Zarin Rahman: Inspired by My Mother & Little Sister

Zarin Rahman is a senior student at Harvard University studying Neuroscience. She is originally from South Dakota. This story and photograph was produced by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist currently based in NYC.


My mother has been the kindest to me in my life.

There are certain questions we are all asked in our lives that makes us think about what we want to answer, and after careful thought and deliberation, we come up with an answer. Other questions are effortless to answer, as we know there is only one right answer, and it comes to our minds immediately.

This is one of those questions. My mother has done everything for me, and beyond, from the moment I was conceived, to now, at 20 years old. From raising me and taking care of me in the most fundamental of sense, to offering me advice, love, wisdom, and friendship along the way. She has helped with my inadequacies and failures, my confusion and my wrongdoings, with so much patience and love, and has always wanted the best for me.

There is no human being in the world in my short life thus far who has been as kind, compassionate, and caring as her, and I will forever be graced by her presence in my life.

Fortunately, Alhamdulillah, I have had many moments that have bestowed happiness upon me. One moment that comes to mind often is June 28, 2000. I remember the specific date because it was the day that my little sister was born. For nine months, I had been anxiously waiting for this moment, when all my dreams and anticipatory stories my parents told me would come true, the moment when I would become a big sister.

As my baby sister was brought into the room by the nurses and delivered into my mother’s arms, I remember giggling from joy as I saw her little face poke out from her blankets. I was so happy to finally meet my soon-to-be best friend. I felt so proud, especially after spending the entire day being babysat by a family friend who had an only-child. She was in the room right next to me, so jealous.

This moment was photographed. My heart still bursts with joy when I see this photograph, to look into the eyes of my four-year-old self and see the excitement and wonder, to look into the eyes of my baby sister and see someone who would love and care for me as much as I love and care for her. To see the birth of a lifelong friendship.

Only true and genuine happiness can ensue from that.

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