Imtiaz Ahmed / Guwahati
Veteran international athlete Tayabun Nisha has won a lot of medals and accolades for her sports, but nobody knew that this strong woman’s conscience is burdened with regret.
Tayabun Nisha has been looking out for her long-lost schoolmate, who, she thinks, she owes a debt and an apology too. Her prayers were recently answered when the septuagenarian former Athlete met her classmate Julekha at Sivasagar in eastern Assam.
Tayabun Nisha’s worry dated back to her early school days nearly six decades ago. Her classmate Julekha had lost a gold ring in the classroom of Dhailali School in Sivasagar town. Every one searched for the next couple of days, in vain.
Those days students were allotted the responsibility of cleaning the premises of the school. The responsibility was mostly undeertaken by students who lived in the vicinity or came to school to practice sports.
Tayabun Nisha and Julekha's school
As Tayabun Nisha had an interest in sports, she reached school early. After helping clean the premises she practiced the sport in the school playground. One such day, she was cleaning the classroom she found Julekha’s ring in one corner of the classroom.
She suddenly realized if she returned the ring to Julekha after so many days, she would be a suspect in everyone’s eyes. People might think she had stolen it and with this thought, she decided to keep it.
Nisha hailed from a farmer’s family, while Julekha’s father was a well-to-do government employee.
“After that, my father passed away, and our financial condition deteriorated. We had to sell household articles for survival. Finally one day the family had to sell Julekha’s gold ring too.
Tayabun Nisha handing over the envelop with token money for Julekha's ring
“It was only after I got a job in NF Railway in sports quota our financial condition improved gradually,” Nisha said.
“We moved on but, the thought of Julekha’s lost ring always haunted me. Ever since my family sold Julekha’s ring, I was worried about my fate on the Doomsday! I had resolved that the day I will be financially okay, I will admit to Jelukha about the ring and repay her its value.”
By the time Julekha got married and the two lost touch.
“Whenever I visited Sivasagar I would always be on the lookout for any clue to locate Julekha. I asked my younger sister, who lived in Sivasagar, to keep looking for Julekha. And it was my sister who found her at Kukurapohia in Sivasagar’s suburbs.
“My joy knew no bounds when I came to know about her. I called her up immediately and we decided to meet on my next visit to Sivasagar,” Nisha told Awaz-The Voice.
She admitted her fears that she could pass away without meeting Julekha and then would have to pay for her wrongdoing.
Tayabun Nisha in her gymnasium
Tayabun Nisha finally dropped in at Julekha’s residence last week for an emotional reunion of two long-lost friends. “We shared our stories, had sumptuous meals together, and chatted for a long time before I asked her, ‘Do you remember losing a ring in school?’ … She initially said she doesn’t remember it anymore.
“I tried to remind her- it was diamond-shaped. And it was only after a while she recalled it. I told her about my predicament and the long search for her. I told her that I was there to repay a token amount as the value of the ring. Julekha refused to accept it, but I insisted and forcefully handed her the packet,” Nisha said.
“Now, I feel relieved. My conscience is clear. Nowadays, I talk with Julekha almost every day,” she added.
Julekha also told newspersons in Sivasagar that she was overwhelmed by the warmth and honesty of Tayabun Nisha. “I was quite surprised to receive Tayabun at my residence… I said she doesn’t have to pay me for something which I even forgot. But, she insisted and forced me that I should accept it,” Julekha said.
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Nisha, who has superannuated as a senior official from NF Railway, has been running a fitness gym at her residence in Guwahati. She is also associated with various charities.