« Dr S. Ramgoolam » was scribbled on the folded paper that Sushy fished out from the pigeonhole at the department of medicine, university of Sheffield, in June 1986. It was the handwriting of Jane, a secretary at the Registry – faithful to her word that she would try to have a peek at the examination results. “Congrats to the new doctor! When do we celebrate – with the big slice of the cheese cake you’ll be putting in the oven for your dad?”
She slumped into a chair, all emptied out, exhausted – the culmination of her efforts, her dream. It had not even crossed her mind to think of an alternative career. She rushed off to bed, into oblivion, but not without a silent mumbling of the Gayatri mantra. She was shaken out of her slumber by her boyfriend who pressed for an answer, and she finally said yes to Bruno, the glass engineer from Portugal, who had been bowled over by her performance of Kathak dance.
The joke was that the pioneering Portuguese navigators Diaz, Vasco da Gama and Pereira did not find any woman in Cirne Island, but the wait of five centuries was worthwhile for their reward was Sushama. The wedding of 1989 gave her two sons, Jaime and Ricardo, who liked to see Mum bustling about in her Carcavellos clinic.
It was not hard for her to keep body and soul together but fate will have its own way – a cancer removed the soul to the cosmic cycle leaving the body to be cremated in Lisbon in 2003.
Her ashes have been confined to the waters – at her favourite Guincho beach, near her home in Cascais, at Haridwar, Varanasi, Triveni and at her birth place, Curepipe. Her brother Shailen’s twins, Ilina and Yohann, call out “Phuphu” on coming across her photograph.
Hers was a short and sweet life, leaving fond remembrances all round. Thousands like her, unknown, anonymous and routine-bound help us to live pleasant and peaceful lives; they can rest assured of our grateful appreciation.
* Published in print edition on 3 February 2012