10 May 1948 – 14 September 1998
Subject: Love Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 19:43:04 +1000 (EET) Dear Bob,Love is the most important thing in life, isn’t it? The last few days have given me lot of cause to contemplate and meditate, given me reason to appreciate the meaning of true love and the importance of friends and family, made me appreciate even more what Kamalini means to me, and how much good friends like you have enriched my life.
As you know, I am no expert on religion, but I believe that stressing the importance of love is probably Christ’s greatest contribution to humanity. Something that is also shared by the Sufi tradition in Islam and the Bhakti tradition in Hinduism. (Talking about the commonality between Hinduism and Christianity, when the Portuguese first came to India, they thought that India was a Christian country, they based this belief on the very popular statues of Krishna on Mother Yashoda’s lap — they thought that those were representations of Jesus on Mother Mary’s lap.)
Hearing about how Hazel took her last breath in your arms, knowing that she was truly loved, has made me think and think. I want to die in Kamalini’s loving arms, but I also realise how selfish this desire is - - my mother passed away in my father’s arms, but my father was left all alone. When I think about this, my heart goes out to you, Bob.
There is a very famous Hindi film "Aanand" (literally, "Joy") about a man facing certain death with enormous courage and great humour. Reminds me so much of Hazel. I am trying to get a subtitled copy of that film for you.
My abiding memory of Hazel is of her fabulous sense of humour, even though she was very ill, when Kamalini and I met her. She was cracking jokes, even bawdy ones — she was your wife, after all! She even laughed at my really poor jokes — and hey, anyone who can laugh at my jokes being that ill deserves a gold medal!
And that’s how we remember her — a golden lady.
In celebration of a wonderful life, go in peace, lovely Hazel,
Rajeev is a colleague to whom I’m indebted for the videotape of Hazel’s funeral.