Tapas Sandilya, a 65-year-old retired government employee, spent 250,000 rupees (approximately $3,000) on a silicone statue resembling his late.
Sandilya’s wife Indrani passed away in May 2021 during India’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sandilya was in isolation at the time of his wife’s passing. As a result, the 59-year-old died with no one at her side.
In a statement to Times of India, Sandilya recalled a memory of visiting the Iskcon temple in Mayapur with his wife and seeing the statue of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami a decade ago.
Upon seeing the lifelike statue, Indrani communicated her desire for a similar statue in the case that she passed away before him.
He worked with sculptor Subimal Das, who primarily creates museum replicas, for six months to bring the vision to life.
Sitting in her favorite spot of the living room is the completed replica, made of silicone and weighing 30kg (approximately 66 pounds) and dressed in the silk sari that Indrani wore to her son’s wedding reception.
“I had to work with Subimal for the clay-molding phase, as nothing less than Indrani’s actual facial expression would do for me. I, after all, lived with her for 39 years,” stated Sandilya.
“If we can keep framed photographs at home after someone’s death, why not a statue?”
Sandilya’s family did not approve of the statue at first but eventually gave in.
Indrani’s tailor also assisted in accomplishing the project, as he knew Indrani’s exact measurements.
“Everything had to be a perfect fit,” Sandilya said.
“My wife died on May 4, 2021, and I just wanted to fulfill her wish.”