It is time again to celebrate the memory of a dear departed soul. Exactly four years ago on 5th Januray 2013, Prabha my wife of forty years was snatched away by the dreaded crab disease at a very young age. She was only 61. She was a multi talented person who started blossoming in life after the age of 40. Apart from being a wonderful housewife and a good mother she was interested in music, gardening. She was also active in social work. Above all she had created an identity for herself as an accomplished writer of stories in Tamil with two books of short stories to her credit. Though I was a dutiful husband for the first half of our married life it was in the second half that I truly fell in love with her. I had a ringside view of her evolution from a shy, introverted individual with low self esteem into a confident individual willing to take on any challenge coming her way and excelling in many fields of activities she was involved in. She was a keen learner and a good sport. She became the dream girl that I wanted to marry. I was really proud of her.
When she passed away many well meaning friends consoled me telling me that time is a great healer and that I will soon learn to forget and live without her. Living without her had become a reality but I decided not to forget her but celebrate her memory by undertaking activities which will keep her memory alive every moment of my life. Apart from the decision to have my own space in running the home she loved so much, I started Prabha Rajan Talent Foundation (PRTF) to undertake activities to encourage women in the creative art of writing and also support talented girls in their creative pursuits.
PRTF which started four years ago has been encouraging talented women by conducting writing contests in association with leading Tamil magazines like Managayar Malar, Kalaimagal & Ladies Special and sponsoring books by budding women Tamil writers, published by Manimekalai Prasuram a leading publishing house based in Chennai. It has also been supporting young girls by sponsoring their school fees and offering them talent scholarships to pursue creative courses of their choice. Another PRTF project is the sponsorship of a Bala Gurukul in Prabha`s name managed by the Bombay based India Development Foundation at the Corporation school in Damodarapuram, Adyar. The residents of the school are mostly street children who are given special tuitions in the evenings by qualified teachers under the programme.
This year PRTF decided to have a special programme to celebrate her memory. The function held on 31st December at Tag Centre and started with my 15 year old granddaughter (and daughter of my second daughter Sowmya & Srinivasan), Uthara performing an hour of scintillating Carnatic music. The delighted audience had no doubts that the child will go places in the world of music.
This was followed by screening of two short films based on Prabha`s short stories which PRTF had commissioned. The first film was a 10 minute film based on a short story titled Nalu Parukkaikaha (For a Morsel of food), with an all women cast and directed by young Shruthy Murthy, who passed out of Loyola college with a degree in Viscom last year. The second was a 45 minute film based on a novella (long story) titled ` Thayumanaval` the title story from Prabha`s second book, was directed by experienced filmmaker Rajeshwari Anand; a Gold Medallist from Film Institute in Chennai and an old associate of Anugrah Madison Advertising. Both the films were brilliantly executed by the two talented women. I sincerely hope the films will help them realize their dream of getting an entry into the feature film industry in a big way. The audience simply loved both the films. It is a pity that Prabha was not there to see characters from her two stories coming alive on the screen.
The grand finale for the evening was the distribution of prizes to winners of a novella contest in Tamil conducted by the popular women centric Tamil monthly called “Ladies Special”.
Though I am continuing to live with Prabha in my virtual world, I do miss her physical presence. I miss her admonishing me for the things I did or didn`t do, miss the shouting matches that we used to have on silly issues, miss the enthusiasm and energy she displayed during festival days. Most important of all I miss her presence in the bed room where I could take for granted the minute to minute care that only a life partner can provide when one is unwell . However the projects that I am involved with in her memory through PRTF help me continue to celebrate life, trying to spread happiness around to the best of my abilities- Hope that keeps my dear Prabha`s soul happy!