"hello, its me dada (elder brother) speaking."
"ahh, how are you?"
"well i have some bad news. Chua Deeda passed away last night."
"how did it happen?"
"you know that her health wasn't keeping good of late. and she passed away in her sleep last night."
"so it wasn't painful, right?"
"i don't think so."
"well, i'll tell dad when he gets back from work."
"yes do that, and i'll call back later as well."
"she was 95 years old you know."
"i know that dad was her favourite nephew and i was her favourite grandson. she once gave me a gold coin when i was a kid."
"yes, that too."
"we've always called her Chua Deeda, but did you know that her real name was Satadal?"
"no. what does that mean?"
"the 100 petal lotus."
'Satadal Vasini Samanta' (1911-2006)
from the elder daughter of the Manna-Mandal's and my grandmother's elder sister to a young bride of the Samanta's and then widowhood at an age inconceivable to us in today' times and having to leave one's own house & living with her sister; my great aunt lived a life dedicated to her religion and her 'dharma' as a widow. it was a hard life, as was any widow's in the India of old. nevertheless she never ceased to love others...her's a story that encompasses time, its the story of my family. its not something that i am proud of, but then there are always some things that one is not proud of when your family history is spread over 500 years. i have no idea on how to make my readers feel the way i do and understand the powerful emotions that they invoke in me? i cannot and i shall not even try to.
life is funny, and then its tragic. but then it's the way that one lives it that defines it.
some people live it with dignity and character that is rarely seen and that then becomes the definition of life.
Chua Deeda, you "little Gopal" will miss you. always.