It recently occurred to me that with all this traveling I’ve been doing, I’ve had to say good bye to so many places and wonderful people who I’ve met on my journey or to the lovely friends and relatives I left behind at home. Each time I leave, I never know if or when I will ever see someone again or ever return to the same place, as my future is still a great big mystery to me. Alas one person that I never got the chance to say farewell to was Shiribai Bandali, my paternal grandmother, or Dadima as I called her in my native dialect of Kutchi, who sadly passed away unexpectedly after catching pneumonia while I was in Argentina.
As I spent much of my early childhood in India I don’t recall seeing very much of my dadima while I was growing up, and we didn’t have a particularly close relationship, however, when I returned to England I do have some very fond memories of spending my summer holidays at her home in London, along with my cousins as well as aunts and uncles at the huge family gatherings. She was a really great cook and she always spoilt us whenever we visited. Like many Kutchi women of her generation, she always struck me as a very strong matriarch, who went through some particularly difficult times. As if raising 10 children wasn’t difficult enough, after having immigrated to Uganda from Kutch in Gujarat (Western India), she then had to immigrate again to England with her entire family in the early 70s when all the Ugandan Indians were ousted from Uganda by Ida Amin. They weren’t allowed to take very much with them and I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to rebuild a new life in a new country, with a new language and culture, as well as to bring up her children, some of whom were still of school age at the time. In order to make some extra money, she also used to sell delicious Samosas as well as other Indian delicacies from home, in huge quantities.
Following my rushed return from Argentina to attend her funeral to pay my last respects, which I barely made in the nick of time, I was particularly exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I needed some time to recover from my ‘Tango adventures’ and never got around to publishing my final post: Dancing in Buenos Aires, and so I think its only fitting that I say farewell by dedicating this final post on Argentina to my Dadima, pictured here with my little brother, Faizal, on his 8th birthday, wearing a simple cotton long dress with her sweater, which she always wore indoors, which is how I will always remember her. May she rest in peace.
Thank YOUs !
Just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to all you lovely people for your encouragement and for supporting this little fundraising project. I am astounded at how generous people have been in so many ways, and I’m not just referring to my dear family/friends, but complete strangers. Aside from the financial donations, people very kindly invited me into their homes, fed me, as well as provided emotional support through some very difficult times. I would especially like to thank all the lovely ‘healers’ who worked so hard to minimise the impact of my back injuries including Yves Lenfant, Kiko Aguilera Alvarez and Deidre Nepa Black.
Thank you also to the journalists Kieran Davey from The Oxford Mail; The Banbury Guardian, as well as the glamorous Lisa Simmons from Horton Radio station for covering this small story.
Last but not least, a BIG ‘Thank you’ to the Tango Aurora Oxford Group and my dear friend Leroy Tangocat, for all his support and for facilitating Tango classes for people of all abilities by making them truly inclusive, and of course my own dear mother, who as always is supportive of all my crazy ideas. You are an inspiration to us all !
So, I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading my blogs as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Thanks to your encouragement, to date this little blog has received 853 visitors from 36 countries all around the world, and I don’t know that many people, so thank you for spreading the word.
Following the recent Parkinson’s Benefit Milonga, arranged for Parkinson’s Awareness week by the Tango Aurora Oxford Group , the amount raised by the ‘Oxford Tango Project’ for Parkinson’s UK has now risen to a grand total of £2237.40, and that’s without including £251.25 promised in Gift Aid, which has completely exceeded my expectations.
For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to donate yet, but wish to do so, all you have to do is simply click on the link below: All major cards/currencies are accepted 😉
Hasta luego amigos, until our next Tango journey. Next destination: India 😉