My elder brother, Shamim Akhtar was very intelligent right from his childhood. From his childhood he was very obedient and during our primary school days he sometimes even used to pluck flowers from our garden for his class teachers. Some guys actually used to greet their class teachers with flower and used to say “Good morning Mam!” He was not only very good at academics but also in all other extracurricular activities. Still today our showcase is filled with all the prizes he won right from his childhood. He was well known in our hometown, Bongaigaon for his quiz talent. He was also a good debater and very good at drawing as well and won hell lot of prizes. My parents were really proud to have a son like him.
Now my elder brother was 3 years elder to me. Most of my neighbors, teachers, relatives and may be even my parents had similar kind of expectation from me too. One can understand the kind of embarrassment I had to go through my childhood. Although I never had any kind of competition with him, may be because competition should be among the same level. But to be honest I was never competitive and never had any competition with any one in my life.
Initially we studied at a private school popularly known as Menon School. When my brother was at class 9, my father admitted him to KV BRPL. My father had a transferable job, so he thought it would be better if we study in Kendriya Vidlayala(KV). After one year I was also admitted to KV BRPL. By the time I joined, my brother already had a very good reputation out there. On my first day at KV, teachers used to ask me my name. When I replied “I am Jahid Akhtar”, some of the teachers asked “You know Shamim Akhtar? He is studying in class 10” I replied “Yes, he is my elder brother”. On my reply they used to say “Oh! You are Shamim’s brother.” It seems they already assumed that I am also like my brother. It’s a different story that within a month I proved their assumption to be wrong.
My brother did his mechanical engineering from REC kurukshetra, now NIT kurukshetra. When he took admission in engineering, I was at my early class 10th. We didn't have a very friendly kind of relation that time. He and his friends used to treat me like a child. After he took admission he used to come home yearly once during vacation. I was going through my late adolescence that time and as we haven’t interact much so some kind of friendly relation didn't develop between us yet.
When I was at 2nd semester in Assam Engineering College (AEC), my elder brother was working for “Daewoo Motors” in Noida. After my 2nd semester exams I thought of visiting him and he booked tickets for me. He was there to receive me at the old Delhi railway station. He was staying in an apartment in Noida with 5 of his friends. It was weekend that day, so everyone was at home. After we all had a heavy lunch, everyone lighted a cigarette including my brother. It was so tempting and I was looking for an opportunity to go outside for a smoke. It was summer time and my brother and one of his friends were sitting on the floor. Others, including me were sitting on the bed. Suddenly one of his friends asked me “Do You smoke?” I didn't know what to say that time. I was shy and said “no I don’t smoke regularly but I had few times though”. That was exactly the same reply I used to give during my ragging days. His friend gave me his cigarette and told me “have a puff” I was not sure what to do? I simply took the cigarette and had a long puff. I thought as if that was the only puff I could have. Everyone sitting on the bed started to laugh and the guy said “you have this cigarette; I will light a new one”. Few of them started to tease my brother “Shamim, watch your brother, how he is smoking?” I was so shy that time and my brother also felt shy as he never responded on their teasing and didn't look back either.
On the evening that day my brother took me out. He purchased a wallet for me as my wallet was at a very pathetic condition. That was the time when KFC came to India for the first time and he was very much interested to take me to a KFC. After having delicious KFC chicken with coke we came out and my brother lighted a cigarette. This time also it was very tempting for me. My brother was asking me about my college, my studies. We were simply walking and all of a sudden after having half of his cigarette he casually gave it to me as said “have it”. It happened so suddenly that I never got any time to react and I simply took the cigarette from his hand and puffed it. From that day onward we used to smoke together, although now days we both reduced a lot.