Taraben Bhogilal Mehta passed away on March 23, Friday at the age of 82. Beloved wife of late Bhogilal Chhaganlal Mehta and daughter of Popatlal Mithalal Shah of Kampala, Taraben was the shining light of her family, and had lived a full life. Funeral was held on March 27, Tuesday, at Golders Green Crematorium. The unfortunate news was delivered to me by our Publisher/Editor CB Patel. He informed me about a prayer meeting that was organised in her remembrance on March 25. CB told me he wishes to go but his health wasn't compliant, so I was to go and convey his condolences on his behalf. He said he holds a lot of respect for Taraben, and that I should write a heartfelt obituary for her.
Navnat Hall overflowed with people on the 25th. As I braved the grieving mass of over a 1000 people, I realised just how many Taraben had actually affected in her life time. Well-known singer Mital Patel graced the evening with beautiful songs. The gloominess in the tightly packed hall spoke volumes about Taraben's loving nature. Despite the massive loss, I don't believe she has left us. She will remain alive forever in our memories. Her elder son Yogeshbhai addressed the meet. He said not only was his mother's loss personally painful, it also felt like a social loss. “Our inspiring mother was not only active in the community, she was also very much present in maintaining family relations. She had also contributed immensely in the financial growth of our family. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to call her our mother,” Yogeshbhai said. Taraben's younger brother, Kirtikumar Shah said, “Born in a large family of four brothers and nine sisters, our elder sister was very blessed.”
All those who knew her, remember her as amiable and empathetic. She was closest to her sister Shakuben. They were both also actively present in the community kitchen, and it only developed their chemistry. Taraben was born on August 30, 1935, in Kampala, Africa. She was married to Bhogilal Mehta at the young age of 17, on May 14, 1952. Matching shoulders with her husband, she was instrumental in the growth of the family. She soon mothered three beautiful sons, Yogesh, Hitesh, and Dilesh. An easygoing person, she remained upbeat despite facing the losses of her daughter Kishori and later, her husband. I find it important to state that she kept her face even in the most trying of times. The presence of a woman always prime in a family's growth and progress.
The matron spent her last days in a hospital. She remained surrounded by her three sons, daughters in law, son in law, and grandchildren. I find peace in the fact that our beloved Taraben experienced the warmth of her family before she left the world.