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What have you Lost? What have you Found?

By 01/02/2016writing
National Book Development Council of Singapore led a group of Singapore authors to represent the country at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2016 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi! These authors are: Conoor Kripalani, Damyanti Biswas, Nur-el-Hudaa Jaffar, Kamaladevi Aravindhan, and Susanna Goho-Quek.

Authors at the Book-fair, with their junior fans.

I was away for a while, traveling with the Book Council Singapore to the New Delhi World Book Fair 2016 as a featured author with four others: Conoor Kripalani, Nur-el-Hudaa Jaffar, Kamaladevi Aravindhan, and Susanna Goho-Quek. More about that here, and I’m grateful to the Book Council represented in Delhi by Kenneth Quek and Celine Chow for the brilliant opportunity to interact with editors, publishers, school kids and teachers. Book-lovers, all of them.

It also opened up the possibility for another fabulous experience, more about which in the rest of my post,  an entry for the Lost & Found: Valentine’s Edition blog hop hosted by Guilie Castillo-OriardAlex J CavanaughDenise CoveyYolanda ReneeElizabeth Seckman, and the one and only Arlee Bird.  (Be sure to visit all of the hosts for this event.  To find the full list of participants visit the list on Tossing It Out or any of the host sites.)

Lost and Found Valentines

Lost and Found Blogfest

This is what they needed:  In honor of an upcoming Valentine’s Day, we want you to write about love lost or found. Share the highs and lows that only matters of the heart can bring. As such, our question for this month is just that:  “When have you lost or found love?”

Love knows no boundaries, so when i think of lost loves I think of two women: they weren’t my biological moms, but in losing them, I lost my loves. One of them was my aunt Namita Ghosh, who helped bring me up, had the voice of a songbird, and the fierce protectiveness of a she-bear. She remained a spinster, and at her death-bed, learning to let her go was one of the profoundest experiences of my life. The other one was my mother in law, Anuradha Biswas,  joy, positivity and kindness personified, who we lost untimely to a random accident.

Both their deaths affected me. Both blocked my writing for months, if not years. But in recent times, I’ve found a way to a measure of their love: by loving those who have no reason or cause to love me. It is true that opening your heart to compassion gives you more peace and fulfillment than any other activity or emotion. I still haven’t been able to give of myself to the point that giving hurts, but I hope to get there some day. After all, isn’t that part of what love is all about?

Nonprofit New Delhi Project WHY

Spoken English Workshop and Presentation at Project Why, New Delhi

Which brings us to the second part of my Delhi trip, at the Project Why nonprofit, set up by Anouradha Bakshi. I’ve written about her before, here and here. What I’ve lost of my family in the past years, I think Project Why is now helping me find, in terms of love, joy, positivity, songs, laughter. Above are some pictures of my Dehli trip, where I taught spoken English to the teachers, most of them halting speakers of the language. They laughed at me and with me, followed vocal exercises and learned to breathe, and finished it off with an afternoon of stories, song and laughter. More details about these remarkable teachers, here.

My Valentines this year are all the kids, teachers, staff and the inimitable founder of Project Why, Anouradha Bakshi, who has done so much for so many and never asked for a thing in return. For more details on this excellent organization check their Facebook page and website.

What about you? What loves have you lost? Have you ever found your way back to them? How did you do it?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Brocodile Fundie says:

    Check 2 on comment box, not logged in.

  • Yusseri Yusoff says:

    Check check on comment box.

  • Losing love to death is such a powerful lesson… We have not stopped loving, but the object of our love is no longer there. What to do with all the love that remains? Where to direct it? How can it exist, we cry, when its recipient is gone? And I think, Damyanti, that that, precisely, is what makes this such a lesson: there really is no end to love. Love doesn’t require reciprocation, or even feedback, to exist. Love does require, however, letting go… Not of the feeling but of the object. And when we learn that, really learn it—that love exists without cause or reason, that it’s the single most potent connection we have to what it means to be alive, that it will go on forever, regardless of the pain it causes us—that’s when we’re ready to live for real 🙂

    Thank you so much for being a part of the Lost & Found hop, my friend. Sorry it took me so long to come around for a visit—I was saving the best for last 😉

  • madilynquinn01 says:

    Really great, touching story about your family. I wish I had that sort of relationship with mine. I need to volunteer more…

  • Eli says:

    That was a lovely read:-) Sad too, to read about you loosing your loved ones… They live on through us don’t they. And the memories are always with us:-)

  • dressingegos says:

    lovely write…requires a lot of introspection as well as the ability to explain it well in writing…Maybe just maybe I will actually think about it n be able to share it as honestly as loads of people can do…Not Easy the whole process but well I can always try…:-) but really liked what you have written here…

  • Vidya Sury says:

    What a rich experience, Damyanti! I remember that time when you lost your mother in law. My heart goes out to you. I am so glad you found solace in love. I love that you mentioned that your Valentines this year are the kids and others… Hugs! Thank you for sharing this poignant post!

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – what a lovely post of two parts .. giving us a glimpse into the loves of your world – your aunt, and then your mother in law .. they both sound very special.

    But I love that you give back to your Project Why – and are now helping others and giving us ideas about compassion to all …

    Brilliant post – thank you – Hilary

  • akaushiva says:

    A beautiful tribute to your two ‘mothers’ and how beautifully you carry forward their love and compassion. Hugs!

  • Parul Thakur says:

    So wonderful that you are giving back to community.Not everyone does that but it gives so much joy.
    Sorry for your loss but I guess people who we love stay alive in our hearts forever.

  • I remember how hard you’d tried to save your mother-in-law.

    Sounds like both she and your aunt were inspirational ladies to you.

    Project WHY sounds like a wonderful organization to be part of.

  • RIP Namita Ghosh & Anuradha Biswas. May GOD help you to recover from this irreparable loss.

  • Such a beautiful tribute to your aunt and your MIL, Damyanti! I’m sorry about your loss but I’m sure their fond memories will always stay with you.

  • Beautiful post and sentiments. It shows how much your aunt and mother in law meant the way that you speak of them.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    You were fortunate to have an opportunity to experience this extraordinary love from such special people.

    It’s wonderful that you are able to have this sharing experience in traveling about and meeting others. You are undoubtedly having some profound effect on many of them.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

  • opening your heart to compassion gives you more peace…I love this. It’s so true. You can’t be happy if your mind is on yourself all the time. I’m sorry for your losses. It seems you’re sharing the love they gave you with the world.

  • emaginette says:

    I think your lifetime endeavor is one of the best choices I’ve ever come across. 🙂

  • You definitely are a strong person Damyanti. After all the losses you have suffered, you have still been able to find value in life.

  • Lata Wonders says:

    Damayanti, while it is true that the best way to heal is to love again, few would have the courage to reach out like you are doing. Kudos to you. The world needs people like you.

  • Alfred Lord Tennyson said it best: It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
    We also need to embrace big, broad meanings of love and steer clear of narrow ways of thinking that leave us all locked in small, stifling ideological boxes.

    Great post, Damyanti! <3

  • oshrivastava says:

    Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  • Loss is a part of love. I lost my best friend from childhood in September. I lost a blogging friend last week. I’ve always dealt with pain through writing.

  • Love and loss always go hand in hand. Beautiful tribute to the women you have loved.

  • What an incredible tribute to your aunt and your mother-in-law. What impact they’ve had on your heart and your soul and what a blessing to have had them in your life.
    Perfect post for the Love Lost & Found!

  • Birgit says:

    This is a very sweet tribute to 2 ladies you loved very much. We have all loved and lost in one form or another…the key is to remember the love more than the loss

  • Denise Covey says:

    A beautiful tribute to two women who enriched your life, Damyanti. You will never forget them! It looks like you’re living a very full writing life at this juncture of your life. Go well and strong!

  • The love of those women helped make you the caring person you are today. They may be gone, but it’s obvious they’re both still in your heart. Your post offers a wonderful slant on lost love for this blogfest. But then, it isn’t really lost, is it?

  • You raise good questions in your blogs. I suppose we all lose and gain in love and hopefully find fulfilment as we make a final commitment. In today’s society it seems like much of the free world is forever searching for that perfect true love but rarely finding it..

  • macjam47 says:

    You are fortunate to have had such wonderful and loving women in your life. Cherish your memories of them.

  • This was a very open and moving post. My mother died very suddenly, many years ago and it was only after my father died twenty-five years later, that I read all the letters sent to him afterwards and realised that everyone else had mourned her too.

  • cynthiamvoss says:

    They sound like great experiences, congrats to you for participating in them!

  • cleemckenzie says:

    You always carry those you love with you, and your post shows just how much these wonderful women meant to you and always will.

    Loved seeing the pictures!

  • rxena77 says:

    Those we love never die in a sense, for they have shaped our natures like jeweler’s diamond cutting tools. Life is a series of hello’s and goodbye’s. To love is to open the door to an eventual loss. But how empty we would be if we never opened that door at all.

    The legacy of love and wisdom those two “mothers” gave you can enable you to pass on their love and wisdom to others.

    Great post as always. Roland

  • patgarcia says:

    Death even in sickness comes at an untimely time when it deals with people we love dearly. I am an American ExPat living in Europe and when someone close to me departs, it hurts deeply and I deal with it by writing in my journal or singing out my pain through a song.

  • So sorry for the loss of such wonderful women. You now carry the torch and beautifully too!

  • Compassion is a gift that gives to both!

  • BellyBytes says:

    Giving is more rewarding than receiving but often times we get back more than we give.

  • Bushka says:

    Super post…always informative….and entertaining……Pictures speak volumes. Hugs! <3

  • Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.