A Treasure Chest of Memories

–Raji (Subramanian)

We are yet to reconcile with Raju’s sudden passing away. Mother and all of us are shocked to face the fact that he is no more, we miss him very much.

I would remember Raju for two events in our lives. Shifting from Calcutta to Delhi, when Raju was also posted in Delhi, brought us closer in Green Park Extension. When my father was taken ill and hospitalized in Safdarjung Hospital, Raju was with us through and through. When my father passed away suddenly we were all left numb and shocked. Raju was there to share our grief. It is a pity that we are not able to be with you and Kaushik in similar situation and share your sorrow. The void left behind will be hard to fill and I realise how shocked you must be to part from your loved one. We extend our sincere sympathies to you, Kaushik and Naira. Mother even today recalls the time when she was suddenly operated upon for an ovarian cyst at Malar Hospital and Raju hastened to convey the news to Prem (as we did not have a telephone then) at the unearthly hour of midnight, driving all the way to Gurgaon. Raju always went out of the way to share and help people in trouble.

Even today we recall with fondness the bond that we shared as a family. As I open my treasure chest of past memories I recall the happier days we spent on our short vacation in Valavanur when Nagaraja mama was alive. Our trip to Pondicherry, the sandy beaches, the Aurobindo Ashram and the coffee ice cream on a hot summer day was a perfect round up of a delightful holiday. Again when Raju successfully passed his I.A.&A.S exams and we cousins badgered him for a treat, he sportingly took all of us for a movie and lunch at Woodlands. Even today I recall those happy days when all of us shared the simple pleasures and fun of get-togethers where the bonds and relationship of families existed. In today’s fast moving world I wonder if cousins know each others’ names!

Raju was free and outspoken, expressing whatever he felt. When Nagaraja mama was seriously ill and undergoing treatment at Mehta Nursing home in Alwarpet, our Bheemanna Garden street flat was only a few furlongs away. Mother had requested him to come over for lunch from the nursing home. Mother had taken care to prepare his favourite food. Though he was in a worried frame of mind he spontaneously appreciated what was served, eating with relish and exclaiming “How do you remember that I like ‘Kothavarkai Vattal’ after so many years?” Simple gestures and pleasures excited him and his response was spontaneous.

Raji I know it is hard to bear his absence, I pray to God to give you strength and fortitude to face the future. Look back at all the happy moments you shared as a family and cherish them in your album of memories Take care of yourself. Keep in touch when you can. Mother, Neela and Padma extend their regards to you all.

Yours affly, Raji.

[Raji (Raji Subramanian) is a first cousin of Sunder’s–their mothers are sisters. Meena Periamma and her daughters Raji, Neelu and Paddu, and son Prem, were extremely fond of Sunder, and he reciprocated their affection fully. Sunder’s closeness to all his aunts and his affection for and pride in his cousins was very much part of his family ethic. As the eldestgrandson he took it upon himself to keep in touch with the extended family].