Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Susee Mable and Friend, 1960s

Susee Mable and friend, Andhra Pradesh (1960s) 
© Anandaraju Family Archives


Posted by: Suhasini

Thursday, April 13, 2017

In Remembrance

Susee Mable and Solomon Injety,
SDA General Conference, Indiana, 1990
(photograph: Ethel Injety)

She was a rugged Christian with dynamic faith. She was an eloquent and relentless crusader for righteousness in the family and the small selected contacts she owned. She kept all evil doers far away from her and that is why she had God fearing people as her few friends.

She always spoke with courage, with deepest human understanding, and with stimulating hope. To know her was to love her. Yes a two year vision of your hope dim vision is becoming clearer: why she left us in a hurry. She was a champion of God's mold. What she did for you was in a hurry and taught you clearly how to follow. We loose best things fast.

I want to join with you today with these thoughts, celebrating my pleasant memories of my beloved child of God. To me her life is an every day celebration, an inspiration. All three of you rejoice in the Lord Always. Happy Anniversary.

Love, Bavaiah Solomon Injety

Susee Mable, Ethel Margaret and Solomon Injety
Hyderabad, India, 1974

Photographs: © Anandaraju Family Archives

In Memoriam

© Anandaraju Family Archives

Our life with our beloved Susee Mable (wife to Pamula and mother to Anil and Suha) was a blessed, happy and unforgettable journey. We wouldn't trade one minute of it for the world. Two years on, RIP darling Mummy.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”—John 14:1-4

Forever, Pamula, Anil and Suha

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Susee Mable with Family and Friends (1966)

Susee Mable (far right) and friends with
Victoriamma (far left) and Pastor M. Benjamin (back)
© Anandaraju Family Archives


Posted by: Suhasini

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Victoriamma M. Benjamin: In Memoriam

Thirty-one years ago, on Wednesday March 26, 1986, my mother Susee Mable's beloved mother, Victoriamma passed away in a Narsapur hospital in Andhra Pradesh, India.

The day my grandmother died is forever etched in my memory because the pure, consecrated, unwavering and unconditional love my mother felt for her mother was so palpable. Upon hearing of her mother's passing, Mum whispered, "No, please no" and collapsed to the ground. Her heart broken, she was inconsolable with grief.

Victoriamma M. Benjamin © Anandaraju Family Archives

My grandmother was born Veeramma Tanukula (her Christian name was "Victoriamma") on September 26, 1913 to a loving family in the village of Chilukuru (West Godavari district). Her parents were Isaiah and Mariamma Tanukula. She had an older sister named Gnanaratnamma (Gangamma) and a younger brother named Israel.

On June 26, 1926, she married Mylabathula Benjamin an elementary school teacher who became an ordained minister in the South Asian Adventist Mission for over forty years. They remained loyal and faithful partners for nearly six decades. Victoriamma was a devoted mother, a servant of God, a kind sister, loving friend and trusted neighbour. Together with her husband, she raised eight children in the pre and post WWII era on a meager mission pastor's salary. Though she had an elementary school education, she was an active member of her church and community and was known for her hospitality and kindness. She never turned anyone away whether they were friends or destitute villagers seeking a meal or a place to rest. She was a mother and sister to all.

As a young mother, Victoriamma (or "Mamma", as I called her) sadly lost three children prematurely. A baby boy and girl both passed away shortly after birth while her first born Victor died just shy of his twentieth birthday in 1952. Victor's loss was one Victoriamma could never come to terms with. She was plagued with grief for decades. When she lost my grandfather in 1984, my grandmother literally lost her will to live.

Pastor M. Benjamin and Victoriamma
on their wedding anniversary © Anandaraju Family Archives

My mother and grandmother loved each other so deeply. They were good friends and in many ways a mother and daughter to each other. I remember Mum gushing over Mamma's cooking, her folksy quips, her devout faith and her unrelenting kindness. They held onto each other's words with relish and adoration. My mother without a doubt inherited her mother's sense of compassion but also her sense of humour, curiosity and zest for life.

Losing Victoriamma was such a profound loss for our family, oh but what a legacy of love and light she left behind. RIP beloved Mamma you are forever remembered and loved.

Posted by: Suhasini

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Toronto Zoo, 1979




With Mum at the helm, ours was a happy family life.

She brought so much love and joy into our lives and taught us to explore our world with curiosity and kindness. Our first trip to the Toronto Zoo in 1979, filled with giraffes, monkeys, lions and aquatic life (among others), was an absolute delight; and not just because of our animal friends but because of Mum's cheerful spirit and wide-eyed wonder. She was a treasure, and not just as a wife and mother but as a nurse, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a human being and a child of God.

We enjoyed every minute of our time together.

Posted by: Suhasini;
Photograph by: Raju (Dad), © Anandaraju Family Archives

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Always and Forever

Our Beloved Valentine
© Anandaraju Family Archives


Posted by: Suhasini

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Susee Mable: Hyderabad, 1974

Susee Mable in Hyderabad, 1974
© Anandaraju Family Archives

Posted by: Suhasini

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pastor M. Benjamin: In Memoriam

Pastor M. Benjamin September 18, 1905 - January 21, 1984
with Mrs. Victoriamma and Susee Mable in 1974

On January 21, 1984, thirty-three years ago to the day, my mother's precious father—my beloved grandfather, Pastor M. Benjamin passed away in Nuzvid, Andhra Pradesh, India. Three decades may have passed, but there has not been one day where his name hasn't been mentioned in our home. He remains the unshakable, unforgettable and revered figure head of our family.

Mrs. Victoriamma and Pastor M. Benjamin
with grandchildren Anil and Suha

Born Mylabathula Benjamin on September 18, 1905* to a loving Lutheran family in the village of Agarthipalem (West Godavari district), my grandfather’s devotion to Christ was a calling he heeded from an early age. Always one to follow his heart and think outside the box, he converted to Adventism in his youth and later became an ordained and venerated pastor within the South Asian Adventist mission for over four decades. Before joining the clergy, my grandfather initially served as an elementary school teacher within the mission. Dedicated also to a lifestyle of health and wellness, he received his “Diploma of Licentiate of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery” on September 4, 1944. He married Victoriamma (Veeramma) née Tanukula on June 26, 1926, a bond that lasted nearly 58 years.  

Pastor M. Benjamin and
Susee Mable in 1959
My grandfather (Thathia) was not only a man of great faith but one of principle, integrity and compassion. He offered his time, counsel and literally the food off of his plate to any soul in need. No one was ever turned away from his home nor did he ever turn his back on anyone: including those anguished from leprosy and cast off from their communities—famished for food, companionship and hope. In Pastor Mylabathula Benjamin, congregants and fellow villagers found a friend, a leader, a brother and a surrogate father.

And what a father he was. Bursting with love and slow to anger, my grandfather was a patient, kind and thoughtful man who alongside his devoted wife—raised, educated and established their large brood on a meager mission pastor’s salary in the pre and post WWII era.

My mother adored her parents and they in turn revered and appreciated her. Theirs was a close and loving relationship. They were kindred spirits, soul mates and best friends. Like her father before her, my mother Susee Mable was an avid letter writer. Although separated by continents and oceans, they wrote to each other almost every week for a decade, until he passed away on that awful Saturday in January 1984. And what glorious letters they were: they told stories, shared histories, spoke of hardships, hopes and at times heartbreaking hurt. Whenever those lovely blue aerogrammes—the only paper that my granddad wrote on—arrived in the post, it was akin to Christmas morning for my mother. 

My grandfather was a meticulous record keeper who documented family history as diligently as he studied scripture. He lived simply but there was a majesty and elegance to his modest ways.

Pastor M. Benjamin who carried a bible and an umbrella everywhere he went, never sought handouts or became susceptible to the pitfalls of status or influence that venerated community leaders sometimes fall prey to. He was the antithesis of vanity and indulgence and throughout his life remained as strong and courageous as he was wise and humble. In 1952, he lost his beloved first born son Victor at the age of 19. It was a loss he bravely coped with but could never come to terms with. 

My mother experienced the same heart-wrenching grief when she heard of her father's passing that January night in 1984. She fell to her knees and wept in our arms. I vividly recall the last time my mother saw her father. It was in October 1981 at Vijayawada Junction railway station (in Andhra Pradesh). My grandfather sobbed inconsolably. It was as if he instinctively knew that it would be the last time he'd see his precious daughter. I remember hearing his heartbreaking wails as our train sped off. My brother and I were only eight and nine years of age but we understood how much my mother and grandparents loved each other. It was a love for the ages, imprinted in their souls. Losing her father, like the loss of her mother two years later was a pain like no other but my grandfather had given her the love and assurance that they would always be united in spirit. It's what my mother did for us. It's how we've been able to cope with her loss.

My family has been blessed to have these lovely beacons of love and light in our journey. So here's to them and the peace and happiness they deserve together in that better place above.

A letter written by my mother upon the
passing of her beloved father in 1984.

Posted by: Suhasini
*All dates were verified by Pastor M. Benjamin's handwritten letters.

Photographs: © Anandaraju Family Archives

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Friends and Classmates

Susee Mable with friends and fellow students from
King George Hospital School of Nursing,
Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, India (1960s)

Posted By: Suhasini
© Anandaraju Family Archives

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Angel

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Day 1979


















December 25, 2014 was our last Christmas with our beloved Chantoda/Susee Mable—loving mother to Anil and Suha and beloved wife to P.D. Anandaraju. And it was a glorious one. Despite Mum's illness, we had a happy day filled with love, laughter, music and joy. I did my best to cook the Indian feast she always prepared for us every holiday season. It was my turn to step up and luckily, she had taught me everything I needed to know well in advance. In fact, she'd been preparing me my whole life. The tree was radiant and overflowing with gifts. The first photograph above is from our last Christmas Eve together and is unintentionally apt. Like the angel on the tree with the radiant lights—Mum was our Christmas Angel, always shining bright. She was the heart and soul of our family.

The second photograph is from Christmas 1979. I remember vividly, Mum asking my brother and I to wait for her to at least get out of bed before we ripped the carefully selected Christmas paper off of the gifts—just so she could see the joy on our faces. It was one of those rare moments where she sat still unencumbered by all the cooking, scripture/prayer activities, guest-welcoming and telephone handling duties that occupied her day. Three hundred and sixty five days a year she was busy but we always came first, especially on December 25th. We weren't greeted with just one or two gifts, there would be several beautifully wrapped packages waiting for us under the tree. How did my parents do it? It was beyond me. Mum was such a great planner and organizer. And never once did she spare a thought for herself. For Mum, Christmas was all about looking after her family and for the rest of us Christmas was and still is synonymous with my mother. She was Christmas. She made those happy times possible. She breathed them to life, just by being herself and trying so hard.

PS: Can you spot the Sacred Heart Jesus pic on top of the television set? That image, introduced to our family by my mother, has been with us from the very beginning (it was with Mum until the end in the hospital too) and still takes center stage in our living room. Also, Dad was our family photographer back in the day, it's why he rarely features in our childhood photos.

Posted by: Suhasini
© Anandaraju Family Archives

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dream Come True

Susee Mable age 6
(Flaiz Memorial Adventist School circa 1947)

© Anandaraju Family Archives

Ever since I was a kid, I have longed for a photograph of my beloved mother as a little girl. To have just one glimpse of her in childhood would have made my life. Of course, we had wonderful and iconic photographs of my mother during her teens and twenties but never one from her girlhood. Amid my desperate pleas, Mum would often lovingly console me:

"Not everyone had cameras back then, Amma. That's just how those days were."


Flash forward to October 2016: an inconspicuous visit by a family member living in the U.S. to an old friend paved the way for my lifelong dream to come true. My relative stumbled upon an old black and white school photo circa 1947 at the home of his friend. As school photos go, it was standard fare with rows of neatly groomed teachers and students in classic school day poses. As my uncle searched for familiar faces, the sweet-faced little girl at the bottom of the photograph made him stop in his tracks. My uncle excitedly exclaimed:

"That's Chanty! I remember that little face." 

His old friend as it turned out was one of my mother's former teachers from her Adventist alma mater, Flaiz Memorial (grades 1-12) in Narsapur, India during the late 1940s. This retired school teacher had the holy grail that I had spent four decades looking for. 


My uncle, kindly made a copy and sent the priceless photograph to my dumbfounded family.

My brother, father and I wept tears of joy, and in one instant: felt such deep and abiding love for (and from Mum) and relived the heartache and immediacy of her loss. It was such a powerful moment, one that we shall never forget.

For me, receiving my mother's childhood photo was both a gift and a dream come true. An heirloom for the ages. It was like a message from my mother across time and space. I had spent decades praying, wishing and searching for her childhood photograph and it somehow found its way back to me.

Not only did I get to see what my mother looked like as a child but it confirmed what my mother has told me all my life:

"I looked just like you did, Amma!"

Suha on the left (first two photos), circa late 1970s
and Susee on the right, circa late 1940s


She truly did. The photograph above leaves me speechless. A carbon copy of how I looked in kindergarten. It's as if I existed in a photograph thirty years before my time.

My mother and I were so close. She was my best friend and the love of my life. It's as if heaven sent Mum back to me.

I waited over four decades for my dream to come true. It was worth the wait.


Posted by: Suhasini

Friday, October 14, 2016

Our Lovely Lady

Mum age 16, at the Godavari Bridge (1957)

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
love leaves a memory no one can steal."
—Old Irish proverb

Posted by: Suhasini
© Anandaraju Family Archives
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