Pushpa Metha (nee Gathani)
by Indira Bhansali nee Gathani, sister
My Sister Pushpa, who died on the 15th July 2011, lived her life to it's fullest extent. She was born in Nairobi, Kenya and was the third daughter and fourth child to Bachulal and Narbekuvar Gathani.
Pushpa Mehta (nee Gathani) had a very happy, exciting childhood, within a large extended family, where education and caring for others was very important. She was rasied differently from other girls born of our generation who were moderately educated and married off in their teens and early twenties. Our Father was very progressive and thought that girls were future mothers and so should be further educated so that knowledge was passed down to future generations and thereafter the world. Our Father was a businessman and a politician so there was always talk of current affairs and politics in the house.
Pushpa was educated at the Dr. Ribero Goan school in Nairobi, a co-education, Christian school and we encountered a western style schooling. In 1958, Pushpa came to the UK for further studies at the Collegiate School, in Winterbourne, Bristol. This boarding school was founded in 1903 and was ecumenical and multi-faith school, accepting pupils from Europe, Africa, Asia and Central America. After finishing her O-levels, Pushpa embarked on a legal career. She studied law at Lincoln's Inn.
Life in the 1960s was very exciting for Pushpa. During her student days, she was a member of various societies, such as the Commonwealth Society, and attended a number of debates and lectures at the Inns of Court. After being called to the Bar and so completing her studies, she returned to Nairobi and took up her first job as a lawyer. After a year, Pushpa joined Daly and Figgis, a European Law Firm and after a couple of years she made partner. She was the first female, Indian partner at a European firm in Nairobi. This was a remarkable achievement as she was living in a male dominated, racially discriminating country.
In 1976 she married Niru Mehta, a Dentist. She carried on working as a lawyer even after the birth of her daughter Maya. She worked for Brent Council, the Royal Courts of Justice and finally another law firm in Hackney, London. She successfully combined work and career until she retired. She spent her retirement, keeping up her interest in current affairs, by religiously reading the newspaper, watching her much loved BBC Newsnight and developed a taste for foreign news especially the Chinese CCTV news and Al Jazeera. She loved socialising, practising yoga and seeing friends and family.
Pushpa was very well-travelled. Her outlook on life always remained very broadminded and always had a big smile and made witty remarks. She was caring and kind. I shall miss her laughter and telephone conversations as I have lost my best friend as well as a sister.
She is survived by her husband Niru, daughter Maya and six siblings, including myself (Indira), sister Geeta, brother Batuk and three other brothers Hatish, Bipin and Suresh who were all fellow Goan school students.