My paternal grandmother Kumudini Dasgupta was a special woman. I did not really know her well nor did I make an effort to get to know her well while she was alive. I always found her to be distant and a bit of a critical snob. She was a dispassionate looking woman, who maintained her widowhood by wearing stark white saree , kept her hair short, eat only boiled food or really bland food without any onion, garlic or even much spices. All of these were as per the rotten and inhuman customs for Bengali widows, which she and others believed in (or so I thought). She died at 96 years and I wonder, how did she live for that long, with that diet? Anyway, to come back to talk about Kumudini (it means white lotus or moon) … she indeed was a remarkable woman … which I realised rather late, almost 43 years after her death.
What I am going to write today is something I have never attempted before, not even in my personal diary. It came up in a conversation this morning with my partner who suggested that I should write about my experience of my mother’s death. He believes that something significant is locked there. Hence this attempt to unlock. My mother was only 29 years old when she died. I lost her when I was three years old. In fact, she celebrated my third birthday in August of 1961 by buying me red shoes (I remember because a friend in the building asked me to stand on top of cinders on the same day and I could not wear my lovely red shoes on my birthday), and I remember her crying about my burnt feet. She passed away three months later in November, on the same day. She died suddenly, unprepared, trying to have an abortion all by herself because she did