The passing away of a beautiful woman.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Catherine Lama, who always wore a red rose in her hair and who lived on a Delhi pavement, died in June 2016. There was no certainty about her age, though she looked elderly and was called ‘mother’ by the area’s other homeless people.
Danny Baba, a beggar (see photo 1 below) who sheltered Ms Lama in his makeshift residence on Lodhi Road, told The Delhi Walla that she was unwell for a long time. He added that her feet had swelled excessively during her last days.
I first met Ms Lama in early 2016. She would talk in English to me and sometimes she would break into old Hindi film songs to convey a point. She was also featured on this blogsite’s ‘Mission Delhi’ series in which I’m profiling one percent of Delhi’s population. I’d written:
“… Ms Lama came to Delhi a long time ago from her home in the faraway hills of Darjeeling. “I was living with a Buddhist monk near the Nepal border… I took my last name from him… my….
“She looks irritated when I enquire about her parents. “Don’t ask about those who went away.” After a long pause, she says, “I live to love other people and then other people love me back.”
Danny Baba’s wife, Seeta, took care of the ailing Ms Lama by occasionally massaging her legs. When Ms Lama’s condition worsened, Danny Baba phoned her distant relative, who took her away in a white car. A few days later he learned of Mr Lama’s demise. He is unaware of Ms Lama’s funeral detail.
We’ll remember you
1. (Danny Baba outside Catherine Lama’s home)