but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
Shortly after the first return to Orissa, in December 2015, we celebrated a family Christmas at Lakmahal for what proved to be the last time. The previous year we had, as had happened for decades, had the 5th Lane cousins, along with a few old friends of my parents, two sisters of my brother-in-law Romesh Bandaranaike, and also Vasantha Senanayake and his mother.
We had it seems said then that this might be for the last time so, when in 2015 we decided to repeat the exercise, we found that the 5th Lane cousins had made other arrangements. I wondered whether this was a boycott of sorts since I had been heavily critical of Ranil during the year, but that this was not the case seemed apparent from the fact that the youngest cousin, Channa, who bore the initials of our grandfather, attended with his elder son.
We had only two tables this time, instead of the usual three (there had been a year or two when we had had to have four), with lots of milk wine and cake before, and then the usual turkey, with my sister’s superb Christmas pudding to follow.
I had hoped then that we could repeat the exercise in 2016, which would have been the 80th Christmas since Lakmahal was occupied. But towards the end of 2015 it became clear that soon my sister and I would have to reach a settlement about the house. It had been left jointly to both of us, and I thought that perhaps my mother had assumed that I would live there during my lifetime, and then my share would pass to the children of my sister.