The family wishes to extend deep gratitude to all, for the prayers, support, comforting messages, calls, flowers, cards and gifts during this time of bereavement.
Mrs. Puvaneswary Arulambalam was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and is the 9th of 10 children for Mr. Ramasamy and Nallama Candiah of Balangoda, Sri Lanka (a tea planter and owned estates in Balangoda – hence known as “Balangoda Candiah”); the sister of 9 siblings – Subramaniam, Chellamma, Murugesu, Sivasithamparam, Nagammah, Soundra Ammal, Maheswary, Kanagasabai and Jegatheswary (only surviving sibling); the wife of late Mr. Sabaratnam Raja Arulambalam; the mother of Priyardharshini, Sudharshini and Manoharan; the mother-in-law to Indran, Sri Pathe (passed away on April 21, 2020) and Bridget; the grandmother of Menaka, Danusha, Athisha, Rishan and India; the great grandmother of Dilusha, Dheyona and Rio; the great great grandmother of Monir and Marlo.
Puvaneswary, was affectionately called by her husband as Puvanam, Ammah by her children, Appammah/Ammammah by her grandchildren, and Paunaunty/Ponaunty by her many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Puvaneswary completed her studies at Chundikuli Girls School and Ramanathan College. She got married to Raja Mama (as many people refer to him) and built a house on Station Road in Colombo. They had 3 wonderful children in Sri Lanka. Due to Raja Mama’s work as a civil engineer for the railways, Puvaneswary traveled around Sri Lanka and India. The family immigrated to London in 1969 and settled at 32 Kirkley Road, South Wimbledon and spent the last 52 years here. This house has witnessed many memories, including birthdays, various parties, numerous home cooked meals for relatives, babysitting grandchildren, 3 weddings and now a funeral.
As a housewife, she played the violin, loved to sew, draw and make delicious vegetarian as well as non-veg meals (she was a life long vegetarian). Until her eyes would let her, she would start each morning by reading several religious books. She was an even tempered, loving, graceful, minimalist, kind, strong, independent, physically fit and witty woman. After Raja Mama unexpectedly passed in March 1983, she not only survived, but she thrived by building a full and independent life for herself with financial independence (she is even paying for her own funeral!). Puvaneswary had many adventures, traveling the world, holding koalas, feeding kangaroos and visiting family. She was an active member of a local elderly Tamil association where she participated in plays and dance recitals with a strong network of caring friends.
As a family, we could not be any more proud of Puvaneswary. She was fiercely admired, respected and loved by all. We will continue to carry her values.
A message written by Menaka, Puvaneswary’s eldest grandchild:
My Ammammah is literally the only person in this entire world that I have no regrets with. She is my best friend, playmate – since I was a child, we would play cards and in recent years when her eyesight got poor we would play checkers. Even when she wasn’t feeling well, she would win and I would lovingly accuse her of cheating, which she would deny. We spoke everyday and without fail we wld tell each other at the end of the conversation we love each other (doing this since I was a toddler).
Every single time she went to hospital, I would drop everything and come nurse her back to health, literally giving her my energy, spirit and love. I did the same this time when she went to hospice. When she came home, I took care of her. For the past 20 days (April 6 – April 25) straight, Ammah and I stood 24/7 vigil by her bed. There wasn’t a second she was alone.
For some time now Ammammah has shared that she did want to die, and I always said to her you MUST wait till I come and then if you want to go, you can go. She kept her promise, she waited for me to come to her. As she passed on April 25 I could see her breathing starting to change and I was the one to pronounce her death.
Ammammah was in the delivery room when I was born in London (Appah was in Boston). She was there for my first breath and I was there for her last.
We are two spirits deeply connected and so in love. From my Day 1, for 44 years, we have been connected at the hips. All this to say, when she was ready to leave, I was ready to let her go with so much love and gratitude.
Because I loved Ammammah so much and spent a lot of time with her, I missed out on things with my Appah and I do have regrets with my Appah, who passed away on April 21, 2020. But like everyone else, my Appah knew how much I love my Ammammah and he let me spend so much time with her.
I hope you get to love someone the way I got to give and receive love from my Ammammah. It is an amazing kind of love that has and will continue to transcend many spirit journeys. Thank you for witnessing this unique kind of love between two intertwined spirits
From Athisha, Puvaneswary’s third grandchild:
At 98 years old Ammamah was not short of stories or jokes and her dry sense of humour certainly did not deplete as the years went on. I was lucky enough to have Ammamah in my life for it all. The times I visited Ammammah, I knew what would be at the end of that visit – murungakai curry and payasum. Ammamah knew these were my favourite things and she would lovingly make these for me (who cares if she had other grandkids?) To this day, no one has made them better!
I could fill this page with stories of Ammamah, of her stories, of our stories but we wouldn’t have enough space nor time. One memory I still laugh at now however is when she first met my now husband Taj. As you can imagine, I was hesitant to introduce him to the family. A brown girl of Sri Lankan heritage, bringing home a black guy of Caribbean heritage, back then (14 years ago) it was still frowned upon. But I knew I had to introduce him to Ammamah. Why did I hesitate? I have no idea. She didn’t even bat an eyelid and by way of making light of the situation she lovingly and in the dry Sri-Lankan way only she could get away with, mistakenly called him Raj, not Taj –the laughs that came from all of us still reverberate around the house at Kirkley Road today. And from then this stuck – we laugh about it now, I, even call him Raj from time to time in homage to my forward thinking, accepting, barrel of laughs Ammamah.
Having recently become a mother myself, I understand that importance of family. I can’t wait for my daughter, Rio to forge the same relationship with my Ammah. And because of my Ammah, Ammamah was able to enjoy not only grandchildren, but also great-grandchildren and now two great, great grandchildren! I am grateful that I had 34 years with Ammamah and know that although at the end she wanted to leave us, she still battled on for as long as she did and never will I forget the strength that she exuded even at the end.
I would also like the express my gratitude for Master. He cared for, loved and treated Ammamah with the same respect and love we did. It was clear that his care for her transcended a carer/patient relationship and I know Ammamah cared for him deeply. For the last 8 years Master has been a constant for her and I truly believe without him, she would not have made her 98th birthday.
My proudest memory of Ammamah will forever be her being one of the founding members of the South West London Welfare Tamil group – helping Tamil elders forge friendships and empowering them. As I said, my grandmother was forward thinking.
A message written by Rishan, Puvaneswary’s 4th grandchild and only grandson:
Ammamah was a very special woman and epitomised what it was to be a grandma. The love she gave was second to none. Her caring, loving, and generous nature touched the lives of many, especially me being her only grandson.
My fondest memories were of her going out her way to make sure I was well looked after and entertained when she used to take care of me during school holidays. She always had a few games to play and would happily sit and watch TV with me, even if it meant interrupting her Tamil soap operas. And although it might not look it, she saw to it I was well fed, constantly asking me if I wanted second helpings! There’s something incomparable about a grandmother’s cooking and her’s embodied this. It was one of many things to look forward to when visiting her.
Ammamah always had a smile on her face whenever we saw each other, and her caring and loving nature never ceased, even during her battle towards the end. I’m thankful she got the chance to meet my other half and her family, and it’s deeply regrettable she won’t be at our wedding, as it was something she looked forward to, and a part of my life I would’ve loved to share with her.
A grandma’s love is like no other and I’ll be forever grateful I was able to feel the love Ammamah gave me.
A selection of floral posies. Approximate sizes are:
A beautiful range of sympathy baskets. Approximate sizes include: