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My Tribute to a Selfless Lady


In our lives, we sometimes meet someone who touches our hearts in a special way. Bujji, short for Bua Ji was one such person. She was a middle aged lady who was my neighbour in a Government colony.

Right after my marriage, I settled into my small but cozy Government flat. I had moved to Delhi from Kolkata and found it very strange to have neighbours staying so close. We lived in a big house in Kolkata with grounds and gardens so the neighbours were not near and we had nothing much to do with them. Here, I found everyone gathering in Bujji's ground floor flat's small garden, in the evenings for a cup of tea.

She had planted a Guava tree in one corner and though small, it already gave some shade. A cot was placed under it and all the nearby neighbours gathered there for a tęte-ŕ-tęte. At first, for nearly a year, I was too shy to communicate with her. I simply used to enjoy watching the goings-on, on the ground floor but never actually went and met Bujji and her family. After about a year and a half, our friendship took ground and I started talking to Bujji mostly hanging from my verandah. Slowly but surely, our friendship bloomed and during pregnancy and after, I found in this wonderful lady a pillar of strength and vitality. She had become my mother as well as mother in law rolled into one. She took care of my daughters and supervised their ear piercing ceremony and accompanied me to the nearby nursery school for their admission. During festivals, she helped me make goodies and took me to meet the neighbours, especially on Holi and Diwali.

My daughter had a special bond with her and used to love playing in her garden. She enjoyed eating sarson ka saag and roti with Bujji. Whenever my husband was out of town, we had our lunch and dinner with her. Bujji taught me how to live life without worries or expectations. She had a love for life which was magical. A simple occasion used to become special under her supervision. Anyone visitng me, specially my mother, always got royal treatment at Bujji's place. She used to prepare my mom's favourite dish - Makki ki Roti and Sarson Ka Saag and loved coming and chatting while my mom ate it with relish.

On many occasions, during the afternoons, I used to hang from my verandah hoping to chat with her. On seeing her lying down, reading a book or magazine, I did not disturb her but simply enjoyed watching her serene and calm face. I felt very restful and happy to see that she was near me to call whenever I wanted.


Bujji was a strong lady who believed that nothing was impossible. She loved doing things for others as well as for her small family of three. However big a problem, she always had a solution. She had the capability to stop arguments and fights between people in a calm and cool manner. She was always ready to take my daughters to their school bus stop nearby whenever I was unwell. She was a real friend in need who was a friend indeed. All the neighbour's kids used to play in her garden. I learnt many new ways of life with her as my tutor, guide and philosopher. I literally could cook nothing at first but she taught me quite a few dishes and under her supervision, I began cooking.

All I needed was her approval to prove to myself that I had cooked well. She made mouth watering Alu Tikkis and Samosas. 

Bujji believed in humility and had no ego problems whatsoever. She used to dress in simple clothes and believed that happiness comes through give and take of the heart and not of cash and kind. She was a simple person at heart and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. Bujji and her husband, both were humble souls who hated show of any kind. Now that Bujji is no more, I've realised that whatever she did for me and my family was unique and beautiful. As far as I remember, I cannot recall anyone so selfless, loving, kind, gentle and compassionate as Mrs. Srivastava was, whom we all knew as our darling Bujji.

Contributing Writer: Amita enjoys writing about her experiences as well as short stories for children and poems. Contact her at : 

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