Indra’s eldest sister shares her thoughts
She was the second arrival in our large family of ten. She was born in Singapore. I recall our parents were enamoured by her arrival and I remember my mother was very excited about her because of her lovely curly hair and her beautiful smile. It was just after Indra’s birth that Jawaharlal Nehru visited Singapore with his daughter Indira and that gave my parents the inspiration for calling her Indra.
My mother always said I was a very greedy baby, so they had to buy extra Cow & Gate to feed me. Indra was a placid and calm child and my maternal grandfather used to have a special fondness for her because she resembled his side of the family!! As siblings we had our rivalry, but at all times we got back together. Her lovely, warm smile always won over everyone.
Her early life was at school in Singapore and then after the war we arrived in Sri Lanka. She then finished her schooling and entered the University of Ceylon to do a Biology Degree. Following this she then took a degree in Accountancy. She was a steady and hard worker but with a kind heart and always wanting to help others.
Not only was she a wonderful mother and sister she was good at cooking and running the home. She was an early riser, off to daily mass and in fact more or less the first person to be at church opening the doors. She helped me always with our Christmas cake, even if I made the cake, I would take it to her place, she would do the icing. The cutting and paper wrapping were all done in a very precise manner, no short cuts, no one was allowed to lick the bowl, every bit was used precisely.
She always had high standards and looked for the best. In London she would love to visit Harrods. She was always there at the sales and probably bought enough gifts to give to all of us throughout the year for our birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. Her kindness and winsome smile won many friends and her neighbours used to love her because she was always distributing cards and gifts to them throughout the year.
In the last couple of years, her health became a problem and getting around was difficult as she had to abandon the use of her car. This affected her a lot. She was a daily mass attender, but with her health problems affecting her in many ways, she had to cut down on all of this. It must have broken her heart, not to attend daily mass, or visit the hairdresser regularly and the many other little things she so enjoyed so much through her earlier life.
The only consolation is that she did not suffer too long. My lasting memory will be when we visited her in hospital when I stroked her hair and gently called her, she opened her eyes, focused on me, and looked into my eyes. I was not sure whether she recognised me, but I saw a little tear in the corner of her eye. The last visit was a difficult one for me. I only could whisper to her, wave goodbye – the good Lord, our Lady of Perpetual Succour would find her a wonderful place with them.
She deserves that and more. She was a sister, a friend, a confidant and more. In my emotional state I find it difficult to add any more. She was a sister in a million.
May she rest in peace.
Teresa Joseph (Indra's oldest sibling)
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