Being an Indian, never truly understood the role of the British monarchy in a modern democracy. And even struggled with the colonial history linked to it. Will probably never grasp or appreciate the nuances – like many British seem to.
But, death of Queen Elizabeth with all the tributes pouring in from leaders and people across the world she touched had created a sense of awe for her life – and a huge unexplainable void in me.
Why do I feel this? What is it about this Queen?
(Fact that she may be the only person Presidents Obama, Biden, Trump and Bush admired – saying almost identical words is not lost on most of us)
Is it that the Queen took a vow to God and put her duties to the nation as a monarch as her life long Bheeshma-pratignya? Is it the long life of 96 years and a 70 year reign – spanning 7 popes, 15 UK prime ministers and travels of 1+MN miles? Is it her incessant battle to represent the best of British, in public?
Is it the restraint she had in privately guiding so many leaders, yet never interfering? Is it the agility and nimbleness she showed in adapting to the ways of times – as they changed all around her?
Or is it that so many leaders (who are grand fathers / grand mothers themselves) say she reminded them of their grand mother?
I think it’s the all of those. But, mostly the last one.
She reminds me of my 96 year old grand mom. My Amamma (maternal grand mom in my native language Telugu).
Palagummi Annapurna, my Amamma, who left us last year was the matriarch and leader of our families (along with my most favorite person on earth – my grand father (Tatagaru), Palagummi Surya Rao, who we named our first son after).
My Amamma was a mother to 8 of her own children, and played one to at least 20 others in her extended family. She was one of the toughest people I know, even when her body had fallen apart in her 90s. She was relentless in her devotion to holding the family together and pushing everyone to be the best they can be – at everything we did.
In the hardest times, she never panicked or lost her sense of humor. In best of times, she never relaxed or let us slack. Every choice she made was for the ages. No short cuts. She was uncompromising about many traditions, but one of the most modern and pragmatic people I know of.
She probably never graduated beyond high school, that I know of, but had an intuitive understanding of income vs wealth and investment vs cost – that most leaders don’t ever learn !!
She experienced more things in her life than all of our life times put together, yet never lost her child like curiosity and a monk like gratitude for little joys in life.
She cared and loved everyone of us in a deeply personal way, but maintained a certain order to the 100s of relationships in her extended family. She devoted her entire life to putting our families at the center of her life – and never wavered in her commitment to ensure we all have happy lives. She is the singular reason I have such deep bonds with all my cousins and their families.
May be that surrender and commitment to life beyond your own is what defines a true monarch.
I miss my Amamma and Tatagaru too, today. As I mourn the loss of the Queen.
Am sure many of you had at least one grand parent or person like in your life too. And feeling as I feel today.
So here is to Queen Elizabeth – and all the uncrowned Queens (and Kings) – who were the constant heart beats in our lives and bedrocks on which we exist today.