Our grandma Kalyani

Our grandmother Kalyani Kutty Nair moved on, on 26th September 2018, at the ripe old age of 98. Today, as per Malayalee tradition, the final ceremonies were completed and we hope that her soul rests peacefully.

Grandma was one of the most open minded old ladies one would ever meet, standing apart from others of her generation. Mom tells me that way back, in the 1950s-60s when Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth II) was forbidden from marrying Group Captain Peter Townstead, grandma was one of the most upset people in Richmond Town. “She couldn’t even marry whom she wanted to”, she would say. As a mother, her sentiments were echoed by her actions. She was accepting of those her children chose to marry, reassuring them that they were always welcome back if the situation arose. Years later, grandma and grandpa had the opportunity to help a relative by conducting his marriage when the parents refused to accept the alliance.

Kalyani Kutty young
Many many years ago

Mrs Nair, as she was known, would qualify as one of the old timers of Richmond Town having resided there in the 1940s-1970s (on Leonard Lane-Serpentine Street, Richmond Road, Langford Road) before moving to Domlur in the 1980s, and then back to Richmond Town (Rose Lane in 2004) and Yelahanka. Till a couple of years ago, she would recall events and stories of the neighbourhood that were recorded in her mind.

On life, she was quite practical. When grandpa passed away at the age of 96, she felt it was a merciful release. “This machine has to stop sometime, she would sometimes say.” Indeed. Her tenacious heart would have beaten about a whopping 412,40,00,000 times before finally giving way. Her soul lives on in this lovely Badminton Ball tree she planted at Puttenahalli Lake on her 90th birthday 8 years ago. (Read about it here.)

   Planting, 19th Sep 2010

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Grandma’s Badminton Ball Tree, Sep 2018

She will be dearly missed by the 8 of us cousins – Ajith, Meena, Ajay, Pradeep, Sunitha, Nagesh, Nandan, Arathi, and her 4 children Leela Gautam, Rukmani Manay, Ramani Nair, Bala Nair and 11 great-grand children.

Gma obit

Remembering Mrs Neela Katary

It was with much sadness that I learnt of the passing of Mrs Katary in Bangalore on 28th April. Our family was on vacation and on 27th April I received a message from a school friend, in which she mentioned that Mrs Katary and her husband were in  road accident and that she was critically injured. It was so unfortunate that she did not pull through.

Mrs Katary was a teacher at Baldwin Girls’ High School for many years.  In Std VI (1981-82) she was my class teacher and taught Home Science. This was the year that I was elected by my classmates to be the Class President (one of the class prefects), so my interaction with her was frequent. Kind at heart, yet strict, she was an excellent teacher and very approachable. Home Science was a fun subject with most topics covered with life experiences. As with most of our teachers, she was always impeccably dressed, with a dab of makeup and jewellery coordinated to match her sarees. If memory is right, before we finished Std X, Mrs Katary left Baldwins and moved to the Gulf.

Neela Chandrashekar, as my mom (Rukmani) called Mrs Katary, was known to her several years earlier. They joined Baldwins at the same time, in 1966, and there was a picture taken for the school records. With the passing of Mrs Katary, mom says she is the only one in the picture still alive.

new staff of BGHS 1966
New staff of BGHS, 1966

L-R: Doreen Davis (office staff), Neela Chandrashekar (teacher), Helen Swamidass (teacher), Rukmani Nair (teacher), Barbara Webster (games teacher)

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