The classic family portrait. Bombay, 1942. Quite a few such pictures of various families. In this one, Grandpa, Grandma, Dad (on the high stool) and his two sisters. The Madras aunty on the left, the eldest sister - who passed away in her teens - on the right.
For the last 10 years of her life she stayed with her doctor daughter in Madras. She passed away a few years ago at 96. As always very physically active till the end. Everyday she would wake up early in the morning, bathe and wash her clothes herself, have a coffee and read the newspaper. Sometime during the day, she would have a glass of ice cold Coca Cola. The brand didn't matter - it had to be ice cold though. In the afternoon she would take a nap. On the last day, nothing changed except she didn't wake up after her nap. I used to meet her in Madras often when she was around. While parting she would hug and kiss generously. As if each parting might be the last. I did her last rites in Tiruneli, Wayanad. Dipping in and out of the cold water hoping she will be at peace. Curiously feeling at peace myself.
There was always a quiet dignity about her. She lived and died without making a fuss. To me she was this old lady. Always in white. Till I saw this photograph. She's young. She's not in white. And she's in peep - toes!