By Sandy Chellapermal

My Tribute to Natasha

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Early Life

Natasha, the beautiful little girl with her shining face and lovely curly hair is so vivid in my memory.
When I first met her some 43 years ago, she was only 2 and a half years old. She greeted me with a
beautiful smile at her parents’ home in Arlesey, Bedfordshire. Her parents Mega and Lucille had
graciously accepted to host me at their home during my 2 years’ study in a college of the locality.
Lucille and Mega left Mauritius in the early 70’s for nursing studies in the Uk and they fell in love
while working at Fairfield hospital. From this union and beautiful love story, Natasha was born.

Early Years

During the 2 wonderful years I spent with the family, I became very attached to the little princess Natasha. Immediately, I felt that she was predestined to become an attractive, talented and smart lady. I still remembered vividly how she would get excited, bouncing around every time her parents came back from work. Natasha was the centre of attraction in the family home as she made all of us
happy and cheerful. I cannot forget how she used to come and spend time with me in my room while I was studying. As if she was saying to me I will support you throughout your studies.
Whenever I was reading a book or writing, she would imitate me and will never leave the room until her mum or dad came to fetch her to go to bed.

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SOAS

Many years later when I was back home in Mauritius, I felt so proud and happy to hear that she has been admitted for a degree course at the prestigious London School of Oriental, African studies (SOAS) of University of London. This is a leading institution in higher education in Europe specialising in the study of Asia, African and the Middle East studies covering democracy, economy, public and
corporate policy, human rights, migration, legal system, poverty and social change. Many very
important personalities like Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize Laureate, Bulant Ucevil, Former Prime Minister of Turkey, John Ata Mills, Former President of Ghana and Zeinab Badawi, famous journalist of BBC studied there.

Her Career and travels

What a brilliant career she had as a civil servant, working in one of the most
important ministries of the Uk government, the Home Office. Through work experiences and determination to succeed, she became a shrewd diplomat and was well appreciated by all her peers.
She represented her country as a diplomat at the High Commission in Ghana. She later developed her expertise in refugee settlement where she participated in the resettlement of vulnerable refugees fleeing Syria. Also she was involved administratively in processing Ugandan athletes for the Olympic Game 2012 in London. During her professional career, she travelled extensively in countries like Ghana, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Uganda to name a few. She was privileged as a civil servant to attend meetings at the office of the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and be invited by the late Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II to attend the garden party at Buckingham Palace.

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She Lived, worked and played around the World

On her social media page, she once said she is blessed to live, work and play around the world. She loved travelling to discover and meet different people and different cultures. Three cultures that have marked her life were that of India, Brazil and Africa. She was so fond of the indian culture especially its Bollywood cinemas and old classic indian films and music. Even she had the privilege to meet the famous actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Her life long relationship with Richy

Many of her travelling were done with her lifelong loving partner, Richy. What a wonderful love story when they fell in love during their teenage days and have since then been together for more than 28 years. We shall never forget their beautiful wedding some 9 years ago at the beautiful and unique church facing the sea, Notre Dame Auxilliare in Cap Malheureux , Mauritius. She said it was the best day of her life.

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A Multitalented girl

Natasha had a great personality with a number of qualities and was talented in so many fields. She had a soft speaking voice, very humble and always with a beautiful exotic smile. She had a collection of hobbies and doing all of them with passion and love. She was so fond of her gym sessions and Zumba classes, a fanatic of video games. She followed courses on cooking and dished out so many wonderful multi-cultural food coming from different countries like India, Syria, Lebanon, Gambia, Ghana, Albania and Mauritius. She was so proud to post on Facebook her Bengali Pakoras, her aloo
Paratha, her homemade bagels and her colourful pastry like Napolitaine and Mixed berry lemon stripe cake.

More talents!

She also followed DIY courses, not to forget needlecraft and with her Netty Sewing machine and cricut maker, Natasha showed us her talent in making beautiful t-shirts design, paper flowers and
Easter and Xmas cards. I am so fond of her pink and purple paper hydrangeas. We were so proud of her when she won a UK mask competition during COVID and was interviewed by BBC and where viewers could see her masterpiece fashionable masks.

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A talented girl

Another passion of Natasha was her love for watching movies. She watched a large variety of movies practically on a daily basis and she was a talented critic writer. It was always a pleasure to read her
daily movie critics. She was also fond of theatre, musical and cultural shows and London Fashion week. Talking of fashion, we were mesmerised by her beautiful modelling photos. Her soft and soothing voice with her perfect diction could also be heard on the flight Safety demonstration video on the national airline Air Mauritius.

Music, Dance and fun.

She loved different types of music around the world and was inspired by her loving husband Richy, a well-known DJ in UK. What a good dancer she was too! We all remember her participation in the Notting Hill Carnaval where she danced the Mauritian sega for 7 hours. To show how diverse she was, she participated in the Jack Dee’s Comedy panel show live on BBC for the EU referendum and even had a question to the panel.

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Human Rights

Natasha was not afraid to voice her opinion against Racism, human rights, poverty, refugee settlement, gender equality, sustainable development and environmental among other pertinent
issues. She was a staunch defender of injustice around the world and promoted humanitarian values and wanted everybody to love their neighbour as life is precious. For her if you can’t love yourself, how can you love somebody else.

 

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.

Natasha was so proud of her origin, a ‘black mixed British Mauritian’ woman, a daughter of immigrants and descendants of African slaves and Indian indentured labour.

She left us too early

Natasha has left us too soon but what an achievement during her short life span. She should be an inspiration to all of us and serve as a role model. Despite her illness and during the last weeks of her
life, she showed us how courageous and brave she was to fight this disease and always stayed positive. She wanted to tell us that life goes on no matter how hard and difficult it may be.

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We Love you Natasha

We love you Natasha…. You will always be my little princess whom I cherished during your early childhood days in Arlesey.

 

Bye and till we meet again in another world….