MM Kaye ashes lie in lake

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By AMIT ROY in London
  • Published 5.03.06

London, March 5: In a brief but dignified ceremony which reflected her abiding love for India, the ashes of Mary Margaret (“Mollie”) Kaye, author of The Far Pavilions, were scattered in the waters of Lake Pichola in Udaipur at the weekend.

This was in accordance with her own wishes and those of her family.

Kaye was born in India in Shimla on August 21, 1908, moved “reluctantly” to Britain in 1947 at Indian Independence and died, aged 95, on January 29, 2004 ? a year before a musical version of her novel opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London with her blessings.

The ashes were taken to Udaipur, which Kaye visited in the early 1970s to do the research for her 1,000-page novel, by Michael Ward who produced the musical, and his wife, Elaine.

They hired a Kashmiri houseboat on Saturday, sailed to the middle of Lake Pichola and, precisely at sunset at 6.22 pm, dispersed the author’s ashes into the royal waters.

Back in Britain, at 12.52 pm, her relatives marked the moment with a minute’s silence.

“It was as though Mollie had leapt out of the box,” said Ward, speaking to The Telegraph from Udaipur. “It was a romantic gesture for a romantic lady who will always be remembered fondly and with great admiration.”

“It was a very emotional moment,” added his wife, who wore a turquoise sari for the occasion, while her husband put on a beige raw silk kurta.