Remembering Asha

Asha Dhanraj-Ramdhan.
Childhood friend, playfellow, classmate.
Living four houses down from mine, we spent the early growing years walking, talking, eating chow and other similar important things. Those idyllic hours spent in the river, baking in the golden sun, and cooling off in a splash are gems that twinkle in the light of time. What a good swimmer you were, a water baby. When the grass was cut in the dry season, from “our” section of the river near Seeta’s house we could look downstream and see you if you chanced to be there.

You were so beautiful, yet so unspoiled by it. Looks did not change the kindness of heart or who you hung out with. One of our teachers nicknamed you Baby Doll. I called you Blue Eyes, based on the bluish hue the white of your eyes took on in your light complexioned face, contrasting against translucent brown pupils. The group of us (you, Seeta, Margaret, Minnoutie and I) would walk to school, and back, on the joy-filled hilly roads of Small Trace. You were shy and didn’t claim the spotlight, yet you’d be the one to suggest we “stone down a mango” and was very skilled at that task. Skilled at so many things in the domestic and outdoors. Your strong arm made you good at cricket and sports in general.

You were always beautifully dressed, a result of two of your older sisters being seamstresses, but mainly because you were so attractive and had a great figure. You’d looked good in a rice bag if you wore one.

After high school sent us separate ways, you spent more time with Seeta. I caught up intermittently as occasions and timetable permitted. You once hosted a party for your birthday which I attended, and was awed to learn you had cooked the food by yourself. A true servant heart. So hospitable and kind.

Accent perfume was the new rage when you got married, and our gift to you was a lavish set. You knew us so well that you predicted we’d bring a gift of scent. Yet the bottled fragrance faded in the glory of you gowned in white, your personality and womanliness exuding only what your Maker could create. My sister, Marilyn, was the MC for your wedding.

You attended open air services with us, meetings at our house, and once our church showed a film in the yard of your family home which had the hugest yard in the neighbourhood. As usual, there was a call for salvation at the end. I know that when you invited Jesus into your heart in your early years, your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. That day you belonged to Jesus and have since belonged, and now you are in His presence.

When your cousin, Mala, and I got to know each other in A’Levels, our relationship rekindled. We lost touch after our paths took us to separate locations on this glorious earth. A few times I visited Standard, but your home was elsewhere. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve caught up a bit over the last couple of years

Mother. Called this revered name by Tracy Ann, Stacy Ann and Shelly Ann. Young ladies I’ve never met but whose genes carry the kindness and grace of the friend of my elementary years. Grieve this day. Grieve your loss. Grieve the way you know best how to. Tomorrow and always, as often as you need. But live in such a way that you will be reunited in the appointed time.

Husband. Roy. Called by the one whose voice no more whispers his name, but his heart will everlastingly hear it. Grieve the wife of your youth and live in such a way that you will be reunited at the appointed time.

Daughter. Called this by Mrs. Dhanraj, “Tanty”, now in her very senior years and whose pain is unfathomable.

Sister. Called this by Shamella, Usha, Molly, Shiann, Sandra, Dolly, Golly, Samdaye, Shawn, Sookdeo, Persad, Deodath and Russell. Grieve your loss. The family gatherings will never be the same but I urge you to live in such a way that you will be reunited at the appointed time.

Aunt. Called by Kimberly, Kelly Ann, Lisa, Mukesh, Brian, Barry, Indira, and scores of nieces and nephews whom I do not know. Make the time count. Revisit the memories and laugh. Grieve, and be thankful for the years you shared, and live in such a way that you will be reunited at the appointed time.

Neighbours, friends, acquaintances, all tottering by the void of a world with Asha-no-more – may you find peace in the face of mortality.

May Jesus be the comfort of all, the hope for the days ahead, and the promise for seeing in eternity the one you love so dearly. Rest in heavenly peace, Asha.

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