In Kolkata, a 65-year-old man created a silicone statue of his wife who passed away from COVID in 2021. The surprisingly lifelike statue, which cost Rs 2.5 lakh to construct, is perched on a sofa in his wife's favourite room of their house.
It is covered in an Assamese silk sari that the woman had worn at her son's wedding reception and weighs about 30 kg, wearing her favourite gold jewellery.
However, this was not just the grieving husband's wish to honour his deceased wife; it was also his wife's wish. In an interview with Times of India, Tapas Sandilya described how his late wife Indrani had wished for a statue to be created in her honour "We visited the Iskcon temple in Mayapur a decade ago and could not stop admiring the lifelike statue of the order's founder, AC Bhaktivedanta Swami. It was then Indrani had told me of her desire for a similar statue (of hers) if she happened to pass away before me."
"My wife died on May 4, 2021, and I just wanted to fulfil her wish."
The statue was created by Subimal Das, a sculptor best known for his silicone replicas for museums. He told the publication that it took him six months to complete Indrani's statue, which he described as one of his most difficult projects. "It was absolutely necessary for the statue to have a realistic facial expression," he said.
Das and Sandilya collaborated to find the perfect expression.
"I had to work with Subimal (Das) for the clay-moulding phase as nothing less than Indrani's actual facial expression would do for me. I, after all, lived with her for 39 years," Sandilya said. "My wife would always get her clothes done by him and he knew the exact measurements. Everything had to be a perfect fit," he added.
However, Sandilya clarified that not all of the family members approved of the statue.
"My family was strictly opposed to the idea of installing such a life-like sculpture, but gave in. Some of my relatives and neighbours helped," he told the publication. "If we can keep framed photographs at home after someone's death, why not a statue?"
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