“I will not diminish you by saying thank you.”

Little cousin

We are fundraising for my little cousin sister, Doyel, to help her fight cancer. You can read about her ordeal in my blog:

Kindness of Strangers.

I urge you to please donate/share the following link to your social media pages to help her prevent cancer.


Although we have a long way to go to fund her entire 30 months of extremely expensive medicines to prevent the relapse of her cancer, we have been touched by strangers’ kindness. People around the world have donated money to Doyel and shared the link to raise visibility to the cause and raise funds. When Doyel heard about the expenses of her medicine, she balked. Unless one is a millionaire, how can one afford medication that costs $3850 a month? But one of her friends, who is truly a guardian angel, Arundhati, decided she will start a crowdfunding initiative. Doyel needed to be convinced and finally she agreed to try.

My cousin sister is fighting the real enemy, the big C, valiantly while we are fighting alongside her trying to procure the necessary medicine. Interestingly enough, complete strangers joined our ragtag army and we are seeing progress. All of you who helped by donating, sharing, sending her good wishes, saying a prayer for her, helped her in her fight. We request you to continue to spread the word. I do not know whether we can raise enough funds to cover the cost of her meds for 30 months but we know we will give it our best shot. And with your help we can come close.

“Thank you bole toke chhoto korbo na.” (I will not diminish you by saying thank you). Doyel said those words to me as we discussed fundraising to fight her cancer. And with those words she ushered in sentiments that men and women my age or older, grew up with in India. I have long moved over to the world of “thank you”s and “I love you”s but I did not grow up with them. I was not taught to say the words thank you when receiving something. That may seem shocking and/or uncivilized to Western world, but then they will miss the sentiment behind giving and receiving in my world.

So how did we show gratitude when we received something? We smiled and we gushed how much that object or word or gesture meant to us, how much we loved it. It was, and among my family members still is, unacceptable to say thank you for a generous deed, word or gift. You don’t thank your own, you simply love them and they know. There is no right or wrong about it, this is just a difference in culture. The sentiment of gratitude and appreciation are conveyed in different ways – by words in some countries and by gestures in others.

You, kind people, all are my own. I will not diminish you by simply saying “thank you”. I think you are absolutely amazing to join in the fight for life of someone that you have never met. I say you are amazing for showing empathy, for showing grace to a fellow human in need. I say you make this pandemic ridden world beautiful by showing that compassion is greater than any calamity.

I bow to the divinity in you.


Please share the link to raise funds to cover Doyel’s medicine so can beat cancer once and for all.


Kindness of strangers

I know it is a lot to ask for a stranger to show kindness towards yet another complete stranger and I would have hesitated to ask if life was not at stake. So this blog is going to be about a fundraiser for my cousin, Doyel Choudhury, who is fighting for her life. I call her cousin, yet when we were growing up in our Kolkata, the line between cousin and sibling was blurry. Since she could talk she was a wild child. I was 6 years older than her and determined to teach her good manners. When 3 year old Doyel did something naughty, 9 year old me would gently chastise her, “You have done that. That was wrong. Say sorry.” Little Doyel would raise her lovely little face up to me and say, “Na sorry bolbo na.” (I won’t say sorry). Her spirit was indomitable. She used this spirit in every aspect of life – her singing, her dance, zumba, her relationships.

That spirit came in handy when she decided to take on cancer. All the indication she received that the big C has taken hold of her body was a little shortness of breath. She had difficulty breathing when she walked. The prognosis, after trips to cardiologist, internist and finally oncologist was metastatic ovarian cancer. The indomitable spirit that kept us in awe her entire life of 43 years took on the fight.

She was definitely not going to go gently into the night. 12 hours of complicated surgery later, 4 or 5 times of more operations to fight infections later she was declared in remission. However, here is the catch though. They discovered the condition is genetic and in order to prevent a relapse she needed to take a medicine for 30 months. Each month’s medication cost 240,000 Indian rupees ($3180). This is beyond her means.

Some of you who read my blogs do not know me at all. And you have no reason to trust me. However, I am appealing to your kindness today because my beautiful, 43 year old, mother of my lovely niece, daughter of my ailing aunt, cousin (sister) is fighting to prevent cancer. I can not be with her or do anything for her. The least I can do is share her crowdfunding initiative so we can raise enough money for her medication. I share this now because the campaign will match 15% of every contribution made today and tomorrow. The link to contribute is below. Thank you for considering.