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Man spends nearly £2,500 on life-like silicone replica of wife who died from Covid

Tapas Sandilya with the silicon replica of his wife (Screengrab/SCMP)
Tapas Sandilya with the silicon replica of his wife (Screengrab/SCMP)

A 65-year-old man in India has installed a life-sized silicone statue of his wife after he lost her to Covid-19.

Tapas Sandilya, a retired government employee based out of the eastern state of West Bengal, built the lifelike replica at the cost of Rs 2.5 lakh (approximately £2,500), to honour her memory.

Mr Sandilya lost his spouse Indrani during the second wave of the Covid pandemic in May 2021. She was taken to hospital, while he was forced in to isolation, reported the South China Morning Post newspaper, adding that the 59-year-old passed away with no one by her bed side.

Her 30kg silicon replica, adorned with a silk sari and jewellery, now sits, hands crossed, on a swing – her favourite spot at their house.

Mr Sandilya aims to abide his wife’s wish through the statue, he told The Times of India,as he said there was an instance when his wife had asked him to build a statue of her.

“We visited the Iskcon temple in Mayapur a decade ago and could not stop admiring the lifelike statue of the order’s founder AC Bhaktivedanta Swami,” he shared with the national daily. “It was then Indrani had me of her desire for a similar statue if she happened to pass away before me.”

Amused at the attention it is getting from his neighbours, Mr Sandilya said: “My wife died on May 4, 2021 and I just wanted to fulfill her wish.”

His search for a sculptor came to an end last year, when he zeroed on 46-year-old Subimal Das. Mr Sandilya described how he worked with the sculptor for days while making a clay model of his wife, something that would then form the base of the silicone casting.

“Nothing less than Indrani’s actual facial expression would do for me,” he told the outlet. “I, after all, lived with her for 39 years”.

According to deeply conservative figures, about 530,000 people died from the pandemic in India. The country has so far reported around 44 million Covid cases, while more than two billion vaccine doses have been administered.