May 25, 2020

Indrani Park

One of the scariest things about living miles away from home is that call or text to tell you that someone you loved won’t be there the next time you make your visit home. When it happens to people around you – you send that message of condolence, and in case of someone you care about, you may actually spend a few minutes thinking about their loss. But nothing prepares you for when you’re on the receiving end.

I got such a text a few days ago. My Mashi, who was only 68, had quietly left us all.

For a woman who was anything but quiet all her life, this came as a shocker. To her sons living in Dubai and unable to travel due to coronavirus related travel restrictions, to her best friend and sister living 20 kilometres away but not able to find a way to get to her owing to the havoc of cyclone Amphan, to me – sitting at my makeshift work station, many oceans away.

Over time I’ve been trying to process the news and remember her. I don’t have a first memory of her, but what I do know is how she made me feel all the years I had the privilege of knowing her. In a family that often commented on my pigmented teenage skin, or perpetual puppy poundage, she was a fierce, protective matriarch always keeping me safe and making sure I felt loved.

And her ways of love were manifold.

The best saree from her home-run business.
The malpoa from the sweet shop around the corner from her house.
The calls, when I lived all by myself in Pune and Delhi.
The ‘good morning’ messages with a purple flower because she remembered it was my favourite colour.
The elaborate party plans when we visited Kolkata during the summer holidays – bringing the whole family together.

I know I am not alone in thinking of her generosity. Anyone whose life she touched, felt that warmth.

I don’t think I will ever forget the resounding boom of her voice as soon as I entered that Indrani Park flat. It will be maddening to step into that house without her bustling around in it, shouting orders and checking to see if everyone was comfortable and well-fed.

As always, when I find myself at a loss of words, I go back to Harry Potter. Ms. Rowling wrote best what I feel now:

“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?”

We cannot be certain of many things in this mad world, but I am so sure that a little bit of my Mashi is alive in all of us who loved her and we will find her while looking for strength to overcome the grief of this loss.

Comments

4 thoughts on “Indrani Park

  1. Beautifully written Priyam, thanks for this, will treasure it forever . Really appreciate the time and effort you have taken to time to create this wonderful article for Ma.

    Nothing can be more comforting for our broken hearts.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

  2. It is very hard to believe I lost my best friend. You had called in the morning. I tried calling you back but couldn’t reach you. Then just 5 hours later I got the worst news imaginable. I wish we could have spoken one last time. I’ll always remember our golden memories starting from childhood up until now. You will always be in my heart and forever missed. Rest In Peace Neelam.

  3. What wonderful thought you have penned down! Had she been able to read this, she would be the happiest to know of your love for her. She was the greatest of all humans on this face of earth. Many think twice to help a loved one, but she, she was from a different planet altogether. She didn’t think twice before lending her generous hand to anyone, be it a family member, a stranger, or even her domestic help. Her love was so full that she was full as a human being and that is why I believe God needed her more than us. Afterall, he too needs good people like her around for sometime. Now that is gone, all I can say is, I hope I had done more, said more, been with her more. But alas! we all got so busy in our humdrums of our life that we didn’t find the time. Let this be a lesson to all of us never to take any loved one for granted again. She was a precious treasure for all of us. May she find peace on the other side. Hope to see her soon and her smiling face, her ever welcoming arms on the other side of this world. Till then, bua enjoy your time with Mimi, Dadaji, Dennis and Blacky. They were craving to get in touch with you. Love and hugs, today and forever! ❤️

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