Morning Bhanu! For years not a single employee of Greenpeace could go past Bhanu at the reception without having a quick word with her. She would ensure you start your day with a great smile and in return I took her presence so much for granted that I didn't even realize how precious those moments that she gave me were, as I walked into office every day.
When Bhanumathi Raman was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I spent a lot of time talking to her, asking her questions, sharing information regarding the treatment of breast cancer, recommending hospitals and also trying to (what I thought was) give her strength to deal with this reality. I can still remember the fear in her eyes when she had told me about her condition, and I tried to tell her that there is nothing to fear and shared the example of how my mother is dealing with it. Deep in my heart however, I hoped and wished that she doesn't have to undergo much pain and gets well soon.
The chemotherapy was painful for Bhanu and she had severe side effects for some time. But after the cycles where over, I could see her looking better and I thought to myself the worst is over. Even the smile on her face was returning and the routine of walking into office and going – "Morning Bhanu. Looking Good," was back.
A month ago, I remember walking into office and telling her – "You are looking so much better... All well now"... And she replied with her usual smile, "Yes Sandeep". It was probably the manner in which she said this that I felt, she is going to be fine now. I didn't see Bhanu for about a month after that as she had gone on leave to spend time at home with her family.
On the morning of May 17th, I woke up to a call from one of my colleagues asking me if I had seen "The Mail". I was like, "What mail?" He then informed me that our beloved Bhanu is no more. I was left speechless for a moment. I couldn't believe it, how could this be true? I rushed to Bhanu's house immediately and there I saw her for one last time remembering the last words I had said to her, "All well now".
Rest in Peace Bhanu. You will be missed always.
Sandeep Vegad is Supporter Relations Manager with Greenpeace India.