R.I.P. SARABJIT KAUR: Kirkby 1959-1960

It is with extreme sadness that Iím informing the Kirkby fraternity of the demise of our dear Sarabjit.

This morning Lean Aing called me at 10.13 to convey this very sad news. She was informed by Amrit Kaur.

I contacted Amrit and was told that she received the news from Melbourne.

I called Sarabjitís daughter, Rina, in Melbourne, just before six this evening and spoke to her for about ten minutes.

Sarabjit actually passed away on Friday morning (6-4-12) in the hospital. Rina received the news from the hospital just after 8 in the morning. According to Rina, Sarabjit was mobile and could do her daily routine regularly but was suddenly taken ill and was hospitalised.

Lean Aing recalls that Sarabjit and she studied at the Ipoh convent. Amrit recalls attending Sarabjitís wedding in Singapore. She and Parasakthi drove to Singapore to attend the wedding.

In 2002, Rosalyn spent three days with Sarabjit and she did her best to comfort Sarabjit over the death of her son telling her ďthat the one we love will always live on in our hearts.Ē

On 4th August 2004 Sau San and her husband visited Sarabjit on that Wednesday afternoon. They had tea and they chatted for a while. Sau San gave Sarabjit a copy of the Penang Souvenir Programme.

In September 2004 Nagarajah visited Australia and stayed with Mimi and Chong Lay for a week. Nagarajah chatted with Sarabjit on the phone.

I remember her in college wearing her red cardigan in the company of Mohinder Kaur. Sometimes she used to wear a yellow dress with black dots. She was from Block 10. She belonged to the PE Option. She played netball and hockey.

She was a marvelous Indian dancer. She did the Anarkali dance for the Malayan Medley 1960. Those still holding on to the Panduan, Number Nine, December 1960, can see Sarabjit on page 12, captured in that classic, majestic pose while performing the Indian dance.

Sarabjitís close friends were aware that she has been ailing for some years now. She lost her only son in 1998 and that took a terrible toll on her well-being. He passed away two days after his 32nd birthday. That emotional loss must have hit her so hard that she shut off the outside world from her life. She was never the same since then.

To add to her pain and sorrow, she lost her husband 11 years later in 2009. It was a second blow to her troubled life. You can imagine how she suffered. Two important males in her life, all gone, just like that. That affected her emotionally and she never recovered from this trauma.

Soon after the Penang Kirkby Reunion in 2004, I rang up Sarabjit and had a long talk with her. She was indeed very happy to receive that call. Even then I could feel her sorrow in her soul and wrote to her. And I, in my own way, I tried to help her:

ďIím sorry that you are no longer in touch with your friends. This is not good for you. When you donít reach out to friends and keep in touch with them, you tend to become lonely; you end up as a recluse. That is not healthy. We need to have that occasional emotional support and rapport of some friends and relatives to give us that extra boost to life.

ďThis is what you should do. It is never too late. Keeping in touch with friends and writing letters now and then is also therapeutic and good for the soul. It helps you to come out of your lonely self; it releases you from your sad situation; it promotes a healthier lifestyle; it gives meaning to life and our existence.

ďYou donít have to write long letters. Even exchanging a few words will have a wonderful effect on you. I hope that I will receive those few words soon!Ē

I never received those few words. She never wrote any letters. She continued to suffer in silence and withdrew into her lonely world.

Death might rob us of the person we used to know but it cannot rob us of the memories of the person who was our dear friend.

Sarabjit used to be such a lovely and lively damsel in college Ė very vibrant, bubbly and energetic, chirpy and cheery, always smiling and playful. She made such an impression on all her friends with her friendliness. She was very beautiful and charming. I can go on describing her many qualities to no end. That was Sarabjit! Now, she is gone forever.

Sarabjitís funeral will be on Tuesday. I donít have the details at the moment.

Those of you wishing to get in touch with Sarabjitís daughter, Rina, can call her at

00613 5243 6441

or write to her at 37 Challambra Crescent, Highton, Geelong, Victoria 3216, Australia.

Yours in sorrow,

Rama

7 April 2012

With very warm regards,
RAMA