Leo died in August 1971, and Lakshmi stayed on by herself at the Old Place for 17 years more. Of course she could not move immediately, for Ida survived till the January of 1972, and obviously Lakshmi could not have left Kurunagala while her old aunt stayed on, with her Burgher companion and, by then, I think only one old woman to cook and clean. And perhaps, having survived to all intents and purposes by herself, in the rest of the large house, and having begun to manage the estates that remained to her, she decided then that she could survive on her own at the Old Place, at least until she had set up an establishment of her own in Colombo.
Though her aunt, my grandmother, would have been quite happy to have her at Lakmahal, Lakshmi was too fiercely independent to have become part of someone else’s household. Sometimes I wonder indeed whether, doing her own thing at the Old Place for so long, she would not have stayed on even longer, were it not for the rising tide of JVP violence, following the Indo-Lankan Accord of 1987, and the obviously increasing danger to a woman by herself in a large house.