Moy, With Whom It All Began
17 November 1989 – 30 July 2018
Moy Moy Chopra-McGowan’s is a story we never tire of telling. She was her mother’s thirteenth pregnancy, almost destined for an abortion but through a series of serendipitous events, born along the side of a frosty road in remote Garhwal, instead. Unwanted, three months premature, with no medical attention. What are the chances of surviving something like that? But Moy survived, and with the loving care of her doting adoptive family, grew to thrive. In early childhood, despite her delayed milestones, she could walk independently, tell stories and jokes, eat her favourite things, and play. She had a naughty sense of humour that cracked up all around her, like the time she yelled ‘GARAM CHAI!’ during a solemn Church service one cold Sunday.
Over the years, Moy stopped speaking, walking, moving and swallowing. Jo and Ravi, her parents, continued to dress her in bright, lovely clothes, make cool hairstyles, feed her through a tube in her stomach, chat with her, read to her, watch the evening news with her, and take her everywhere they could. Every day, they made a path for her because there was none. Being nicely dressed like her siblings, going to school and college, being with family and friends, having birthday parties — Moy wasn’t just the family darling, she was an individual with the same rights and entitlements as her neurotypical siblings. And because it was a matter of course in her family, everyone around her also related to her similarly, chatting, asking her opinions, and making room for her even though she didn’t respond in the usual ways.
By the time she passed, Moy had been immobile and silent for several years, but had long before inspired the Latika Roy Foundation — a school for disabled kids, an early intervention centre, a vocational training centre, an inclusive play centre, private-public partnerships, corporate engagement for the greater good, and dozens of other services for thousands of kids and adults with disability and their families, most of who would never be able to access or afford them. With a profound disability and total vulnerability, Moy changed the world in a way few can, before leaving us suddenly and peacefully, her work done, on July 30.
Sleep with the angels, dearest Moy. Thank you for your life, your lessons, and your legacy.