On Death and Legacies
“Dada, come quick! Grandma is not getting up, and papa is just crying. Come quick!” I was woken up abruptly as I lay asleep in bed with a viral infection that morning of August 5. I did not have time to think as I rushed to my parents’ bedroom. My father stood at the foot of their bed and as I entered he looked at me, tears in his eyes as he shook his head saying, “She’s gone.” I turned towards the bed and saw my mother lying still, in the far corner, as if asleep. She had her left arm up over her eyes. Her right hand, bent at the elbow, rested on her pillow. I had seen her sleeping in just such a pose on numerous occasions.
I reached out across the bed and touched her arm and knew. It was cold. I shook her gently as I called, “Mom?” Then repeated louder “mom!” shaking her more vigorously. But she lay there, silent and still. The clock on the wall of the bedroom ticked away. But for me, time seemed to stand still at that moment.
Read more about this event in my life on my personal website.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. I started in print writing features for a newspaper. I worked in online journalism and created documentary films and features for international television. I’ve told stories of people and places from across India.
But when in August 2017, my mum died, a library burned to the ground.
Her death shocked me. In the days that followed, I realised, I knew little of the woman beyond my mother. Beyond what I knew as her son.
Her childhood. Her marriage to my father. Her rise up the corporate ladder. How she balanced a family and her life. Her thoughts, her feelings, her life lessons. All gone.
And my children would know nothing of this.
Here’s what I believe: Every life lived is full of stories. We are stories.
Stories of hope, of despair, of valour, even of cowardice. Each of these stories contributes to our life lessons. Lessons we pass on to the next generation.
Stories tell us where we come. They shape our present and inform our future.
Yes. Our life stories are the legacy we leave behind. Life stories lost, are a loss to all humanity.
They say, when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground. That day in August, I lost many volumes.
I was determined to help other families save their libraries to be cherished by future generations and that’s why just a month later, I created Narrative Legacy.
My aim is to help you preserve your life stories and those of your loved ones before they are lost to those twin thieves: time and memory.
It would be a tragedy if all we left of our stories was a memorialised Facebook page.
Create your legacy.
Apala & Salesh
Love Story / It was great to have a storybook for the most memorable day of our life. Whenever I flip through the pages of this book even during the busiest day, it feels like living a dream, refreshing all the sweet memories. Our wedding story book is a time keeper and I just love to read it again and again. Thank you Gasper, you have been a great author to our love story.
Life Story / Gasper, this is brilliant! It brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for your patience during the interview. It put me at ease and in the process I was able to recall memories I had forgotten from all those years ago. I wanted to do this work of recording my experiences for many years. Thanks to you, I was able to finally get it started for my children and grand children.
Give us a call or use the form to book a consultation and begin your story.
946, Gasper Villa, E-3/24, Tivai Vaddo, Calangute, Goa 403516. India