This is from about 1953 in Bombay, two years before I arrived in the family, with Tunu (Sucheta) holding the teddy-bear and Buju (Suchandra) looking sober and responsible on my mother’s left. There seems to be a radio in the background as well as a small bust of the poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Tunu lived August 12 1947 until January 26 1990. This is how I recall her last, c. 1988, after she had lost one breast to cancer and suffered other tragedies.
She, seven years older than me, was really my first teacher, telling my infant mind about the world it found itself in even before I ended up at Lady Evelyn’s kindergarten in Ottawa. There will be more of her here in due course — building a snowman together in the Canadian snows and other escapades. I wept much, far away in Honolulu, when she died in Calcutta aged 42. She would have been a happy grandmother today, enjoying her three grandchildren:
Buju lived February 14 1943 until January 10 1998. She was 12 years older than me and loved me dearly and I wept much at her tragic passing — she had no children and I cremated her with the full honours that she might have received had she left a son.
I shall write more of her in time. Meanwhile, I remain grateful for Nana Mouskouri’s rendition of Amazing Grace as there is an uncanny resemblance.
December twenty years ago is when I last saw Tunu, having returned from Honolulu to say what we knew was our last goodbye; December twelve years ago was when I last saw Buju. “The wise grieve not for those who live or for those who die, for life and death shall pass away, and I and thou and those kings of men, shall live for ever and ever” advises the Bhagavad Gita as I recall; but perhaps the advice is wrong since the wise like the unwise do grieve and should.
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