There is no need or desire to say goodbye to Beeji.
She is engraved in our memories, characters, and personalities, so we can't say farewell to what is a part of us.

This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved Beeji (mother, grandmother, great-grandmother) who left our world on January 25, 2019.

Over the last week, our entire family has reflected on what Beeji meant to us.  We are fortunate to have countless memories, stories, pictures, and videos that date back to a very long time ago, and remind us how important and active she was in our lives.  As our minds relive and replay these moments, it becomes very difficult to quantify or articulate the exact impact she had on us, but Beeji did and will always have an everlasting effect on our lives.  

Beeji (Smt. Raj Kumari Uppal, maiden name Nanda) was born on December 5, 1927 in Eminabad, Gujranwala in the province of West Punjab in British India (current day Pakistan.)  After the Indian Independence and India-Pakistan Partition in August 1947, she and her family were forced to leave their home (and leave behind almost every belonging they had) and move to the newly formed India – all this at the age of 20.  Later that year in December 1947, she married Sri Lajpat Rai Uppal at the age of 20 in the Jalandhar City, Punjab.  

Her next years were dedicated towards raising her 5 children and her extended family, in their home located in the narrow streets of Jalandhar’s central main bazaar. My Grandfather passed away on June 16, 1979 at the age of 58, when Beeji was only 51, and shortly after Beeji moved to Canada to be with her family and provide support in raising her grandchildren. Also around the same time, she embraced a life fully devoted to God and spirituality.  Beeji lived in Canada continuously for almost 25 years.  As she got older, she split her time between Canada and India, eventually fully settling in India.  At the age of 91, she peacefully left our world to be with God which was a critical part of her life on earth.

Beeji had a huge impact on my life (grandson Kamal Uppal) and I wanted to share some moments.

She took care of me starting from when I was a baby, and all the way through middle school.  She would walk us to school, take us for haircuts (the infamous “Summer-Cut” hairstyle), visit our local bank branch to update our paper deposit books together, and treat us to ice cream from the tricycle ice-cream guy (my favourite was the chocolate baseball-glove with gumball centre.)  She exposed us to culture, language, food, religion and even history, a lot of which I learned through a project I did on her in highschool.  Most importantly, she was always there for us in any capacity she could be. Beeji was also my first business partner, when in 1991 we joined forces to deliver the local Pennysaver in Ottawa South – together we would compile the papers, and hand deliver them to all the households on our route (rain or snow would never slow us down.)

As I grew older, she expanded into a friend who I could discuss almost anything with, and I think she felt the same in return.  During my late high school and university co-ops days in Ottawa, I would sometimes get home late, which happened to align with Beeji’s wake up time as she was an extremely early riser.  The next day when my parents would ask when I got home, Beeji would support and vouch for my 11:30 PM story (when it was actually 3 AM).  I remember taking her grocery shopping (often to what she called “Labu-di-Hatti” which translates to “Labu’s Shop” but more accurately known as Loblaws) after getting my license at 16; she had an extremely regimented vegetarian diet and never ate outside food, and looking back that type of diet is the basis of all recommended healthy eating plans today. She liked specific items and was loyal to brands such as Irish Springs soap (the green bar), Zero-brand laundry detergent, large navel oranges, almond extract Oil, and Seiko watches to name a few, but held very minimal possessions. 

Flash forward several years ahead, I vividly remember when Beeji visited me in my downtown condo.  The two of us went for walk along Lake Ontario; as she always did, Beeji inquired about my life and work, always boosting my achievements and capabilities to the highest possible level. That day was equivalent to 2 old friends catching up after seeing each other after a long time – it didn’t matter when we met last and conversation flowed as if it were yesterday.

Now the year has become 2019 and me and my entire family (including our 2 young children) were all set to visit Beeji in India this March. Unfortunately, God decided that he needed her more than us. It took me a while to get over this missed opportunity to be with her, but there are things in this world we can't control. Nitu reminded me that I have so many amazing memories and moments with Beeji, including her full participation in our wedding in 2012 when she last visited Canada.  It feels like yesterday, and I still remember the genuine happiness within her at that time.  Many of our friends and family will recall Beeji dancing the night away at the reception (full dance circles and all) into the wee hours of the morning.

As the days turned to months, which turn to years and decades all very quickly, we are left with a lot of memories. As I reflected on all these moments, I realized there is no need or desire to say goodbye to Beeji.  She is engraved in my memories, character, and personality so I can't say farewell to what is a part of me.  

Beeji leaves behind a large legacy through all her children and family.  My son Shaan still says “Beeji’s in India” after a Facetime conversation he and sister Lara had last year with her – this just shows the everlasting impact she has on everyone.  

She was everyone's Beeji.

Please feel free to share any memories or stories on this page, either through words and/or pictures & video.

Posted by Amit Bhandaro on 1st February 2019
I am one of those fortunate people whom had a chance to serve her for couple of days in canada with me. She taught me stability of thought ,self reliance and above all faith in Supreme .... She will always be in our hearts.
Posted by Naresh Abrol on 31st January 2019
I have fond memories of my respected Mammiji. She was just like my mother. My dear nephew Kamal has written a very eloquent tribute to her. For such a small person, she had a giant heart. I was very fortunate to know her as a very spiritual individual. She lived her life in her definition. My wife Aarti got to know her also. They got very close right after my marriage. She was more than a member of our family. No one can fill the gap that is left by her departure. We will always cherish her great moments spent with us. May God rest her soul in peace.

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