Subarata, my wife of 23 years, was born on February 2, 1955. If she were still among us we would be celebrating her birthday today in a lively manner and her friends would be giving her many simple gifts.
Today is February 2, 2007 but she has not been here to open the customary gifts of love and friendship since the turn of the millennium – for the past seven years her birthdays have been silent affairs of memories and regrets, pathos and smiles too. Today I think of her more than usually, sitting on a bench seat overlooking the sea in northeast Thailand.
A few of us here have organised a prasad item of food for each of the several hundred people staying in this village near Cha Am, all of us on a Christmas vacation for several weeks. In our function room Sri Chinmoy reads out from a note we have given him – "Chocolate and fruit from New Zealand for Subarata's birthday" – and makes an aah… aah… aah… sound, eyes closed, acknowledging everything that happened in her life and death in a voice that captures regret, love, sympathy and the inscrutability of life's ways.
Subarata had great devotion for her Guru, but like all of us went through a number of trials and hardships. I remember once how in a troubled time of her life as a disciple she wrote a letter to Sri Chinmoy to announce she had decided to 'leave the path' and seek other ways to happiness. Sri Chinmoy read her letter and called her down from where she was seated. "Since you have decided to leave the path," he announced, "I shall also leave our path and join your path as well." This disarmed Subarata and she started laughing, the shadows in her mind dispelled. Sri Chinmoy always knew exactly what to say to Subarata to convey his love and concern and to bring her devoted heart quickly forward.