“The first runner-up is Saksham Mehra.” After reaching this far and missing the trophy by a whisker would have upset anyone, but not Saksham, this was the most important moment in his life. This was the first time in his 26 years of life where he completely owned the moment and was not overshadowed by his sister Deepali.
Saksham was four years younger than Deepali and ever since he could remember she was the doting elder sister. But she was also the achieving child, every parent longed to have. Saksham looked up to his elder sister and longed to follow in her footsteps but life had other plans. While Deepali was the proverbial all-rounder, Saksham was only above average. The laurels that he did achieve seemed to pale in front of Deepali. Soon, Saksham was pushed into the shadows of Deepali. The younger brother who once adored her now despised her with each passing day. His name felt like the biggest misnomer, he felt anything but capable (Saksham).
There came the time for the big decision and Saksham knew this was his big opportunity to break out of the shadow of his popular and accomplished elder sister. He announced he planned to study Home Science and continue his higher studies in culinary arts. All hell broke loose at home with this announcement. His parents could not fathom the idea that their son wanted to spend the rest of his life working in the kitchen. “Your sister is aiming at a career in genetic engineering, if not such a complex choice of career at least choose something half as decent or respectable” his father admonished.
“Why Papa, what is indecent about being a professional chef. Good food is what all of us crave, but when I choose to do that professionally you call it demeaning work. Why this hypocrisy? What joy do you find in pushing me further into didi’s shadows? You want to ensure I remain there?” Saksham stormed off with this response, but his parents were left shocked. They had never realized that their son had this much bitterness lodged in his heart towards his sister. But they still could not bring themselves to agree to their son’s choice of career.
The journey had not been easy for Saksham. Though he had a passion for cooking and food, he soon realized this passion alone was not sufficient for building a career in culinary arts. Added to this was his staggering level of confidence, which was at an all-time low, having been buried in the shadow of Deepali’s success over all these years. But what could not break him only made him more determined.
Today as he picked up the runner-up trophy at the Super Chef finale, he held it out to the world. Saksham had emerged from the shadows and claimed his share of success, which was his alone. He had proved to himself; he was truly “Saksham’.
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