By Richy Pitch
My Tribute to Natasha
On October 14th 2021 a service was held for Natasha at St Hugh's in Letchworth, Herts. I wrote a loving tribute to my beautiful wife.
How can I possibly fit into a few minutes everything that Natasha achieved during her life, or everything I want to say about her and our life together, the truth is I can’t.
But I’ll do my best to highlight what an amazing woman Natasha was.
Natasha was born on the 3rd of December 1975 at Hitchin Hospital to Lucille and Mega Ramalinga-Chetty. Her schooling began at Gothic Mead in Arlesey, and Wilbury and Fearnhill School in Letchworth.
During that time Natasha excelled in everything she did and it was already clear that she was both creative and highly academic.
I met Natasha in 1993, and our first date, in London, was probably a bit like how the rest of our life was, ie it wasn’t until Natasha took control of it that the night improved. Her plan involved us hanging out in the early hours of the morning in Kennedy Gardens, just across the way from here, where we just talked and talked and talked.
SOAS, India and modelling
In the early years of our relationship, Natasha continued her studying at London University, SOAS the School of Oriental and African Studies, where she gained both a degree and a distinction Master’s degree in Social Anthropology. During her studying Natasha also took a year out to live in India in support of her Master’s degree research, she also decided to learn Hindi, she modelled in Mumbai and worked on the first style guide for Verve magazine, India.
After her Masters Degree Natasha went to live in Bahia Brazil where she studied the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, learnt Brazilian Portuguese and joined up with her longtime school friend Marsha and made new life long friends, one of them being Bukela, both of whom are here today. Natasha loved to travel, and meet new people, and this was a theme that ran through her life and our lives together.
The Fast Stream
When she returned from Brazil, Natasha’s excellent qualifications and well-rounded personality, helped her successfully enter the civil service through the prestigious fast stream process.
Just to give you an idea, 40,000 apply for the fast stream, approximately 3000 get to the interview stage and then 1000 get through.
This enabled Natasha to work on a number of varied and interesting projects including working in Ghana and Libya as a Visa Officer Manager and working as the Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, working for both Alan Johnson (Labour) and Theresa May (Conservative).
She was particularly fond of her most recent job working as Community Sponsorship Lead for a scheme that supported vulnerable people fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria.
Ghana and more wonderful travels.
Natasha and I did a lot of travelling together, but one of the special times during our relationship was when we lived in Ghana during Natasha’s government posting, it was such a beautiful 2 years and our mutual appreciation for the country, music, food and people was another experience that helped solidify our relationship and our love for finding out more about the world.
The job also enabled us to travel the world. From Ghana we flew to the East coast of America spending time in New York, driving North to the Catskills, to the Adirondacks, East to Boston and to Cape Cod. We then flew to the West Cost of America, San Francisco, Yosemite and LA in a big old motor home down route 1, we then went onto Tokyo (one of Natasha’s favourite cities), to Thailand, to Kerala in India and then finally back home.
That 2 month trip was definitely a trip of a lifetime and we always looked back on that time thinking how blessed that experience was.
So proud to be Mauritian
But, there is one other country that must get a special mention if we’re to talk about Natasha, and that was Mauritius. Natasha was super proud of her heritage. If any of you have seen her Facebook page you may have seen her profile picture with the Mauritian Flag proudly painted onto her beaming face. She loved Mauritius and everything about it, The French Creole language, the rich and colourful food, the importance of family and the Sega - a Mauritian dance and music unique to that area of the Indian Ocean. Natasha even danced the Sega for a Sega group at the Notting Hill Carnival. Natasha loved her Mauritian family, if there was any opportunity of a get together Natasha would always be a chief instigator, getting people together for a Tam Tam, as she called it.
Her Legacy as a Mauritian
I could also see that Natasha was also highly regarded within her Mauritian family, she was a role model, a ground breaker, a leader, often looked up to by all age groups.
This was because of all the amazing things she had achieved, they were all proud of her, not just because of what she did, but how she did it, with grace, style and humility.
The whole Mauritian connection had a massively positive and beautiful impact on me too. We travelled there at least 8 times together and had the most amazing marriage celebration there.
One other thing to mention, if you are ever lucky enough to visit Mauritius and go by the airline company Air Mauritius, Natasha is currently the voice for the inflight safety guide....So right now....Natasha’s voice is truly heard everywhere.
Mixed Race and proud
We recently did a genealogy test, it proved to be very interesting, well Natasha’s was. I was 100% Northwestern European, I was hoping that there might be some sort of African connection there which might help explain my love for music of black origin, but no nothing. Natasha’s on the other hand, wow, it was from every part of the world, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia, she even had a small percentage of Indigenous American. It did make me think that her stunning looks, her appreciation for different cultures and her warm, generous personality were in part due to her diverse genealogy.
Her Legacy as a Friend to others.
I have recently had lots of people contact me and say what a good friend Natasha was to them. One of her friends from school Ian Johnson, recently told me how in the late 90’s they would see each other on the train going up to London from Letchworth, in those days Ian was a ticket inspector, but in his own words he wasn’t sure how to fulfil his potential, perhaps, he said to me, that was due to a lack of confidence as well as questioning his identity as a young black man. But, Natasha, through numerous train journey conversations helped him believe in what he could achieve and talked to him about how he should be be proud of his identity and who he was. Ian wanted me to know that he credits this regular positive interaction with helping him to achieve his career goals. Ian is now an operations manager for ThamesLink Railway.
Her extensive talents
Everything Natasha touched she turned to gold. During lockdown she made some beautiful masks from Ghanaian wax printed cloth, she then enters and wins a BBC mask sewing competition and is interviewed on BBC News 24.
Natasha loved cooking too, she made some bread rolls from Dan Leopards Short and Sweet cook book and posted the picture up on her Instagram and Dan Leopard replied on her Instagram ‘They
look great, perfect shape too’.
As one friend, Jenny Wong said ‘Natasha had food allies’, people loved her passion and excellence even in the simplest of things.
Natasha had a yearly subscription to Picture house in Crouch End and Cineworld in Wood Green and she’d post film reviews.
These were also highly regarded by many and inspired people to either go and watch certain films or avoid them depending on Natasha’s smart reviews.
Fun fact, Natasha was also a passionate gamer. Even this she pursued thoroughly, making sure no stone was unturned, unlocking all treasures and secrets so that she could achieve that 100% completion status. I wanted to mention this part of her life because her all time favourite game Zelda will be heard at the beginning and the end of the wake in the form of the song ‘Fairy Fountain’. And this music will definitely bring a tear to my eye.
A lovely open minded and fun loving human being.
Natasha didn’t watch loads of TV, but her favourite TV programme was Ru Paul’s drag race.
Now, why am I mentioning this you maybe asking yourself, because if I’m honest I didn’t really get it myself to begin with. But after watching it, and also getting hooked, I could see the programme was often about the plight of misunderstood, often stigmatised people, who like any fellow human being, just wanted to be themselves and get opportunities to better themselves.
I also realised this programme was everything I loved about Natasha, somebody who loved having fun, was creative in everything she did and was always cheering for the underdog.
Her legacy as a leader, a wife and a strong woman.
Natasha may have been successful but people have often said how grounded and pragmatic she was. Natasha always dealt with things sensibly and realistically in a way that was based on practicalities, she didn’t have a big ego at all.
I’ll give you couple of recent examples, during her illness when Natasha and I got into the realities of her future. I mentioned that I wanted to get a chair in Finsbury Park in her memory, because we always used to spend time in there, she said to me ‘What’s the point Rich I’m not gonna see it’ and when we discussed the funeral Natasha comforted me and said ‘Rich if the funeral is bad (I’m using a politer word here by the way) do not worry about it, it’s no biggie.
She said that because she knew me, she knew I’d want it to be special, but she also knew that I might get into a dither about it too. Natasha brought so much balance and stability into my life.
Measured and supportive
Natasha was the undisputed heavyweight champion of arguments. It was no use trying to argue with Natasha, you would always lose. To be fair, she pretty much was always right, she was so well measured that she only really ever argued if I had definitely done something wrong.
Natasha always supported me with everything I did, she was so proud of my achievements as a teacher, as a music producer and a DJ. Her recent Facebook post about marrying her favourite DJ was the perfect compliment.
Her legacy as a beautiful daughter
Before I finish I must mention Natasha’s parents Lucille and Mega, completely supportive and proud of our relationship from the very first days right until the end. Loving, unquestioning, generous and humble. You only have to spend a few minutes with her parents to see why Natasha grew into such a beautiful person, I couldn’t have asked for a better Father and Mother in law.
In terms of myself and Natasha, I believe we found True Love and we were even able to take that to another level of appreciation when she was ill.
Our love was a love that always conquered disagreements, misunderstandings and some difficult times. A love that often made us so comfortable with each other that we sometimes resorted to being kids again; having silly names for each other; play fighting and talking to each other in a way nobody else in the world would even understand.
A love that sometimes didn’t require speech, just a look and we’d both immediately know what each other were thinking. I’m so happy that I got to experience that feeling with Natasha, my soul mate, and this is something that I will look back and treasure for the rest of my life.
A life that was rich and fulfilling and a legacy that is everlasting
As I said on Facebook, I can honestly say that I was privileged to be Natasha’s partner and husband and she improved me in every possible way.
I don’t just have our beautiful memories.... her wise words and actions have created so many legacies for myself, her friends, her family and the people she worked with and for.
Her Legacy will help me to do my best, it will help me to think ‘what would Natasha do?’ in order to be that better person we hopefully all want be.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me, Natasha truly was the most beautiful person both inside and out.
I will close with a quote, sent to me by Natasha’s friend Jenny Fenton, a saying from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (Low Cha) ‘The flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long.’
Rest in peace Netty, my beautiful princess chuchiface.