Heartfelt condolences to Namita, Ranjan, Neha and Respected Shri Atalji.
‘Mataji’ is no more. And there is a void not only at 6A Krishna Menon Marg, the residence of Shraddheya Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi, but also in my own life. There is a void, indeed, in the lives of all those who worked closely with Shri Atalji and received her motherly care and affection.
Shrimati Rajkumari Kaul, mother of Shri Atalji’s adopted daughter Namita, became ‘Mataji’ to me ever since I started working with Shri Atalji. Working with him meant, for me, visiting his home regularly — first at Raisina Road, then at Safdarjung Road and, when Shri Atalji became Prime Minister for the second time in 1998, at 3 Race Course Road. It also meant, invariably, being asked by Matatji: “Have you eaten? If you haven’t, then don’t go without eating.”
She would also ask: “How is everyone at home? How is Kamaxi? What is Tapas studying?”
Mataji would treat all the visitors to Shri Atalji’s home like this.
Her face itself was motherly, and so was her heart. Like Shri Atalji, she was a personification of kindness. She would speak in the same sweet manner even with servants in the household. And she would always look after their wellbeing — and the wellbeing of members of their families — as if all of them belonged her own family.
For her, anyone who served Shri Atalji in any capacity was special. It was if they they were serving not a person, but a bigger national and social cause.
She had no interest in politics of the usual kind. But she cared deeply for the nation and society.
That is how Shri Atalji’s household was. The only word I can think of to describe it is ‘CULTURED’. In a quintessential Indian sense of the term.
The more I interacted with Mataji, the more I realised that she was cultured in a very profound and multi-dimensional sense. She had a deep interest in and broad knowledge of music. She was very well read. She loved literature. She would often comment on something I wrote.
In Shri Atalji’s PMO, she was closest to Ashok Saikia, who had known Shri Atalji long before he became Prime Minister. Ashok’s untimely death in 2007 filled her — and everyone else in the household — with shock and immense grief.
Mataji was bed-ridden in the last years of her life. Her face had acquired more creases than before. Nevertheless, her eyes shone with undimmed love and care for all those who cared for Shri Atalji.
Those eyes closed forever on Saturday.
Words are inadequate to convey my condolences to Namita, her husband Ranjan, their loving daughter Neha, and to Shraddheya Shri Atalji.
The language of grief and gratitude, like the language of prayer, is silence.
In silence, I pray, along with my wife Kamaxi and our daughter Tapas, for a kind person who has left this world.
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