Have taken the liberty of posting an obituary notice by Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava on the Air Force India Group:
“Mrs VMA Das (Twinx), wife of Late Gp Capt Suranjan Das died at about 2030 hrs, 28 December 2010. Mrs Veronica Das was 88 years old. Most of us remember Gp Capt Das and hero worshipped him for the ace test pilot that he was. He had test flown the Marut for its maiden flight and carried out its development till it was introduced into service. Apart from many other types, he had flown the Midge, forerunner of the Gnat, helped develop the Gnat for IAF at Chilbolton in the UK, and did the maiden flight of the HJT-16, Kiran. The annual graduation dinner of Test Pilots and Flight Test Engineers is named after him. Mrs Veronica Das had been an honoured guest at each of these dinners till the last few years. She was eminent in her own right as a social worker.
Mrs Das had been vomiting since the night of 26 December. The following morning she was taken to the Command Hospital (CHAF) where an endoscopy could not be carried out due to the doctor being away on Temporary Duty. She was shifted to HAL Hospital at 1500 hrs by some of her friends. She took a turn for the worse later in the night and was admitted into the Manipal Hospital. By the time she reached it, her condition was very bad and the doctors gave her just a few hours to live. He stepson Bhaity from Kolkata, and another relative of her late husband were present at the end.
Mrs Das was in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during WW II. She met Gp Capt Suranjan Das while working at Folland Aircraft Ltd, Chilbolton, and later married him. Tragically, Gp Capt Das died in an air crash in January 1970. Mrs Das stayed on in Bangalore and committed herself to significant charitable work.
As a volunteer, Mrs Das served on the Executive Committees of the Deaf Aid Society and Bangalore’s Cheshire Home for many years. She became the head of the Cheshire Home in Bangalore, a part of the Leonard Cheshire International. She retired from it a few years ago. With her single minded devotion she was amazingly successful in transforming the lives of its wards for the better. She was not only hero worshipped by them but many treated her like a child does a mother.
The morning after her demise in the hospital, a paraplegic person, Dhanalakshmi, who works in Manipal Hospital, was seen in tears all the time. She was abandoned by her father when she was 7 years old and eventually landed up in the Cheshire Home where Mrs Das educated and motivated her to finish graduation. Dhanalkshmi tearfully said that Mrs Das was the only mother she knew and that she saw God through her. Mrs Das was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her work in India, especially with the Cheshire Home.
Mrs Veronica Das was intelligent, immensely energetic, independent and eternally on the move. She lived alone at her home ‘Suranica’, a name derived from three letters each from her husband and her own first names. Suranica is located on Varthur Road, Nagavara, very close to ASTE officers’ colony Vishwa Vihar, off Old Madras Road.
Information on any rites and the funeral will be circulated as soon as it becomes available. May her soul rest in peace!
PS. Message adapted from its originator Mr Vivek Bopiah, a member of Mrs Das’ bridge group. It was he who met Dahnalakshmi as mentioned above, not the person who repeated his message without amending it. We are grateful for his prompt message and evocation of Mrs Das’s charitable work in India. She was a personal friend and I am really sad at her passing. I have added some additional information to the obituary from memory.- Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava (Retd).”