Candles, Flowers, Tears and Memories

Ratna Venkat

On May 21 this year, I was a part of the happy occasion honouring Wenceslaus Anthony where he was presented with the highest civilian medal awarded by the Roman Catholic Church, the Papal Medal (‘Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice’), in recognition of his countless services to the Church.

All those who attended were not only near and dear to Wenceslaus (Anthony Uncle to me), but also young and old acquaintances, Ministers, members of Parliament, business and cultural communities.

The celebratory mood continued even after the event, when my father and I shared some more special moments with the newest Papal Medal awardee and his wife, Susan (Aunty), daughter Sneha (Sister) and son Akash (Brother).

We wished them well on their overseas trip, one of which included his long-cherished pilgrimage to the Holy Land; he promised to share his experience with me upon his return home towards the end of July 2017.

Twist of Fate

Little did I know that this would be his one-way ticket, and return he shall never.

Little did my father and I, nor most of the guests who attended the ceremony, realise that May 21 was the last day that we would see him.

I find it strange that the same Anthony Uncle, the joyous news of his Papal Medal ceremony that was reported in our June 1 issue of Indian Newslinkis now being honoured again two months later, for a circumstance that nobody foreknew, and thus should not have happened.

But it is often said, “Life surprises you when you least expect it.”

Family Connection

Our association with Anthony Uncle and his family goes back to nostalgic times when we bonded over our shared month and year of our migration to New Zealand.

We were later surprised to learn that the coincidence ran deeper when he recognised that my mother and he were former classmates who studied together at Loyola Institute of Business Administration of Loyola College in Chennai, Southern India.

Hearing this delightful news thereafter, I would often tease Anthony Uncle to spill out some secrets of what my mother was like during her college days, but he, as it was inherent in his loving nature, would have the highest praise to all closely associated with him; even if decades had passed, and that included my mother.

Love for All

Anthony Uncle was one of very few people, if not the only, who had a rare combination of being both a leader and a follower, and at the same time was genuine in his services to humanity and deep faith in the Almighty.

He was the kind of person who could see no difference between a commoner and a Prime Minister of a nation. To him, everyone was equal and he would go out of his way to help those who needed his assistance, be it in business, career or life in general.

The bottom line was, whosoever had Anthony Uncle’s support, that person need not worry about anything.

I was fortunate to have had Anthony Uncle in my life not only as my well-wisher but also as the Patron of my dance career.

If ever I had an issue, or a problem in which I could find no solution, he would be the one to call, and no matter how occupied he was, he would always find time for me.

Empty Presence

Dear Anthony Uncle, your absence in this world is slowly becoming a reality, but I know that your presence will continue to survive in me, and in the hearts and minds of your loving family – Susan Aunty, Sneha and Akash, relatives and loved ones.

We pray that your soul rests in peace.

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