We lost my amazing grandmother this weekend. It was sudden, unexpected and over before it started. The last few days have been a fog that may clear a bit over time but never fully dispel. To the world she was the incredible Manorama Mohapatra, the preeminent and legendary writer, journalist, editor, Economics professor, women’s right advocate, and social justice organizer. For me, she was simply Aiee (which is what we call our maternal Grandmother in Oriya). Most my friends growing up idolized superheroes in capes. For me, those characters didn’t hold an inch to the real life superhero I got to see draped in a sari living on the other side of the world. She was always my role model and I wrote essays in grade school, high school, college and grad school about how her life and teachings shaped my inner and outer worlds. I really can’t imagine life without her but I’m hopeful that I can do justice to her example by living out those values throughout the duration of my existence. I was planning to see her after this pandemic subsides and have my kids meet her in person for the first time. As they say “disappointment comes to those who make appointments with the future”. It’s a reminder to cherish the present versus solely optimizing for the future. She always wanted me to follow in her footsteps and write so I’m hoping to distill some of her amazing teachings and stories in the coming months.
To all those who reached out over the past few days – a huge thank you. It means the world to all of us and she touched countless lives over her 87 years. I’ve been overwhelmed reading the stories being shared – some by family members and many from people across the world.
Here are a few writeups that touch on her legacy:
https://manoramamohapatra.in/ (official website)
https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1439281910681800704 (big thanks to PM Modi for honoring her contributions)