In his Preface, Mr.Sundaram writes ‘ My beloved wife Padma passed away suddenly late in the night on October 2011. A great light—indeed, a celestial light —that shone so brightly and so resplendently for more than Forty One years went out of my life that terrible night, leaving me in a state of forlorn and desolate lonliness.’
‘For nearly more than 5 months from that date of that grim personal tragedy , my endeavour to carry on intimate spiritual conversations with the departed soul every day has resulted in these ‘Elegies on Padma.’
I would like the reader to know this post of mine is not a book review in the strictest sense because book reviews are objective and also critical. I can’t but begin this piece on a very personal note when I happened to meet Mr.Sundaram and Padma at a function of a common friend. I still remember when she was introduced to me, she greeted me with a whole hearted childlike smile which captivated me no end. Subsequently I met the couple a few times at their residence and on one such occasion knowing my fondness for a good cup of coffee, Padma offered it in a tall mug and I noticed the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee permeated the whole room. Blowing away the froth lightly I went on sipping the hot beverage even as we were conversing on topics of mutual interest.
I always invited Padma for Haldi Kumkum at my place on the occasion of Vara MahaLakshmi Puja and she made it a point to attend the function and it was a pleasure to see Mr.Sundaram accompanying her. My husband and I literally seized the opportunity to enrich ourselves with the vast knowledge he had and the spontaneous literary quotations that flowed left us spellbound and breathless! Padma never spoke much but listened to her husband with rapt attention as we did. Therefore I found it strange when Padma came alone in August 2011 and appeared to be in a tearing hurry to return home immediately after receiving the ‘tamboolam.’ She said Mr.Sundaram was unable to accompany her as he was slightly indisposed and she had to go back home to take care of him. Little did I know that I would be meeting Padma for the LAST time.
The table of contents include a Prologue composed by Ajith Ranganathan, endearing and immensely moving elegies by Sundaram and extremely touching messages from close friends of the couple .
I t would be apt to quote Alfred Lord Tennyson in my conclusion though with a slight variation : ‘—For Men may come and Men may go, but Padma and her childlike smile will be etched in our memories for ever.’
n.meera raghavendra rao