She was born about ninety two years ago, when the world was a very different place. Her father (my maternal grandfather) was perhaps one of the richest men in India, and the man she married was the son of one of Pakistan's richest men. But the last five years of her life were spent in bed, which makes me wonder why I should pray for a very long life, as one becomes bedridden and useless in old age.

She died yesterday, and even though she lived only thirty minutes away from my house, I hadn't visited her in more than a year, due to the lock down and having been confined indoors most of the time. Her life was a tragedy, with one son dying two years back after suffering severe burn injuries in 1978 when a drum containing super hot liquid chemical exploded and almost killed him. Before that, his wife had divorced him as he had at the last minute cancelled their trip to Canada, where they had planned to live for the rest of their lives. Her other son suddenly married a Malaysian woman (for "business purpose", as he told everyone, this being the condition in that country for opening doing business there). Of course, he wouldn't have ever succeeded in any business, having lived a luxurious life living on rent and never getting up before eleven. His father and uncles were similarly without ambition, always looking for loopholes to make more money and being duped by con men. 

I remember his father  (my "khaloo") reproaching me for not taking kickbacks, as (in his words), "Contractors routinely declare to income tax authorities that they pay commissions to engineers". But a couple of years before his death ten years ago, he told me, "You were right not to run after money".

So now my last link to that huge bungalow on Queen's Road has snapped. She was the last surviving sibling of my late mother (who died in 2005), and now that she's gone, I won't have anyone to tell me of my family's history.