Siddharth Luthra and his mother: However high and mighty I become, for a mother, I am his little baby who suckled her breast and sought protection in her arms, this thought crossed my mind as I saw Siddharth (Senior Adv. Siddharth Luthra, Ex-ASG) pouring ghee over his mother Shrimati Nirmal Luthra’s funeral pyre. I saw in Siddharth a young boy who did whatever in his wherewithal, personally too, and much more to nurse his mother back to health.
As a journalist, one gets to know many of the high and the mighty, people who have the best at one’s disposal, and I have seen many children comforting their parents with the best medical care and comfort (which the parents anyways themselves could have afforded in many cases) but have rarely seen any middle-aged, well to do son spending time and sharing emotions, anecdotes, chatting with their ailing and old parents, Siddharth is an exception.
Holi: Circa 2018: A party at Pinky Anand’s (Senior Advocate; ASG) residence, most people would have left their ailing parents at home, but Siddharth did get along his mother along on the wheelchair, he played a bit of Holi with his mother and he & Ketaki (Siddharth’s wife) didn’t leave by her side as they sat on the lawns of Pinky’s bungalow for a couple of hours as we played Holi, chatting with her and talking to her, my heart was touched I saw the gentler, human and emotional side of Siddharth.
Later, the family members gathered and sat around her and I could see the glint in Siddharth’s mummy’s eyes as he made her the centre of attention and made her feel valued, wanted and loved.
As I got to know Siddharth better, he chatted about his mother on a couple of occasions well over 30 minutes, be how he would drive her mummy down to their Mussoorie bungalow to stay away from the unbearable weather, he even kept his practice at bay (and hence incurring monetary loss) just to spend time with her mother whenever her health dipped, which was often lately.
I also remembering Siddharth, talking about her mother’s medication, how people’s skin dries as they age, what she should eat, what she is eating these days, how her tongue dries up and small reactions to her food and medication. Geeta too, whenever I spoke to her, which was bit lesser than Siddharth (and she will be angry in an affectionate way when she knows this) was keeping a tab on her mother’s health, she was spending nights in the hospital, where her mother was being treated and she spoke at length about her mother and also praised how Siddharth took care of her.
I remember once having coffee with Siddharth at his office, I casually told him, he has had a good cushy life (His father, legal luminary Adv. KK Luthra, had imported a Mercedes Benz from Germany in 1983) and then suddenly the topic shifted to his father, and he said, “Tarun, I lost my father (Senior Advocate KK Luthra) at a very young age, I don’t want to lose my mother, and I saw Siddharth, generally acerbic witty, tough, super confident getting misty-eyed (men have deeper tear ducts in their eyes as compared to women, so tears don’t roll down easily)
He shared with me, how Geeta (Senior Advocate Geeta Luthra, his sister) supported him through and through, even financially in the early days of his practice, running his office and the struggle Geeta herself underwent to make her career and support his.
Later, on one occasion when we were chatting, and I questioned him that recently he took away time from practice to look after his mother, turning down financially lucrative cases, and this fact is now being discussed even at the bar, Siddharth told me, “Tarun, after you earn a certain amount of money, money loses relevance, my mother is always the first priority”.
Once when I met him shortly after my interview with Mr. Raian Karanjawala was aired, he told me the immense regard, respect and affection he had for Mr. Karanjawala(Raian Karanjawala, the founder of Karanjawala & Co, India’s numero uno litigation law firm) and how Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi was affectionate to him too.
And Siddharth made a powerful comment, “When your powerful father dies, only then does the family know who their true friends are, most are Gone the wind,” as I could see a little boy’s pain and hurt in Siddharth’s eyes as he continued to speak of his struggle years and friends and loving uncles who simply turned their backs after Senior Advocate KK Luthra was no more.
At this juncture, memory fails me as I wish to remember the many more things Siddharth told me about his mother, maybe I should start keeping a diary. But there is one thing I would say: Nirmal Kumari ji, sitting In heaven, would be saying, “I am proud of you my son!”
– Tarun Nangia is the host of Legally Speaking, Associate Editor (Special Projects) ITV Group.
(P.S: I wrote this piece on my phone standing by Srimati Nirmal Luthra’s funeral pyre, I require your indulgence as any emotional excesses may be deemed excused.)