Honoring a great person

Adding to her legacy by giving to those in need

5 min readMay 14, 2022

A few hours ago, I learned that my paternal grandmother (who we call Dadima), died of Cancer. I knew she has been sick for a bit, and we knew this was coming. Even so, when I first read that message, my mind just blanked. Even now, I can’t quite articulate what I feel or think (yes the irony of a writer saying that is not lost on me). I’ve been trying to sleep for the last 4 hours, but I just can’t. Even though my mind feels empty, my brain just won’t shut off.

It feels…wrong. The last time we talked, she told me that she wanted me to grow my hair out. Then she would tie it into a ponytail. She told me to hurry home. There wasn’t even a month left before I flew back to India. And just like that, she’s gone. This whole situation feels so weird, that I’m not sure if I’ll laugh or cry in a few hours. As of now, I just feel nothing. A weird emptiness. Normally when I write, my mind is always exploring tangents and cycling through 20 different thoughts. Currently, I’m struggling to even envisage the next few words.

Dadima was many things. She was a loving caretaker. She cleaned up after me when I wet the bed. She made really nice snacks when we were watching TV. She is the one that introduced me to the wild ride of Indian Saas Bahu Serials. She told me the story of the boy that got tangled with an evil witch when he was trying to get some walnuts. Many many times. As someone who has learned how annoying repeating themselves repeatedly is, I can’t believe she put up with that.

Dadima was a strict taskmaster. She always insisted that I did what I was told, at the correct time, in the correct way. I would often argue with her because being orderly was never high on my list of priorities.

Even though I left home very young, I’m sure the way she enforced discipline on me has been crucial.

Above all, Dadima was an educator. She taught many students throughout her life. She taught at government schools, tutored neighborhood kids, and her children. Notable students include yours truly. When I was a child, I remember how she would insist that I sit down around her and do my homework/study. My dad recounts how he and his siblings would spend 5–7 hours a day studying during their summer vacations. Fortunately, I never had to suffer this, but maybe a few more hours studying (mostly arguing about why I didn’t need to study) would not have been so bad.

Dadima grew up during the Partition of India and Pakistan. This was a time of great economic and social unrest. And that’s putting it very mildly. She raised her station, and allowed her children to thrive, through this almost insane dedication to education.

The fact that complete strangers find my writing compelling enough to reach out and connect always messes with me.

Through an interesting twist of fate, I have ended up as a quasi-educator for many of you. You ask me to explain ideas and help you create solutions. Some of you request paper breakdowns. Some of you actually ask for my input on potentially life-changing decisions.

In fact, so many people have reached out to me for mentorship/consultations that I have been unable to work with everyone individually. This was the inspiration behind the creation of my newsletter Coding Interviews Made Simple. It was created to help people get better at Computer Science, advance their careers, and ace their Coding Interviews to land their dream Tech job. Based on the reviews, it has been doing those effectively.

The world has been a mess. We’ve seen mass layoffs, serious political tensions between countries, and climate change wreaking havoc on many lives, all in the last week. Seems like everybody everywhere is going through a lot. The world will need to rebuild, and education will be needed to handle the problems of tomorrow.

That is why I want to help out. I’m giving away One Year of my newsletter to anyone who needs it, completely free of charge. All you need to do is put your email in this Google Form here. I don’t need your personal information, credit card, or even your name. To those of you nervous about clicking on a link, this is what the form looks like

No other personal information is needed.

I’ll gift a one-year premium subscription to all the emails submitted through the form. So if you or someone you know could benefit from the product, share this with them. Education has been a way to success for tons of people and I can’t think of a more fitting way to pay tribute to the life of one of the most influential educators in my life.

I have no interest in gods, heaven, an afterlife, or any such ideas. I’m not going to offer her soul a prayer. I will do my best to make sure that her life on this planet is celebrated appropriately.

Let it be known that Veerbala Sudan died the same way she lived- Magnificently, making a positive difference in the education of an untold number of students.


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