It has been almost five years since my aunt Papiya Ghosh and Malti Devi were brutally murdered in our family’s home in Patna. Though several years have passed, the pain and injustice of their murders remain raw. Every time a birthday or holiday passes without hearing Bumble’s voice, the harsh reality that she is gone sets in.
Though some progress has been made in finding the killers, the facts behind who plotted the murder and why remains a mystery to us. I have resigned myself to the fact that true justice is not attainable on this Earth. Even if we somehow were able to find the killers and the mastermind and sentence them to life in prison, that still would not bring Bumble back. Nothing will ever bring Bumble back—this is the cruelest realization of all.
In all likelihood, we may never know why this happened and who the true perpetrators of this crime are. To this day, I cannot reconcile the facts of what occurred and how little information the investigation unearthed. How is it possible that two people were brutally stabbed to death, a house was completely ransacked, a washer and a refrigerator were moved out of a house that had two ferociously protective dogs without anyone noticing that something was amiss? How is it possible that no one heard a scream, a cry for help, the dogs barking incessantly or the sounds of furniture and machines being moved in the middle of the night? These questions may never be answered, so our family chosen to channel our energy into finding ways to honor Bumble’s life. Some of the things developed in her honor include the book, “A Toast to Bumble”, a scholarship fund for female students at Patna University, and a website with detailed information about her life, www.papiyaghosh.com.
In addition to being an outstanding professor and passionate historical researcher, she was also a tremendous and loving person. I will always remember her warmth, how she loved to give long hugs, and her thoughtfulness. Visits to India are not the same without a trip to Patna and catching up with Bumble. She was the consummate hostess. She knew all of your favorite meals and desserts and was sure to have them ready upon your arrival. She would even rent movies or select a few books for you from her vast collection to ensure that you were entertained. It is sad to think about how much she has missed in the years since her death and how much more she could have accomplished. She did not even have the chance to see her first book be published, which was something she had worked on for much of her lifetime. For these reasons and more, the injustice of her death never seems to lessen. For some, things continue as they were before but the world of those who knew and loved her has changed indelibly. Her loss continues to color our lives.
I could write endlessly about all her great attributes and how much she meant to us but how could I ever convey all that she was? Her absence has left a void that can never be filled but we do our best to honor her legacy. Though she is not with us physically, Bumble’s spirit is always present. As trite as it sounds, every time I see a beautiful sunset, the ocean, or a sweet dog, it brings me some comfort because I know how much she enjoyed these simple pleasures. Perhaps the most productive thing we can do now is work to ensure that her horrific murder does not overshadow the wonderfully rich life she led.