The rising sun on the 5th of November will break open the three hundred and sixtieth day we wake up without the early Morning hustle and bustle of Auntie Manel organising the world around her. On a typical morning the land line will be ringing off the hook; instructions on the day’s meal plan will be rolled out whilst waiting for her mobile to connect to an elusive trader she was tracking down for a charity project, simultaneously signing cheques and letters all at the same time. By the time we woke up she was well into her day that started around 4 am.
To quote my husband, her son “Ammi simply got things done”. She was kind, loyal, generous, compassionate, stubborn, fiery and tenacious. If you were ever in her day’s path, it was like getting caught up in a whirlpool of activity and you will always get roped in to play a part. She was always a woman on a mission and with a deadline.
The world knew her as Lion Lady Mrs. Manel Watawala who spearheaded significant charity projects, but out of the limelight she was far greater in her generosity. She didn’t need to personally know you to turn up at your hospital bedside with a flask of soup, or to call all the doctors in her phone book to get you the best help. She has never turned down a plea for help of any sort.
Her drawer is full of insurance policies taken in all our names, not because we needed the cover, but to help the insurance salesman meet their monthly sales targets.
Auntie Manel was the brightest of stars, who lived her life shining a light on the needs and plight of others. She spent her every waking moment trying to make their world a little bit better. I have spent many quiet moments with her since her diagnosis, yet never once have I heard her feel sorry for herself. Her only concern was for those she would leave behind and the projects she wouldn’t get to finish.
To us, to me she was and always will be “Ammi” and “Achchi”, who left us in no doubt that we were her world in so many ways that words simply cannot describe.
The cruelty of the pandemic kept us apart, and we are all broken that we could not say “Good bye”. We yearn for the day we can return and hug the pillow she slept on, to caress the clothes she wore or to sit in her favourite chair just to feel her loving presence, but we are also terrified of waking up to the stillness of the mornings without her .
Yet, we will face the empty days, we will fill the silence with the memory of your laughter and your voice in our ear urging us of things that need done.
We will live our days celebrating your life with pride and Wonder.
We love you and miss you.
Until we meet again, rest in peace and sleep tight sweet princess.
Nicky Ahamat Watawala