In a small room hidden in a corner of Deri Skaner village, Sudeeksha Bhati’s five siblings spoke about how their lives will lose meaning with their eldest sister gone. As electricity in the room kept fluctuating, her sister Swati (17) said, “If she was in this room now, she would light it up.”
On Tuesday, 19-year-old Sudeeksha was killed when she fell off a bike and sustained head injuries.
She had scored 98% in her class XII boards and was the first person from the village to go abroad — she received a scholarship to study Entrepreneurship at Babson College, Massachusetts, and left for the US in 2018. She had returned to her village on March 13.
Their mother Geeta Bhati (40) said, “Sudeeksha would take care of her siblings, even from so far away. She would call and help them with studies. They are all in government schools now, their education depended on her.”
While Sudeeksha was a rising star for the village, for her siblings, she was their guiding light. Her younger brother, Yashraj (11), said, “She would study late into the night. She also made timetables for us.”
At the end of the week, she would gather her siblings around and show them movies and shows. The family does not own a TV so she would play movies via Netflix or Hotstar on her phone.
Her sister Aanchal (16) said, “We would watch Gilmore Girls. Sometimes, she would show us Harry Potter and the boys would enjoy that a lot. This was also her way of ensuring that our English is strong.”
In her graduation speech at VidyaGyan School, Sudeeksha had spoken about how many children, especially girls, are unable to continue their education and said she hoped to change this. “I am excited to learn what the future has in store for me. The only thing I’m certain of is that one day I will return to my country and I hope to at least change the face of my village and my community…”
Thanking her parents for allowing her to study and move out of the village, she had also said: “I belong to a community in Uttar Pradesh where most girls drop out after completing their primary education because cases of eve-teasing are prevalent. Most parents don’t think it is safe to send their girls out to study.”
Aditya Dalal (19), Sudeeksha’s friend, said, “She was very serious about her SAT preparations, and excelled in whatever subject she took… We kept in touch after we went to different colleges. She was not only a bright student, but a very kind and helpful person.”
Her family said she was keen on pursuing business but also wanted to return home and ensure less privileged kids have access to good education.
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