Till death us do not part: Grieving Indian husband has £2,500 life-size silicone dummy of his dead wife made… and says he likes to comb her hair while she is sat in her favourite spot on the sofa
- Retired civil servant Tapas Sandilya, 65, lost wife Indrani amid Covid pandemic
- He commissioned a sculptor to make a life-sized statue of her out of silicone
- The statue, which weighs 66lbs, now sits on their sofa in Tapas’ Kolkata home
An Indian pensioner who lost his wife of 39 years during the Covid-19 pandemic has spent £2,500 (250,000 rupees) on a life-sized replica doll made in her image.
Retired civil servant Tapas Sandilya, 65, commissioned a sculptor to create a silicone statue of his late partner Indrani, who died on May 4, 2021, aged 59.
She passed away alone in hospital as Tapas was forced to isolate at their home in Kolkata during India’s second wave of Covid, which proved far more devastating than the first.
But now Indrani’s likeness sits on the sofa in her favourite spot, adorned in a sari and gold jewellery with her hair coiffed just so by Tapas himself.
Retired civil servant Tapas Sandilya, 65 (left), commissioned a sculptor to create a silicone statue (right) of his late partner Indrani, who died on May 4, 2021, aged 59
Tapas is pictured sitting alongside the silicone statue of his late wife
Tapas told The Times of India that some years ago, he had visited a Hindu temple with his late wife and the pair had marvelled at a particularly lifelike statue of a religious figure.
He said Indrani quipped that if she were to die before him, she would like to have a similar statue made in her image.
While grieving in the months following Indrani’s death, Tapas returned to the same temple where his wife had made the comment and was inspired to follow through.
‘Indrani had told me of her desire for a similar statue of her if she happened to pass away before me. I just wanted to fulfil her wish,’ Tapas claimed.
Now the statue sits in Indrani’s favourite spot, arms folded with a serene expression on her face. It is dressed in an Assamese silk sari that Indrani wore to her son’s wedding reception.
The sculptor, Subimal Das, said it was especially tricky to complete the sculpture of Indrani because he had never met her and could not make any casts
Tapas said his family members were against the idea, but argued that having a statue made in her image to remember her was not much different from people who keep photographs of their late loved ones on display at home.
After months of deliberation, the former civil servant sought out Sculptor Subimal Das, who makes figures out of wax, fibreglass and silicone for public buildings and museums.
Das said the sculpture of Indrani was especially tricky to complete because he had never met her, nor could he make any casts.
Tapas and Das spent days creating a clay model of Indrani’s body, before Das made a 3D image of the dead woman’s face.
‘Nothing less than Indrani’s actual facial expression would do for me. I, after all, lived with her for 39 years,’ Tapas said.
Das pieced together several photos of Indrani, which helped to ensure the statue’s expression was as lifelike as possible.
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