By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine
You were born in Paramaribo, Surinam. Your mom Chand walked all the way to the hospital to bring you into the world. You made your entrance on a sunny day in Paramaribo, Surinam. You were a rose that brought joy to many hearts. Your first words were ‘da da’ as you beckoned your father to your side. Your smile was infectious; it could be seen in the distance as you set the aperture to capture another precious memory. You took us along in your zest for life and we are the richer for it. Each frame from your camera unfolded layers of boundless imagination. It produced style and charm that will keep your name as fresh as the morning glory.
The say the gardener picks the most beautiful flowers first. In the thirty-six years of your life you touched many hearts. You were a teacher in Surinam and many of your students achieved great heights. But you didn’t stop there. You cared for them and would spend time finding out about their welfare. There are numerous pages in social media praising you as a wonderful role model that made a difference in the lives of others. While you were waiting to join your family in New York you bought a camera; like a hand in a glove the fit was perfect. Your pictures showed a spiritual connection with the world.
The Lord had his own plans for you and in 2016 you came to New York to join your family. Your dad Pandit Ishwar, your mom Chand and brother Ranjeef, welcomed you as you adjusted to your new home. You were a quick learner and soon you began to visit temples and outdoor events with camera in hand. But it was your smile that lit up the world and drew people to you.
You were a fixture at the book fairs, parades and festivals and at events in the temples. You willingly gave your services without expecting anything in return. It is in this giving that you found peace and happiness. Your pictures at the Phagwah Parade captured the multitude of colors and the effervescence of spring. At the Book Fair you featured the dedication of our children as they depicted the joys of literature.
But you reserved a special place for the divine Mother. You were to be found on Liberty Avenue, the boulevard of immigrant dreams. The lens of your camera brought Mother Lakshmi in her glory to the wider world at the Diwali Motorcade. Our last meeting was at the United Madrassi Day Parade. It was a wonderful sunny day and you stood in reverence in the presence of Mother Kali as she entered the park.
It was also the time when you moved from behind the camera and allowed yourself to be photographed. It revealed your devotion and respect for the diversity around us. The fever tore into your body but you braved the illness and promised your friend Geeta Mohan to meet with her. You even attended appointments to join the public school system, the day before you left us.
But the Lord knows best. Sunset came and you are now in heaven. Aminta Kilawan Narine calls you a beautiful soul. Pandits Basant Goolsaran and Ravi Maharaj say that we must continue your legacy. Vijay Ramjattan says that your contribution will never be forgotten. Mala Dasrat praised your parents for their dedication while Balram Rambrich says that your memory will live on in the community. Pandit Chunelall Narine sees you as a pure soul that gave of yourself to others. Bhai Vickram Deonarine remembers you as a bundle of joy.
Your brother Ranjeef says you were lively, smiling, cheerful and positive and that you expected nothing in return. For your mom Chand, you were a pleasant and beautiful person and your dad Pandit Ishwar thanks the Lord for the many wonderful moments that you both shared together. As the end came, you looked at your mom and told her how much you loved her. A little later, you spoke for the last time. You left as you came with the words ‘da da.’
Farewell, Princess of Paramaribo.