Mamaji’s Letters

Chandigarh, India circa 1960
A few years ago, I got a wonderful gift from one of Mamaji’s oldest friends, Gloria. She had saved a packet of letters Mamaji had written her. While there were only about 20 letters, I was able to get a glimpse of Mamaji’s personality. In this photo, my sister Hannah and I have not yet been born, but I love the expressions on my older siblings’ faces—Miriam, Eb, Emmanuel and Deborah. I think everyone wonders what their mothers tell their own friends about their lives and these letters gave me that perspective. I loved how she described her life with all of us to her friend Gloria:

“Gloria, I had to stop writing here for a moment, as your Piggy Wiggy [nickname for David] bit Debbie and I had to bring him here and make him stand in punishment—he is crying as hard as he can—He still remembers you and a sweet brightness comes in his eyes when I talk of you to him.”

“Gloria all the children are here and it’s quite noisy. How I wait for the time it’s all quiet. We hear the same records and think of you. Yesterday they put on ‘Dil Deke Dekko’—Eb danced!! All the zoo is here, except their trainer Gloria Sylvester Cat!! I think of our Mussoorie days often.”

“I am sending you some of the pictures we took at David’s birthday party. The children all are growing fast. They have to study very hard these days. Miriam is getting serious about it now but Eb is still non-serious. Debbie and Emmanuel are doing all right though they could do a lot better. Your David is alright.”

“Gloria I remember when I had a tooth-ache in 4-C and how you use to bring tea and coffee to me. I used to imitate Dr. Prasad….Yes—those where happy days! I’m thankful to God for them and pray for more. Remember Gloria those summer nights we all slept on the roof and winter days sitting in the sun and listening to records and when we all walked in Mussoorie, getting wet in the rain.’

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