In the early pictures , she is solemn , sulky even , shrinking perhaps from the more glamorous looks of her older sister or the two brothers , one older , the other a little younger but petted , being then , the youngest . Two more that lived were to follow . The expression remained the same persisting through time - worried , anxious and solemn , a sign of the pressures brought on by looking after a family when her father died . Her mother , delicate and coddled with her nose forever in books ,was not much good at budgeting and shopping and much less at managing mischievious five and seven year olds .
In times of stress and trouble her three brothers turned to Mili for advice , often having to face the wrath of their wives .Despite this , her sisters in law loved her .I know my mother did . She was our support when my father died .It was she who gave me emotional support when I was alone in Calcutta and it was she who met Ashis first when we were going steady .
In all her activities related to her family she was joined by and supported by her husband - a student of Freud and Jung , who was the sweetest , most lovable person I ever knew their love for my father and his family being unconditional .
She was tall and elegant with a long patrician nose , a clear skin,long artistic fingers and a superb sense of style that we tried to emulate .
In later years , after her husband's death ,she was to emigrate to Canada which she had left reluctantly in the late 60s . Later ,she had Alzheimer's disease following a stroke which left her semi paralysed . Often she would strugle to get up and put on her trainers to go the Park next to her house because her husband was waiting for her there .
In moments of lucidity she would remember her family. Her voice once firm and authoritative was quavering and high pitched , ghostly even.She would ask after my mother now gone for the last 9 years .
To speak to her was emotionally unnerving because this was not the person I said goodbye to when she left excitedly for Canada in the early 90s . She died in late December 2009 , going peacefully with her daughter beside her , in the hospital .
With her went the last of Sushama's brood - the stormy Shefali doomed to die very young , Amala who was to die in a lunatic asylum because she was psychotic and it was dangerous to keep her in the house , Mukul, my father, ravaged by disease dying at a ridiculously young age , Bulbul the eldest who followed my father soon after , dying of cancer , Prabhat the glamorous and handsome brother we rarely saw , also dying of cancer and last of all Kamala , the bulwark against all adversities true to herself , dying last .