03 March, 2021


Calcutta, for the world, was Mother Teresa’s cradle

The Pope reaches out to Mother
Photograph by AP

In 1971, my father, poet Narendra Dev, passed away, leaving behind a detailed  to-do list for me, beginning with how to rent a hearse to carry him to the  newly opened electric crematorium, how not to not to arr­ange a kangali bhojan (feeding the poor) but to give the money to Mother Teresa. That was my introduction to Mother Teresa, whom I knew as a European nun taking care of orphans and the homeless and dying in Calcutta. We followed Baba’s wishes.

Next time I met Mother Teresa, in Mother House, with my elder daughter Antara, who was 15 and wished to serve the destitute in Nirmal Hriday. Mother was happy, but was strictly against a 15-­­year-­­old serving those bre­athing their last. As Nirmal Hri­day was not a positive atm­­osphere for a child to be in, she strongly objected to it and invited Antara to join  her in looking after the homeless kids, to come and play with the children whenever she had time.

Once I was in Bellaaggio, Italy, on Lake Como, as a visiting wri­ter. We used to take small private...

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