When I was a little boy in the early 60s – it must have been in '64 or '65, an obituary used to appear in the Malayala Manorama Daily every year. I think it kept on appearing till mid-70s. Either I would have forgotten to look or it stopped being published. Anyway, I am sure that it hasn't come since the 80s. It was a black and white picture of a beautiful young mother with a western kind of hairstyle of the 50s.
Those who are familiar with Phantom Comics would remember Ms Diana Palmer, Phantom's girl friend and later wife, who was an Olympic diver. It was kind of bobbed, fluffed above the forehead and reached upto shoulders. This lady had the same hairstyle as that of Diana. ( Now, my young friends, laugh if you wish, but Phantom was our staple diet in the 60's. Beautiful comic books, comic strips in Sunday edition of Malayala Manorma, in the Illustrated Weekly – how I miss Illustrated Weekly – every issue would carry one SINGLE picture of a scantily-clad woman – usually in a bikini – my sister and I would conspiratorially giggle looking at it - it was very rare to see the kind of pictures that are common now.
Sorry, I have digressed. This mother and child, yes. The box said - 'In Memoriam', above the picture. The mother sat slightly turned towards her left. The young child sat on her lap. I remember she had a beautiful profile. I have forgotten her name, but beneath the photo it said - SS Dara – 1961.
A couple of months back, I remembered them. I googled SS DARA and there it was! On 8th April 1961, the S S Dara was on its way from
This young mother and child must have been passengers in it. I tried tracing them through a journalist friend in Malayala Manorama, but their archives haven't been digitized that way back; he has said he would give it a try. One day I casually mentioned this to my colleagues in the Bank, and Susan, in her late 50s, said she too remembered them. What a coincidence! Susan even remembered their names; Gloria and Sayu mol.
Sometime back I had written about how seemingly unimportant incidents cling on in our memory. A face there, a face here, a flower here, a breeze there. I agree with you when you pooh-pooh all this sentimental mush. Absolutely meaningless. Quite likely the lady's husband too would have passed away. There might not be any family. Even if there is, how many would remember or care to remember something that happened 50 years ago?
Well, I would, if you don't mind. SS Dara is part of my boyhood, my life. I wish they weren't dead, that beautiful mother and sweet child. I remember a young boy of 7 or 8 lying on the floor and reading the newspaper spread before him. His chin supported by the left palm, the right, holding down the paper, he swung his calves alternately and gazed at the picture with pain in his heart. I love that boy; therefore I cannot forget SS Dara.
M.V. Dara was a British Indian Steam Navigation Company liner, built in 1948, Barclay, Curle and Co; 5,030 tons 398.7 x 54.8; 14 knotts; oil engines.
REPORT From HMS Buldog 22/05/70: -
RAF Search and Rescue: -
First Hand Account of Events: -
Diving on Dara
This is a recent account of the wreck. Kindly provided,on the 10/12/06, by Doug Fontaine who is a current member of the 406 club. Thanks Doug.
SINKING OF THE M.V. "DARA"
For some nice paintings of ships, further BI information, livery & insignia, click on the above link to view their site.