My dearest Shakun
Your departure from this material world left all those who are dear to you and those who knew you shaken beyond belief. It is with a sense of shock and great grief that the news of your demise was received. Though you battled a cruel illness with resilience, as Mitradev our doctor brother stated in the eulogy on the day of your funeral, the inevitable happened as it would happen to all of us one day and even to those who feel they would stay in this material world eternally.
Your fearless ability to speak your mind in any situation and to anybody was the hallmark of your strong personality. This unique quality of yours was a source of fear and at the same time generated admiration from many who knew or did not know you. Your life has been one of many accomplishments in various fields, literary, social, educational and political. At the same time your departure means also a life of unfinished business as you had so many projects in the pipeline. But you should have no regret.
Your life was cut short but your time with us you touched so many people. The many tributes that we have received from your former students and colleagues as well as the tributes I have received from friends and colleagues from all over the world bear strong testimony to your life’s achievements and the admiration people had for you. You have been an ardent and a passionate lover of the French language and French literature as evidenced by what your literary colleagues, your former students and your own personal writings amply prove.
I dedicate to you this extract from one of my favourite poems, ‘Intimations of immortality from recollections of early childhood’ by William Wordsworth:
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
The radiance of your presence is gone. The splendour that you always imbued us with is no more. But the memory of all that you left behind will help us not to grieve and find strength in the enduring legacy of laughter, seriousness, writings and more that you have left us with.
Goodye my dear little sweet sister and thank you for having been one of us. May you now rest in eternal peace and bliss.
* Published in print edition on 27 April 2018