strict and always wanted them to focus on education, he would always be pushing them to study and many a time would have to run after them to make them sit for their studies. The youngest and eldest always managed to escape first, and Srinu, would always stay behind and get the scolding of all three brothers.
As I mentioned in the press meet, whenever there was an incident involving someone dying, both of us got worried, and I many times spoke my heart to him. We came here to achieve and fulfill our dreams. He always assured me that if we think good, be good, then good will happen to us and that we will be safe. He used to hug me tightly and sleep giving me this assurance. Srinu, now that I have gotten used to that warm hug, I might not be able to sleep. That was the only place in the world that I could sleep without any worries or tensions.
I was able to see random acts of kindness at the Kansas City airport when people recognized me and hugged me. I met a dermatologist who said I changed the purpose of her life. Maybe that was the first win during this fight to spread to love.
I think I can just keep writing and finish a book, but that still isn’t enough to talk about you or the love that you spread around. I’m still trying to digest the fact that in one evening I became a widow from a wife.
Srinu, my love, I don’t know how I’ll be able to fill the void I now have created in my life, but I promise you I’ll never let you down. It is so funny that you were my editor for any important email I had written, but now, for the first time, I am having to do it myself.
I LOVE YOU, AND YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE MINE.
I wish that you had come home when I asked you to have tea. I have many unanswered questions, and I wish you would answer them, but the only way I could get those answers now is by coming to you and your new home on the other side. I don’t know when that day will come.
My sincere thanks to each one of those who are helping us cope with this loss. I thank, Garmin and its employees, for conducting the vigil and allowing me to speak and share my Srinivas with you all.
Thanks to Mr. Cliff Pemble, the CEO of Garmin, for speaking such kind words about my husband and his contribution to Garmin. I can’t express my happiness that you came to my home to pay your last respects to him, held my hand, and went all around the house hearing his stories. This shows me how important he was to the company. Also, Didier, Dave, Phil, Patrick, Garmin Legal Team, HR Team, and to all those sitting in the auditorium during the vigil, thanks a lot for your support.
Thanks to Mr. Frank, CEO of Intouch Solutions, for assuring me that I can take however long and still come back and continue my job. Thanks for coming home and delivering the message personally. Thanks to Katema, David, and every employee of Intouch Solutions, who came to console me and gave me the same assurance.
Thanks to the Mayor for your kind words, giving us the assurance, and making a personal visit to the house. Also, thank you for making sure we received the privacy we asked for. I was told by Congressmen Yoder and Senator Moran that you were trying to reach out to me. Thanks a lot for your concern and for working on my immigration status. This is my Srinu’s dream, and it is the least I could do for my Srinivas – fulfill his dreams through my eyes – and it is for this I have to come back to the USA.
Thanks to the Detectives and District Attorney Steve for working hard on this case and finding the culprit. I know you will make sure justice is served.
Thanks to the medical team that worked on Srinu and tried hard to revive him back. I truly wish that your efforts had succeeded and he was with us today.
I do not have words to express my gratitude towards Mr. Ian Grillot for what you have done. Thanks for having the courage and trying in whatever way possible to save my husband. When I am back in Olathe, I would like to meet you personally. You and your act of kindness will help me survive and still have the faith in love and spreading love and not hate. I hope you get well soon.
Thanks to all those communities that have come forward and have been praying for Srinivas’s soul and his family’s well being.
Thanks to the funeral home for being so considerate and obliging to our request of sending him to his house, the house that he had built with so many dreams. I have the good luck charm that you gave me. Thank you.
Thanks to the media and press for agreeing to not disturb us and for respecting our privacy. Thanks again, and keep up your good work. A special mention to Ms. Rajini Vaidyanathan
Thanks to people like Satya Nadella and Kamala Harris for supporting through your tweets. It means a lot to us. My sincere request to Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, and many others to keep advocating your support for human rights. We need to spread love and stop this hatred. Today, it’s an employee of Garmin, tomorrow, it could be one of your employees, and I don’t want anyone to go through what my family and household went through.
Thanks to the Consular General Officers who expedited the process.
Thanks to the government of Telangana for giving us the assurance that his remains will be taken to his house without any problem, and we request the media in India to be considerate of our privacy.
Mr. Amitabh Bachchan sir, there wasn’t a party that ended without us dancing to your songs. Our friends used to fondly call us Amitabh and Jaya because my husband is 6’2’’ and I am 5 feet. My husband used to say that our kids should be as tall as Abhishek and Shweta. Shah Rukh Khan sir, he was a huge fan of yours, and he made sure we watched your latest movie, Raees. I need all your support to pass this strong message of spreading love and giving confidence to every foreign national that their fight will be listened to.
I will now ask same question — On what basis we decide a person is good or bad, and of course, it’s not based on the color of your skin. So what decides that? Many times, these issues are talked about for a few weeks and people tend to forget about them afterward, but the fight must go on towards eradicating hatred from the minds of people. So what is the government going to do to stop hate crime?
Lastly, to answer the question that is in every immigrant’s mind, DO WE BELONG HERE?
Is this the same country we dreamed of and is it still secure to raise our families and children here?